Baywatch revival? Dirk hums Hasselhoff song to relax

Updated: May 18, 2006, 2:52 AM ET
Associated Press

DALLAS -- After helping Dallas win two straight playoff games by sinking clutch free throws, Dirk Nowitzki divulged Tuesday the secret to his success.

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"You just try to relax," he said. "There are a lot of things going through your mind. I try to sing sometimes to kind of take the pressure off."

It must be one heck of a tune considering Nowitzki made two foul shots with 7.9 seconds left for the tying and winning points in Game 3 against San Antonio, then forced overtime by making two foul shots with 8.5 seconds left in regulation of Game 4.

Smiling wide and laughing loud, he said the song was David Hasselhoff's "Looking For Freedom," a big hit when he was a kid in Germany.

Told about his star's ritual, Mavs coach Avery Johnson said he wished he'd known about it sooner.

"He should've taught me that," Johnson said. "I was only a 68, 70 percent free-throw shooter when I played. I never thought of that."

The Mavericks lead the Spurs 3-1 going into Game 5 on Wednesday night in San Antonio.

Nowitzki badly twisted his right ankle with 1:05 left in Game 3 and it was still swollen the morning of Game 4. He said Tuesday it was still "a little stiff" but not enough to sideline him.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press