DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki and Stephen Jackson have had their battles throughout the years. Friday night's 102-76 throttling of the Milwaukee Bucks wasn't exactly one of them, but it didn't stop one of the league's best smack talkers from giving Nowitzki some lip.
And Nowitzki fired back, happily.
"Yeah, we had a little conversation, but he was talking to everybody out there. But that's his game," Nowitzki said. "He's a competitor and lets you know about it."
At one point Jackson looked to Nowitzki and seemed to say that he's got one, too -- as in a championship ring.
"We were talking about some rings, talking about all sorts of stuff, life in general," Nowitzki said. "No, he's a competitor, but this was definitely a big win for us."
Of course, Jackson's history with Nowitzki and the Mavs goes back to 2003 when, as a role player with the San Antonio Spurs, he helped to knock out the Mavs in the West Finals. The Spurs went on to win their first of three championships in five years. And Jackson played a major role in defending Nowitzki during Golden State's upset of top-seeded Dallas in the first round in 2007.
During training camp last month Jackson was in entertainer mode talking to the Milwaukee media, and to show that he paid no attention to the playoffs last season Jackson asked who won the championship. When informed that Dallas beat the Miami Heat, Jackson replied, "Dallas sucks to me."
Jackson, who had a season-high 34 and 25 points in his last two games, finished with just seven on 3-of-8 shooting. Nowitzki had just 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting, but his teammates handled things just fine.