- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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He looked like Dirk Nowitzki during this road trip, just in limited doses.
Nowitzki, a week in a half into the process of working back into Hall of Fame form, scored 30 points on 12-of-22 shooting in 46 minutes during the Mavericks’ 1-1 road trip. His 11 points in the win over the Wizards were a season high for about 24 hours. He dropped 19 against the Heat while playing a season-high 29 minutes.
The highlight of the Dirk’s road trip – and season so far – was the one-legged leanaway he hit over LeBron James to force overtime. That showed he’s ready to resume his closer role.
How about his starting job?
“Ultimately, I'll start again maybe in a week or so, get my minutes back up, and we'll go from there,” Nowitzki told reporters.
It might be wise for the Mavs, who still want to carefully monitor Nowitzki’s minutes, to wait until after next week to put him in the starting lineup. The Mavs play four games in six days next week, including a back-to-back against the Clippers and Kings. They don’t have another back-to-back until the end of February.
A few more quick notes from the Mavs’ OT loss to the Heat:
1. O.J.’s slump over: O.J. Mayo’s slump started a couple of weeks ago against the Heat and can be officially declared over after the Mavs’ rematch with the reigning world champions.
Mayo had 30 points on 12-of-21 shooting in Wednesday’s loss, his fourth 30-point game of the season and first since he blew up for 40 in a Dec. 8 win over the Rockets. This came on the heels of Mayo scoring 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting in Tuesday’s win over the Wizards.
Mayo had averaged only 8.7 points on 29.9 percent shooting during Dallas’ six-game losing streak.
The blemish in Mayo’s box score line from the Miami loss: six turnovers. It was the sixth time in the last three weeks he had at least six turnovers, with the Mavs going 0-6 in those games.
2. Kaman’s double-double: Chris Kaman once averaged a double-double for a season, but those days seem so long ago. His 14-point, 10-rebound performance in Miami was only his second double-double of the season.
Kaman’s rebounding average (6.5) is the lowest since his rookie season. So are his minutes (25.3 per game). That’s directly related to Kaman’s defensive struggles.
“I need to be an anchor for the defense, and I’m capable of doing it,” said Kaman, who had three blocks against the Heat. “I just have to keep it in my head and be ready to help out whenever I can.”
3. LeBron’s line: How rare was the 32-point, 12-rebound, nine-assist, three-steal line posted by reigning MVP LeBron James? It’s the first time an NBA player matched those totals across the board since Russell Westbrook on Dec. 1, 2010, according to basketball-reference.com’s database.
1dMarc Stein and Tim MacMahon
2dMicah Adams, ESPN Stats & Information