<
>

Can Dirk keep groove going on road?

Even by Dirk Nowitzki's Hall of Fame standards, he just wrapped up one heck of a hot homestand.

Nowitzki averaged 30.8 points and 9.8 rebounds to lead the Mavs to a 3-1 record during the homestand. He shot a sizzling 59.7 percent from the floor and 50 percent from 3-point range.

“I always felt as a shooter, as a scorer, you go through phases where the basket seems to be massive,” Nowitzki said.

Can Nowitzki keep it rolling on the road? The Mavs are away from home in seven of the next nine games, starting with Wednesday night’s meeting with the Memphis Grizzlies, one of the NBA’s stingiest defensive teams.

It’s been rough for Nowitzki on the road this season. He’s been spectacular at the American Airlines Center, averaging 23.8 points while shooting 53.3 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range. Those numbers have plummeted across the board this season when he’s had to pack his bags and hop on the team plane. Nowitzki is averaging 19.9 points and shooting 43.8 percent from the floor and 35.8 percent from 3-point range.

That’s not the norm for Nowitzki, whose home and road splits over the course of his 16-year career look remarkably different. This seems like a statistical oddity, not a troubling trend.

“I can’t put my finger on it, but to me, it’s actually more fun to play on the road,” Nowitzki said. “Everybody’s booing you and is against you. That’s usually what I love most. I haven’t been good in crunch time some nights when we lost. I felt like I should have been better.

“You’ve just got to keep on working on the road, keep stepping into shots when they’re there and hopefully some will go down.”

If his first couple of shots go down, the baskets at FedExForum will feel just as massive for Nowitzki as the ones at the AAC.