Dirk's workload will increase in playoffs
April, 14, 2014
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com
Jerome Miron/USA TODAY SportsHow many minutes can Dirk Nowitzki play and still be expected to come through in crunch time?DALLAS -- Over the last few weeks, Dirk Nowitzki has had five of his six highest-minutes games of the season.
That will be a trend that continues into the playoffs.
Nowitzki played 39 minutes in Saturday’s win over the Phoenix Suns, which was essentially an early playoff game. That’s the most minutes he’s logged in a game that didn’t go to overtime this season.
Nowitzki played between 38 and 40 minutes in the Mavs’ four overtime games on the previous homestand.
The key question in deciding Dirk’s workload: How many more minutes can he play in a game and still be reasonably expected to come through during crunch time?
“Not much more than the other night,” said Nowitzki, who practiced Monday without any problems after turning his left ankle late in the win over the Suns. “I was huffing and puffing there pretty good one time in the fourth. Glad there was a timeout coming.
“Either team we're going to face up [in the playoffs], they're fast, they all run. They all run the fast break, [so] you've got to get back. It's taxing games. I felt still good enough obviously to finish the other night. But I don't think we're going to push it more than 39.”