A win surely would have made the aches and pains go away just a little bit quicker. Instead, Monday's 95-91 loss at Oklahoma City will severely test the Mavs' mettle as tonight's game bears down against a New York Knicks team that spent the day in Dallas with nothing to do.
The loss was the Mavs' sixth in eight games and tonight's game, the sixth during this nine-in-12-days stretch, is the last before Dallas embarks on its lone back-to-back-to-back of the season starting Thursday at Phoenix.
First the Mavs will watch Tyson Chandler become the final title-team member to pick up his hardware.
"I'm happy for Tyson, I think that's his day, what he meant to us in the championship season was unbelievable, so that's going to be a special moment for him and our fans and then we've got to dig deep," Nowitzki said. "They're a very good athletic team, they're deep. They can score with the best of them, so we have to set our defense and be ready to play."
Three more nuggets before the Knicks come calling:
1. Short at center? The Mavs might be without starting center Brendan Haywood for tonight's after he sprained his left ankle in the opening minute of Monday's game. Brandan Wright might also miss the game. He's sat out consecutive games after sustaining a concussion last Friday. If both are out, Ian Mahinmi and Sean Williams, recalled from the D-League on Sunday, will have a tough task against Chandler. Even though Haywood played only 31 seconds, Williams logged just three minutes, not getting in until Mahinmi picked up his fifth foul, and then again when Mahinmi fouled out.
2. Dirk for 3: The big man has really picked up the pace with the 3-ball of late. In his last three games, Nowitzki has put up 22 shots from beyond the arc, making 12. He set a season high with eight attempts Friday at New Orleans and matched that the next night against Utah. On Monday, he was 4-of-6, hitting all four in the fourth quarter.
3. Jason Terry road woes: The Jet's strange season of feasting at home and famine on the road continued Monday. He was just 7-of-19 in the OKC loss and 3-of-10 in the decisive fourth quarter. He's averaging 12.1 points on 33.4 percent shooting on the road while averaging 17.0 points on 50.0 percent shooting at home.