Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Mavericks [Print without images]

Thursday, March 21, 2013
3-pointer: Why doesn't Dirk Nowitzki get more shots?

By Tim MacMahon



DALLAS – The Mavericks have lost only two games during Dirk Nowitzki’s career when he has shot at least 80 percent from the floor with more than one attempt.

The Mavs are 14-2 in such games. The exceptions just happen to be their last two losses.

Nowitzki was 8-of-10 from the floor in Wednesday’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets, when he scored 16 points. He was also 8-of-10 in Sunday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, when he scored 23 points.

This leads to a logical question: With Nowitzki locked in, why the heck isn’t he getting more than 10 looks in a game?

“They don’t leave me much anymore,” Nowitzki said, referring to opposing defenders hugging up on him at virtually all times. “It’s up to other guys to make plays. It’s as simple as that.

“I can’t wrestle every time to get the ball. You can’t do that for 48 minutes. I’ve got to pick my spots, take open shots when it’s there. I think we’ve been running pick-and-roll pretty well. Because guys are not really leaving me much, guys are pretty much walking in the lane, getting stuff out of that. I’m going to keep picking my spots and be aggressive when I need it.”

While Nowitzki doesn’t see it as a problem, it’s still unsettling to see 37-year-old journeyman guard Mike James get more shots than the 18th leading scorer in NBA history. That happened in both of the Mavs’ last two losses.

However, with the Mavs’ offense becoming less and less reliant on the longtime staple of Dirk isolation plays, that will probably happen again a few more times in the final 14 games.

“If you really watch the game, he’s touching it,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s just teams work to take his shots away. That’s why balance is so important to us. That’s why we don’t want to get in a situation where we’re just pounding it to him every single time. That takes a big toll on him.

“That’s why we work toward movement and balance and tempo. When we have to go to him, we go to him.”

A few more notes from the loss to start the Mavs’ critical six-game homestand:

1. Lopez lights it up: Deron Williams has made it known that he loves shooting the ball at the American Airlines Center. Brooklyn big man Brook Lopez can surely relate.

Lopez scored a season-high 38 points Wednesday night, matching his scoring total from last year’s visit to Dallas. He was 15-of-22 from the floor, with all but three of his buckets coming in the paint.

Chris (Kaman) did a good job guarding him in the post, but then there were residual things,” Carlisle said. “There were penetrations, there were breakdowns, there were other things that led to him being able to get into openings and cracks. Some of the stuff is just that we’ve got to be more solid individually within our system. Hey, tough night.”

2. Dreadful D: Allowing 113 points per game isn’t the kind of trend the Mavs want to continue.

“The irony is this is the same number of points we gave up the other night in Atlanta, but we scored 127, so it all seemed like it was OK,” Carlisle said. “But this is an ongoing challenge for us being able to keep teams at or under 100. We’ve got to keep going and keep working at it.”

The Nets shot 50.6 percent from the floor and scored 52 points in the paint.

“Our defense just wasn’t good enough,” Nowitzki said.

3. One-man rebounding machine: Another frequent problem for the Mavs popped up against the Nets. They got dominated on the glass, getting outrebounded by a 45-34 margin.

Brooklyn power forward Reggie Evans did a lot of the damage, grabbing 22 rebounds. He had eight rebounds in the second quarter, matching the Mavs’ team total for the frame.