“I’ll be reflective after the season’s over,” Nowitzki said after Thursday’s practice, about 12 hours after the Los Angeles Lakers’ late win in Portland officially eliminated the Mavs from playoff contention. “We’ve still got four games and I don’t want to mail it in.
“I want to play hard and hopefully win some. I think a winning season would be nice for this tough, up-and-down season, so that’s what we’re going for.”
The 38-40 Mavs must win out to accomplish the goal of having their 13th consecutive winning season. As far as Nowitzki is concerned, that makes Friday night’s home date against the playoff-bound Denver Nuggets a big game.
“That’s really all I’m focused on now,” said Nowitzki, the only constant on the Mavs’ roster throughout the playoff streak. “When we do the exit interviews, I’ll do plenty of reflecting, trust me. Until then, I think we’ll talk about the next opponent and see what’s going on here and see if we can make this a winning season somehow.”
That’s the mentality that coach Rick Carlisle is demanding from the Mavs.
“We still want to get back to .500,” Carlisle said. “We want to have a chance to go above .500. If the playoffs are off the table, they’re off the table. We’ve still got to do everything possible to finish this thing out with pride and dignity. We obviously took a step back last night, so how we bounce back tomorrow is important.”