Friday, April 25, 2014
Will Dirk heat up after Holger's return?
By Tim MacMahon
DALLAS – After a brief trip back home to Germany to tend to some business, Holger Geschwindner made his return Texas, sporting his normal leather jacket on a sunny, 80-plus-degree day.
You might say it’s just in time after checking out his prized pupil’s shooting numbers from the first two games of the playoffs.
Dirk Nowitzki hasn't quite found his shot yet, but a visit from his mentor could provide a boost.
“Maybe I’ll mix in some makes tomorrow,” Dirk Nowitzki said after the Dallas Mavericks wrapped up practice Friday at American Airlines Center with his longtime mentor and shot doctor watching from the stands.
Oh, Nowitzki mixed in a few makes while the Mavs managed to split a pair of road games to open the series against the San Antonio Spurs, but not near the norm. He has a total of 27 points on 11-of-33 shooting so far in the series.
After going 4-of-14 in the series opener, Nowitzki came out firing in Game 2. The AT&T Center might have to replace that rim after all the bricks he launched in the first quarter, when he missed his first six shots, admitting after the game that he was “too hyped” in the early going, even missing an uncontested layup.
After that point, the big German got in a decent groove, going 7-of-13 from the floor for the rest of the game as the eighth-seeded Mavs’ rolled to a surprising rout to even the series.
As far as Nowitzki goes, it’s good news that he got up 19 shots. Some of them were tough shots contested by Spurs center Tiago Splitter, but they were all the kind of looks you want the 10th-leading scorer in NBA history taking.
“We’ve got to work to get him better looks,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s early in the series, so we’ll continue to work at that. I like the way he’s playing. He’s got to continue to stay aggressive.”
The Mavs are confident it’s a matter of time before Nowitzki, whose two best hot streaks of the season coincided with Geschwindner's arrival for visits, puts up impressive numbers if he stays aggressive and gets that many shots. His efficiency ranks far down their list of concerns.
In fact, it’s actually encouraging for the Mavs that the series is tied entering Saturday’s Game 3 without a typical Dirk playoff performance so far.
“That shows that we can play better,” said point guard Devin Harris, who is leading the Mavs with 18.5 points per game in the series. “Offensively, we’re still not hitting on all cylinders. We’re playing well, but when Dirk gets on a roll, then obviously we’ll be even better.”