Dallas Mavericks: Charles Barkley

Al-Farouq Aminu (who?) dominates Dallas

January, 10, 2014
Jan 10
12:53
PM CT
NEW ORLEANS -- Let’s play a little game of One of These Guys Doesn’t Belong Here.

The list of players who have had multiple 15-point, 20-rebound performances against the Mavericks: Al-Farouq Aminu, Charles Barkley, Kevin Garnett, Dwight Howard, Shaquille O’Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Al-Farouq Aminu?! How does that happen?

“I was guarding him,” Dirk Nowitzki deadpanned, offering an honest explanation for how a role player for the Pelicans has had the two best games of his career in New Orleans’ last two meetings with the Mavericks. “They were saying I got him multiple contract extensions already by guarding him.”

Aminu, a 6-foot-9 small forward who has averaged 6.4 points and 5.4 rebounds during his four NBA seasons, has only 14 double-doubles in his career. Four of those have come against the Mavericks, including a 16-point, 20-rebound outing on April 17 and another 16-20 line Dec. 4.

“He’s really been a thorn in our side for the simple fact that he’s very aggressive,” Vince Carter said. “They don’t run many plays for him, so that’s how he makes his living, and he’s doing a darn good job when he sees the Mavericks.”

The Mavs shouldn’t have to have Nowitzki defend Aminu in Friday night’s game. That matchup was the result of needing to use Shawn Marion to guard perimeter-threat power forward Ryan Anderson, but both Marion (shoulder/ribs) and Anderson (back) are out due to injuries.

Regardless of the matchups, Aminu has Dallas’ full attention. The Mavs might be the only team who worries about Aminu as much as blossoming Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
Charles Barkley returned to ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, joining Fitzsimmons & Durrett on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the Dallas Mavericks, among other things:

PODCAST
Charles Barkley joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to talk about the Mavs' playoff chances, the legend of Johnny Football, Tony Romo, Kim Kardashian and much, much more.

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Can the Mavericks make the playoffs:

"They've got zero chance to make the playoffs. They're three games out. They're not better than the three teams that they're chasing. And they'd just get mauled in the first round of the playoffs. C'mon, man. That ship has sailed. Just let it go."

Would you like to see the NBA season shortened?

"I would love to see them to shorten the NBA season to 70 games and start after Christmas. Nobody can touch college football and pro football as far as excitement. If we would move the season back and shorten it to 70 games, maybe even 65, and start right around Christmas like we did ... The lockout, it had the best ratings we've had in 19 years, and it's because it started late. The football fans were pretty much done. They were getting ready for the playoffs. I would love to see them shorten the season to 70 games and start around Christmas."

Dirk Nowitzki shares playing plan, more on Twitter

August, 26, 2012
8/26/12
4:52
PM CT
Dirk Nowitzki was in a social mood Sunday afternoon on Twitter.

After tweeting to his followers that he had 20 minutes to take questions, @swish41 spent more than 90 minutes providing answers about a wide variety of topics.

Perhaps the most newsworthy response came when the Mavs' superstar was asked how many more years he'd play. His reply was "2 for sure and then see how I feel."



Nowitzki has two years remaining on the four-year deal he signed with the Mavericks before the 2010-11 season.

If he continues his NBA career after his current contract, he indicated he wouldn't go chasing another ring. When asked if he'd jump ship for a super team, he replied, "I bleed blue."

Nowitzki was optimistic he'd be able to win another ring without leaving Dallas, however. When asked if the Mavs can win it all this year, he replied, "I always feel that way."

Among the other revelations from the newlywed:

* He wished Jason Terry well in Boston, calling him "fam for life," and said former teammates Steve Nash and Michael Finley are "My homeboys."

* He prefers red wine over beer, and dogs over cats.

* Charles Barkley is his favorite player from the 1992 Dream Team, and Kobe Bryant is the best player he's ever faced.

* His favorite TV show is "Eastbound & Down," and "Braveheart" is his favorite movie. His favorite bands are the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.

* If he wasn't a basketball player he'd be a rock star or a painter.

Charles Barkley has advice for Dwight Howard

June, 30, 2012
6/30/12
10:42
PM CT
Sick and tired of Dwight Howard's flip-flopping and trade demands? So is Charles Barkley.

"Dwight needs to make a decision because I’m sick of hearing about it every year where he’s going to go and I told him he needs to grow up and make a decision," Barkley said Saturday prior to playing in Dirk Nowitzki's Heroes Celebrity baseball game in Frisco, Texas.

"I don’t want to hear this stuff ever year coming up on the trade deadline. Make a decision and live with it."

T.O. named Heroes MVP in White Sox's win

June, 30, 2012
6/30/12
9:18
PM CT
FRISCO, Texas -- The 2012 Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game, hosted by the Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, was a success as the White Sox came through with a 13-6 win over Nowitzki's Blue Sox.

The MVP of the game was Terrell Owens. The former Dallas Cowboys receiver had three hits -- his third came late in the game on a ball that rolled to the wall. He used his speed to get around the bases. Owens also made a wide turn at third thinking about an inside-the-park home run, but he slammed on the breaks and settled for a triple.

Some notes:

* Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle delivered a pair of singles for the White Sox. In Carlisle's second at-bat, Nowitzki took to the rubber for two pitches and sent a message by throwing behind his head coach. Nowitzki had two hits of his own and attempted at a diving catch in the ninth inning but came up empty handed.

* Charles Barkley toed the rubber for a couple of batters, but it didn't go like he had hoped. Former Texas Rangers player Kevin Mench hit a three-run home run over the left-field fence, but that wasn't all. Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant hit a shot right back at Barkley, who dodged the ball at the last minute. Barkley got his revenge the next time they came up, getting Mench to pop one up in the infield and Bryant to ground out to third.

* The celebrities had difficulty fielding the ball, but they still flashed some leather. The best catch of the night came early in the game when Mavericks guard Dominique Jones made a diving catch in right field. Brian Cardinal and Ben Grieve also made a nice catches at third, and Barkley caught his only attempt at a ball to a big ovation from the crowd.

* Bryant, along with former Cowboys receivers Owens and Drew Pearson, showed their skills on the diamond. Bryant collected a couple of hits but also made Cowboys fans nervous sliding awkwardly into second. He got up, smiled and played the rest of the game without a problem. In fact, he felt so good that he participated and won in a dance competition before the ninth inning.

Heroes game raises money for charity

June, 30, 2012
6/30/12
8:58
PM CT
FRISCO, Texas -- The Dirk Nowitzki Heroes Celebrity Baseball Game had a couple of purposes. It brought a full list of celebrities together to have fun playing some baseball, but most importantly, it raised money for a good cause.

The proceeds gathered from Saturday's sellout at Dr Pepper Ballpark are going towards the Dirk Nowitzki Foundation and the Heroes Foundation.

"I did this because it's just such a great cause," Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said over the P.A. system during the game. "Dirk is a great friend, and I wanted to help him out."

Dirk Nowitzki ends Father Time debate

June, 30, 2012
6/30/12
7:01
PM CT
FRISCO, Texas -- Charles Barkley started it and Saturday with the Round Mound sitting next to him, Dirk Nowitzki ended it -- in agreement?

Barkley, of course, came out last season on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Galloway & Co.," as Dirk was struggling with a right knee issue and said that the 7-foot German is on the downward slide. Hey, it's Mother Nature, er, Father Time, bro, Barkley said, happens to everyone. That set off quite the debate locally whether Dirk, who turned 34 a few weeks ago, really was declining or if his physical struggles were an abberation.

Barkley, in town to play in Dirk's Heroes Celebrity baseball game, was asked if he still believes Father Time is nipping at Dirk's high tops.

"Dirk’s been a helluva player, but he’s obviously on the downside of his career," Barkley said, emphasizing the last part of the sentence for effect. "First off all, you don’t get better as you get older. I don’t know if he’s got some special German blood, maybe they do get better as they get older over there. But any time you start putting great miles on your body you can tell. I watch the games different than most normal people. Like I tell people, when I watch Kevin Garnett play, I say Kevin Garnett is shooting a lot of jumpers. Why? Because Kevin Garnett can’t explode to the basket anymore. Same thing with Tim Duncan. I know what I’m watching. I’m not like a normal fan, like why don’t he go to the basket? Because he can’t."

Nowitzki, who will enter his 15th season, was asked if he has rebuttal.

"Uh, no, he’s dead on," Nowitzki said. "I’m old."

Kevin Mench wins Heroes home run derby

June, 30, 2012
6/30/12
6:49
PM CT

FRISCO, Texas -- Former Texas Rangers player Kevin Mench walked away with the Baylor Medical Center at Frisco Celebrity Home Run Derby title Saturday with an impressive final-round showing.

The celebrities got a chance to show off their talents in a home run derby. Four markers on the field represented 100, 200, 300 and 400 points. The further the ball traveled, the more points the celebrity was awarded. A home run was worth 500 points.

Mench took the title with ease totaling 2,800 points in the final round, including three bombs out of the park. Former major leaguer Ben Grieve finished second with 1,500 points with one home run. Josh Henderson, who stars in the new "Dallas" TV series, was the third finalist finishing with 800 points in the final round.

Other notables:

* Dirk Nowitzki had a nice swing and took a couple of good cuts at the ball, but he couldn't quite find his home run rhythm.

* Charles Barkley gave it a valiant effort but failed to get the ball out of the infield.

* Vince Carter had one nice swing to deep left field. Delonte West and Rick Carlisle also had a good showing.

* Terrell Owens put a couple of good swings together to get 400 points. Dez Bryant showed his athleticism putting 600 points on the board.

* ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's Ben Rogers outclassed his co-host Jeff "Skin" Wade. Rogers finished with 400 points with a couple of shots that landed foul, while Wade didn't get on the board.

Dirk Nowitzki cool with Father Time, Barkley

May, 24, 2012
5/24/12
12:39
PM CT
No Charles Barkley comment this season stirred more local debate than his "Father Time, bro" remark regarding Dirk Nowitzki's inevitable slippage that the Round Mound said was officially under way.

PODCAST
Mavs F Dirk Nowitzki says he's too old to stay with a rebuilding franchise but couldn't imagine himself leaving the city of Dallas.

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It's true that Nowitzki struggled out of the gate and that an ailing right knee forced him out of the lineup for four games so he could train behind the scenes, a peculiarity to be sure for the typically precision-trained power forward. And yes, it is inarguable that Nowitzki finished the rapid-fire, 66-game regular season -- his 14th in the NBA -- with the lowest statistics (21.6 ppg, 45.5 FG%, 6.7 rpg) since his first two seasons in the league.

For the record, Nowitzki has no issues with Sir Charles, a hero of sorts to Nowitzki as young lad playing the game in his native Germany. Nowitzki borrowed Barkley's Olympic Dream Team jersey No. 14 for his own use and then flipped it to No. 41 in the NBA.

"I love Charles and I also love watching him on TV because whatever is running through his big head he’s going to throw out there," Nowitzki said during his lengthy Tuesday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Galloway & Co. "That’s what makes it funny, so I’m still a huge, huge fan of his. I don’t see it as an insult or anything. It’s just he’s having his opinions and he’s throwing them out there and that’s what makes great TV and great radio because he’s the man."

But what about this Father Time thing anyway? Nowitzki turns 34 on June 19 and well, he isn't getting any younger. But was this season an aberration following the long championship run, his commitment to play for Germany in the Olympic qualifying tournament and then the uncertainty of the lockout that skewed his offseason training?

Or is Barkley right and the inevitability of Father Time played a quick game of catch-up just months after Nowitzki seemed invincible in leading the Mavs to the franchise's first championship?

"I had a tough time getting going this year. I’m very specific taking care of my body during the season; I eat right, I lift, I train, so it took me a while to get going with the whole lockout. There were too many games, not enough preparation time so I paid for that a little bit, but I think I can still play some really good basketball," Nowitzki said. "If you look at all the guys that really take care of their body like Nashy (Steve Nash) and (Jason) Kidd now is almost 40, and those guys, they can compete at a high level for a long time.

"Even (Tim) Duncan if you look at him he’s having a phenomenal year in his 16th, 17th year or whatever he is (actually 15th), so I still think you can play at a very high level and I still think I can do it. I’m going to prepare again like in the regular season, you have your routine, you come in, report in October and I’m going to spend the offseason getting my body ready again and we’ll see what happens next year and see who’s fighting alongside with me and who the warriors are and we’ll go from there."

Mavs need co-star for Dirk Nowitzki

May, 8, 2012
5/08/12
8:00
AM CT

DALLAS -- Pick whichever side you want on the Dirk Nowitzki vs. Father Time debate, but Charles Barkley makes one point that is pretty tough to argue against.

It's not realistic to continue counting on Nowitzki, who turns 34 next month, to be "The Man" on an otherwise starless championship contender.

Really, it's miraculous that the Dallas Mavericks reached the NBA mountaintop last summer with Nowitzki as the only All-Star on the roster. A lone star team has broken through about once a decade in recent NBA history, and it's foolish to think lightning will strike twice in Dallas as Nowitzki nears his rocking chair years.

For Nowitzki to have a legitimate chance to win another championship, he needs to become a co-star, preferably playing Robin instead of the Batman role.

That's not a knock on one of the best power forwards of all-time. It's just reality.

"Hey, I mean, if that's the case, I'd love to hand over the keys," Nowitzki said. "We'll have to wait and see what happens, but I still think I can play some great basketball and can still contribute to a good team."

There's no question Nowitzki can contribute to a good team. He has the kind of game -- heavily reliant on shooting touch, needing just a decent dose of mobility -- that ages well. But the big German can't be expected to carry a great team in the twilight of his prime.

You can read the rest of the story here.
Charles Barkley made major waves around these parts earlier this season when he declared that Dirk Nowitzki’s days as a dependable go-to guy were done.

PODCAST
Charles Barkley says Lamar Odom didn't earn his money with the Mavs and reiterates that Father Time will beat Dirk Nowitzki

Listen Listen
Nowitzki snapped out of the worst slump since his rookie season soon after Barkley’s claim that Father Time had caught up with the face of the Mavs’ franchise. But Barkley was back on ESPNDallas 103.3’s “Galloway & Co” Wednesday, and he definitely isn’t backing off his pot-stirring opinion about Dirk.

“Bro, I’m never wrong on Father Time,” said Barkley, whom Nowitzki recently bumped to No. 20 on the all-time scoring list. “I said the same thing about Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan. They can have spurts because they’re great players. You can have spurts, but you can’t do it consistently. I mean, Father Time is undefeated.

"I tell people there ain’t but two things undefeated: Father Time and what got Bobby Petrino in trouble."

Not sure what Harley Davidsons have to do with this discussion, but let's try to steer it back on the road, so to speak.

Nowitkzi’s numbers (21.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, .456 shooting percentage) are his lowest since his second season in the NBA. There are extenuating circumstances, of course.

Dirk came back from the lockout in terrible shape by his standards, leading to the decision to give him a week to go through a personal training camp early in the season. And the lockout-compressed schedule has been tough on his 33-year-old legs, as he’s readily admitted over and over again.

But Barkley isn’t buying the theory -- often heard coming from Mark Cuban’s stairstepper -- that Nowitzki will be back to normal with a normal schedule next season.

“Father Time is going to win, man,” Barkley said. “You talk about next year? He’s just going to be a year older next year.”


DALLAS -- The only explanation Charles Barkley can come up with for Lamar Odom’s disgraceful stint in Dallas is that the 13-year veteran never got over his divorce with the Lakers. But it disgusts Barkley that the Mavericks are on the hook for alimony after annulling their marriage to Odom.

“I always pull for the players, but the fact that they’ve got to pay him I think is a joke,” Barkley said during his Wednesday appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3’s Galloway & Co. “I mean, because he didn’t earn his salary. He didn’t earn it at all.

“I like Lamar as a person, but I’m disappointed about everything that happened in Dallas. And it’s a shame that the Mavs got to pay him, to be honest with you, because he doesn’t deserve to get paid for what he put out there this year. He doesn’t deserve it, plain and simple.”

The Mavs finally had enough of Odom’s sulking, sorry effort and habitual tardiness and banished him from the team Sunday, less than 24 hours after a heated halftime confrontation where owner Mark Cuban questioning Odom’s commitment.

Odom presumably will return to Los Angeles to cash Cuban’s checks. Odom, who averaged career lows by far in almost every category and still whined behind the scenes about not getting enough playing time, will make almost $1 million the rest of the season and is due a $2.4 million buyout payment in June.

“To sit at home and make that kind of money really pisses me off, to be honest with you, for the effort that he put out there,” Barkley said. “He’s going to make hundreds of thousands of dollars these next two paychecks. ... That’s not fair to the Mavs. It’s not fair to the game of basketball.

“I’m just disappointed in Lamar.”
HOUSTON -- Dirk Nowitzki has bumped four legends down the NBA’s all-time scoring list this season, but he was especially pleased to pass Charles Barkley.

Father Time had nothing to do with it, bro.

Yes, Barkley is the big mouth who declared earlier this season that Dirk’s days as an elite go-to guy were done. Nowitzki has acknowledged being motivated by that opinion –- he’s averaged 24.4 points per game since Barkley’s infamous appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3’s Galloway and Company –- but he’s definitely not bitter about it.

That’s because he has too much longtime love for Sir Charles, who dropped to the 20th leading scorer in NBA history.

“Charles was always kind of my hero,” Nowitzki said after his 31-point performance in Saturday’s win over the Rockets gave him 23,758 career points, one more than Barkley. “I always wore No. 11 in Germany, then I saw him wearing No. 14 in the Olympics in Barcelona, so then I changed my number to 14. Then when I came over, it became No. 41.”

There is a little irony in Nowitzki moving past Barkley in Houston, where Father Time caught up to the Round Mound of Rebound during a stint with the Rockets at the end of his career.

Nowitzki is probably done climbing the all-time scoring list this season. Boston’s Kevin Garnett is next on the list with 23,997 points and counting.

With a typical Dirk year, Nowitzki could move all the way up to 13th by the end of next season, passing Garnett, Allen Iverson, Patrick Ewing, Jerry West, Reggie Miller and Alex English.

A few more notes from the Mavs’ win over the Rockets:

[+] EnlargeBrandon Wright
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty ImagesBrandan Wright had a career-high seven blocks against the Rockets.
1. Brandan Wright’s block party: This might have been the best performance of backup big man Brandan Wright’s career. It certainly was the 2007 lottery pick’s best performance in a Mavericks uniform.

Wright scored 14 points (one shy of his season high) on 7-of-9 shooting and grabbed six rebounds in 34 minutes off the bench. The stat that sticks out, however, is The Human Exclamation Point’s career-high seven blocked shots.

“He’s quick on his feet. He’s quick off his feet,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “Sometimes you think he’s got no shot to get to that ball, but one quick step and he’s basically elbow above the rim. He had some great blocks tonight.”

2. Matrix reloaded: No need to worry about whether the left knee that sidelined Shawn Marion for three games is still sore. Not after he put up 12 points and 15 rebounds on the butt end of a back-to-back.

It was the 400th double-double of Marion’s career.

“Marion’s back in a big way,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “He was terrific again. He’s guarding the key guy on their team, who was a point guard. He’s just really one of the unique guys that I’ve ever seen. The way he’s guarded every position on the floor this year, he’s Defensive Player of the Year material.”

3. Calvary coming?: There is a chance that Brendan Haywood (sprained right knee) and Delonte West (fractured right ring finger) could play Tuesday night against the Rockets.

"I'd like to think so," Carlisle said. "But I don't know that. I know the progress has been good. But we don't have a set timetable. I don't think it's impossible. The hope is sooner than later."

Light All-Star night for Dirk Nowitzki

February, 26, 2012
2/26/12
9:35
PM CT


Mark Cuban was hoping for, oh, three minutes for his superstar, but he'll be happy with the 14 minutes Dirk Nowitzki logged jogging up and down Dwight Howard's home floor -- tick, tick, tick -- in Sunday night's All-Star Game.

In his 11th consecutive appearance as a West reserve, Nowitzki put up seven points on 3-of-8 shooting in the West's hang-on, 152-149 victory. True to his regular season, he wasn't feeling it from 3-point range, banging in just one of five attempts from downtown. He missed his first two in the first quarter, when he logged nearly half his total time.

Nowitzki would not be seen again until midway through the third quarter. He nailed his only 3-point attempt of the period and fed Tony Parker for a reverse layup, his lone assist of the game. He also finished with four rebounds, including two offensive boards.

Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant took home MVP honors having scored 36 points and his coach, West coach Scott Brooks, wasn't shy about playing his superstar, leaving him in for a game-high 37 minutes.

And Dirk seemed perfectly content playing what he did and cheering on his fellow All-Stars. After all, if Charles Barkley is right, Dirk doesn't have many of these left. Still, he was clearly enjoying himself if you couldn't tell by his towel-waving after Blake Griffin's monster dunk late in the fourth.

He enjoyed it enough to even share a postgame embrace with -- cough, cough -- Dwyane Wade, who recorded only the third triple-double in All-Star history.

Parker, Marc Gasol, Steve Nash, starting center Andrew Bynum and first-timer LaMarcus Aldridge all played fewer minutes than Nowitzki as the other four starters and reserve guard Russell Westbrook, one of Brooks' OKC boys, took on the heavy minutes.

Nowitzki heads back to Dallas for a 2:30 p.m. practice Monday as the Mavs begin the final 32 games of the season at home Tuesday against the New Jersey Nets.


DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki now ranks 20th in NBA history in scoring and unofficially holds the league record for honesty.

How many legends months removed from carrying their team to a championship would openly admit that their performance hadn’t merited an invitation to the All-Star Game?

Dirk did just that in advance of the votes being submitted for All-Star reserves. The Western Conference coaches opted to ignore him, awarding Nowitzki his 11th consecutive All-Star appearance despite his struggles in the first third of the season.

There should be no more questions about whether Nowitzki’s trip to Orlando this weekend is justified, and that has nothing to do with a lifetime achievement award. Just look at his production the last 10 games, when he’s averaged 25.4 points and 8.0 rebounds while shooting 55.5 percent from the floor.

Any doubt about whether Dirk belongs among the West’s best dozen players? Didn’t think so.

“I think everybody knows if I would have been healthy all year, it would have been a lock,” Nowitzki said after his 26-point, 16-rebound performance in Monday night’s blowout of the beat-up Boston Celtics.

Hey, it ain’t bragging if it’s true.

“But I wasn’t [healthy],” Nowitzki continued. “If you judge it by first third of the season, whatever they judged it on, I still say there were some guys that deserved it over me, but it is what it is. The coaches showed me a lot of respect.”

Nowitzki, who passed Robert Parish for 20th on the all-time scoring list in the first quarter, earned that respect over the last 13 years.

There’s never been a 7-footer with his skill set. He started with one of the sweetest jumpers in the league and developed an arsenal that includes a quality post-up game and dangerous off-the-dribble attack, both featuring variations of a one-legged leanaway that is the most uniquely unblockable shot since Kareem’s sky hook.

There’s never been an NBA superstar whose toughness has been so readily dismissed. So many soft-Euro stereotypes were shattered during the Mavs’ championship run, when the world finally began to understand and appreciate that a finesse game and intense competitive fire aren’t mutually exclusive.

That skill set and that toughness isn’t diminishing any time soon. Despite what you might have heard from Charles Barkley, one of few power forwards in NBA history who can claim to be in Dirk’s class, Father Time has no better chance of stopping No. 41 this season than Chris Wilcox and Jermaine O’Neal did Monday night.

“It’s hard to be great in June and then in December, your career is over,” Mavs big man Brendan Haywood said. “In June, you’re the greatest player on the planet! In December, your career is over! That’s laughable.”

It’s something Nowitzki can laugh about now that he’s got his game back.

“I’m just getting warmed up,” the 33-year-old Nowitzki said, flashing a grin. “No, I knew eventually once the swelling in my knee went down and I started feeling better that I can still play on a high level. I was just struggling physically the first month or so with the short camp, but I had confidence that eventually, once my leg strength came back, I can still compete at a high level. I think I’ve still got that in my tank for hopefully the next two years and then we can go from there.”

His immediate focus, of course, is on finishing this season strong. He has reason to believe that the Mavs, who are 21-12 at the midway point despite a slow start, are a legitimate threat to repeat.

There’s no question in Nowitzki’s mind that he’s back to being the kind of player that can put a team on his back during a playoff run.

“Once I get my game back, I can attack off the dribble, post, do all those things,” Nowitzki said, recapping what’s happened over the last few weeks, “I think there’s not a lot of power forwards in this league who are better than me.”

That’s an honest statement from Dirk, and it’s about as close to boasting as he’ll ever come.

It could also be considered humble.

The whole truth is that there aren’t a lot of power forwards in NBA history better than him. And there aren't a lot of players in this league, period, who are better.

There were none last summer, and at the halfway point of this season, it suddenly doesn't look like a lot has changed.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9