Mavs survive Dirk's dud in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- After missing a couple of wide-open jumpers early in the second half Sunday, Dirk Nowitzki ripped out his mouthpiece and shouted a few dirty words at himself as he marched to the Dallas Mavericks’ bench during a timeout.

It was just one of those games for the big German, who was 2-of-10 from the floor at that point and finished with only 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting, even missing a clutch free throw with seconds remaining.

“I had some great looks actually,” Nowitzki said after the Mavs survived with a 93-91 win over the Sacramento Kings. “One was on a pindown and I was open. I had some 3s that were open. I don’t know. I didn’t have it. I didn’t have a good rhythm. I actually made my first 3 right away. After that, I didn’t really have a lot going.

“But, hey, we got the win. That’s why it’s a team game.”

So much for Nowitzki’s hot streak since mentor Holger Geschwindner arrived from Germany for his late-season visit.

Nowitzki had averaged 26.3 points in the previous six games. He shot 56.4 percent from the floor in that span. That made his off day even more surprising than they usually are for a man who is about to move into the top 10 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

“It’s men, not machines,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “Guys aren’t going to make every shot all the time. The great thing was he kept playing, he stayed aggressive. I know he got a little frustrated, but he kept his mind in the game.

“Out of the timeout, he hit a 2, then he hit a 3. That’s huge. That’s what great players do. When the opportunity is there, even if you’ve had a bad night, you jump on it.”