Millsap's plan: Make Dirk work

Utah power forward Paul Millsap has a simple plan for the tough task of defending Dirk Nowitzki.

Millsap wants to make Dirk work as hard as possible.

Millsap understands that, at 6-8, there isn't much he can do to keep Nowitzki from getting his shot off once he catches the ball. Millsap's hope is that he can limit Nowitzki's touches by muscling him away from his favorite spots on the floor.

"I just try to be aggressive without fouling," Millsap said this morning. "The key is not to pick up two quick fouls against him."

Millsap also wants to force Nowitzki to exert a lot of energy on the other end of the floor, but the Jazz power forward recognizes there is a problem with that part of the plan. The Mavs are likely to open the game with Erick Dampier defending Millsap and Nowitzki on perimeter-shooting center Mehmet Okur.

Nowitzki averaged 34.5 points in this season's previous two games against the Jazz, but that includes the franchise-record 29-point fourth quarter outburst.

"That's just him being Dirk," Millsap said. "You know in the fourth quarter he's going to be more aggressive. ... But I wouldn't say if that's great offense by him or bad defense by us."