Dirk Nowitzki is building two streaks that both indicate his right knee sprain is a thing of the past.
The first is 53 consecutive free throws dating back to the fourth quarter against Indiana on March 4. Nowitzki made all 12 attempts in the Dallas Mavericks' come-from-behind, 112-106, win at Golden State on Wednesday. Free throws are all about the bend of the knees, and not that Nowitzki ever really struggled at the line, but he is shooting them the best he has all season. He hasn't missed a free throw in eight consecutive games.
At 88.8 percent from the free throw line, Nowitzki is again positioned to shoot 50 percent from the field (52.8), 40 percent from 3-point range (42.4) and 90 percent from the free throw line. He's accomplished that one time in his career, 2006-07, his MVP season.
The more important streak is a season-high three consecutive double-doubles, which is notable for the rebounding totals -- 13, 11, 10 and nine in his last four games.
Prior to the last four games, Nowitzki twice recorded double-digit rebounds in 26 games and only seven times during that stretch did he grab more than six in those game. Since his return from injury on Jan. 15 and up until the last four games, Nowitzki had averaged just 5.7 rebounds a game, nearly three below his career average of 8.4.
Nowitzki is averaging 6.8 this season, which ranks as his lowest rebound average since 1999-2000, his second season, when he averaged 6.5 boards.
After his return from injury, Nowitzki admitted that he felt as if in quicksand when going after a rebound. He has since regained the strength, ability and confidence to push off his right leg as well as to move laterally to grab rebounds, which is a big positive for the Mavs, who rank 17th in the NBA in rebounding (41.7 a game) and 14th in rebounding differential (+0.26).