DENVER -- Maybe this German dude has a few days left as a go-to guy after all.
It could be coincidence or perhaps it was just a matter of time, but Dirk Nowitzki has suddenly looked like himself ever since Charles Barkley declared that the best player in Mavs’ history was no longer capable of being "The Man."
Nowitzki has scored 79 points on 61.5 percent shooting in the last three games. He had 25 points on 11-of-20 shooting and nine rebounds in Wednesday’s win over the Denver Nuggets, putting up what’s pretty much been a typical performance for him over the last decade.
“All-Star performance, didn’t you think?” coach Rick Carlisle said, poking fun at the possibility that Nowitzki’s slow start could prevent him from extending his streak of All-Star selections to 11 when reserves are announced Thursday night.
Nowitzki really doesn’t care whether or not he makes the All-Star game. (Actually, he’d probably prefer to stay home and take a break during that long weekend.) His concern is only about whether he’ll be capable of leading a contender.
Any doubt that crept into Dirk’s mind during his slump has been eliminated.
“Feel good, feel good,” Nowitzki said. “You know, I’m just more confident in everything -- in the movement, in the shot, just all-around game.
“It was a long road, definitely. I was fighting an uphill battle over the first third of the season, but I feel good now. I have confidence in the leg strength again. I can make moves, I can spin, all of that stuff I need to do to get my shot off. Before that, that wasn’t the case.”
Some other notes from the win over the Nuggets:
1. Grounded Jet? Jason Terry’s road woes continued with a 1-of-9 shooting night, but Carlisle’s concern was about Terry’s health. Terry didn’t play the final five-plus minutes because of a sore hip flexor. “He’s got to get some treatment tomorrow and we’ve got to get him ready for Friday and Saturday,” Carlisle said. “It’s something that’s been bothering him the last couple of days, so that’s something we’ll have to monitor closely.” Terry certainly isn’t sounding any alarms, however. “No, no, no, no, not at all,” Terry said. “I’m good. It was just tight. Nothing to worry about at all.”
2. Wright on again: For the second consecutive game, high-flying, high-energy Brandan Wright made a big impact off the bench. Wright, who is sharing the backup big man role with Ian Mahinmi after earning more minutes, scored 10 points on 5-of-8 shooting, grabbed four rebounds and blocked a shot in 16 minutes against the Nuggets. He scored six of his points while playing the final 10:51. “We don’t run plays for him,” Carlisle said, “but he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.”
3. Roddy B. breaks slump: Rodrigue Beaubois' play was a problem during the Mavs’ three-game losing streak. He scored a total of 13 points on 5-of-23 shooting during the skid, prompting Carlisle to challenge him to play more aggressively. Beaubois responded by scoring 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the first half against the Nuggets. Beaubois didn’t score in the second half, but his performance was still a positive. “Roddy’s first half was really key to our win,” Carlisle said. “Second half, he hit some rough spots, but that’s part of learning. That’s part of learning that position. He’s got to take it all in like a sponge, correct the stuff that needs to be corrected and build on the good stuff.”