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Dirk Nowitzki wants to finish out strong

CHICAGO -- After being run ragged by the first 65 games of this crazy schedule, the Mavericks might not know what to do with themselves over the next four days without a game.

"I like it mostly for [Jason] Kidd," Dirk Nowitzki said of the upcoming down time. "I think everybody else is good. But we've seen last year what a week left before the playoffs did for J-Kidd. He was on fire the first two games against Portland, really probably saved us those two games. So I like it for him and everybody else will probably get some good work in."

Coach Rick Carlisle didn't want to get into specifics about his plan to sharpen his team for the start of the playoffs next week, preceded only by Thursday night's season-finale at the Atlanta Hawks.

Kidd and Jason Terry sat out Saturday's 93-83 loss that knocked the Mavs into the seventh seed in the Western Conference. Carlisle also wasn't making any proclamations about who he planned to play in that game. Terry said he wanted to go against his former team and Nowitzki made it clear after Saturday's game that he has a say, he wants to play.

"I'm not sure Kidd or Jet or whoever wants to play the last game," Nowitzki said. "I think I'm going to play if it's up to me. So, we'll see I guess on Wednesday when it's time to leave for Atlanta."

Nowitzki has played in 61 of 65 games, more than only Terry and Shawn Marion, both of whom have played in 62. Nowitzki hasn't missed a game since the end of his four-game hiatus in late January to work out the stiffness in his right knee.