Locker Room Buzz: Bloodied Dirk jabs NBA

DALLAS -- The frustration of the Mavericks’ fourth loss in five games didn’t keep Dirk Nowitzki from cracking a couple of jokes Saturday night.

Of course, the humor featured a thinly veiled jab at the NBA office.

Nowitzki suffered a bloody nose after a collision with Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio while they were chasing a long rebound in the fourth quarter. He returned to the game with a bandage on his nose, which wasn’t exactly a fashion statement for the 16-year veteran power forward.

"I don’t think it’s broke, but since it wasn’t a foul, I might get another flopping call from my boy [NBA President of Basketball Operations] Rod Thorn on Monday," said Nowitzki, taking a playful jab at the NBA’s discipline czar. "But it’s actually a miracle my nose is so big [that] I don’t hit it more often. I try to dodge it every night that I’m out there. It’s a miracle I don’t hit it."

Nowitzki was warned for flopping Tuesday, the result of a pretty bad acting job after a 3-pointer in Monday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets.

As far as his nose goes, Nowitzki didn’t need any stitches to close the cut.

Point problems: The Mavs predictably didn’t get great point guard play with starter Jose Calderon sitting out due to a bone bruise in his right ankle. Rookies Gal Mekel and Shane Larkin combined to score 10 points on 5-of-18 shooting, dish out eight assists and commit three turnovers.

The Timberwolves basically dared the rookies to shoot all game. The Mavs played Monta Ellis at point guard down the stretch, something coach Rick Carlisle would prefer not to do.

"I thought both [rookies] did some good things, but experience is so valuable and so important down the stretch," Carlisle said. "I would by no means say that the loss is on the point guards. I think we win and lose together, but our lack of experience there tonight was a factor."

Dribbles: Shawn Marion’s steal in the third quarter gave him 1,667 for his career, moving him past Fat Lever for 20th in NBA history. … According to Mavs stats guru Dave Keeney of the team’s television broadcast, this is only the second time Dallas has lost a game in which Nowitzki had at least 10 field goals and shot 75 percent or better from the floor. The Mavs are 13-2 in such games. Nowitzki had 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting in the loss.