Struggling Dirk Nowitzki: 'Just gotta keep on working'

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki’s track record is too long and impressive to worry about two off nights.

But, man, has the big German been bad the last couple of games. The totals: 16 points on 5-of-22 shooting.

If not for the New Orleans Hornets’ tempers and illegal defense violations, the sweetest-shooting 7-footer in NBA history would have been held to single digits in consecutive games for the first time since the end of his rookie season. Half of his 10 points in Saturday’s win came on technical foul free throws.

“I’ve just gotta keep on working,” Nowitzki said after his 2-of-11 shooting performance. “My legs are not quite there yet. I’ve just got to keep on working and I’ll be all right.”

Added coach Rick Carlisle: “I hope he keeps getting those looks.”

Nowitzki’s stroke isn’t worth worrying about. His right knee, however, might be.

Nowitzki wore a sleeve on that knee, which he sprained last season, against the Hornets. Carlisle mentioned that the two days coming up between games would allow the 10-time All-Star to “do the right amount of work and get the right amount of treatment.”

Nowitzki had no interest in discussing his knee issue in any detail.

“I’m all right,” Nowitzki said. “Just gotta keep on working.”