Nowitzki and Mavericks trying to adjust to Spurs’ defense | Dallas Morning News
Dirk Nowitzki is having one of those rough days at the office.
Make that a rough two weeks.
Though his scoring has crept ever-so-slowly upward every game, he has yet to crack 20 points and over a four-game span, that’s virtually unheard of for the Dallas Mavericks’ superstar, the 10th leading scorer in NBA history.
But the good news is that Nowitzki, and the Mavericks, have come to grips with it.
“They force me to play off the dribble,” Nowitzki said of how the San Antonio Spurs are defending him. “It’s no secret at this point. I’m not the greatest driver anymore. So they take all my air space away and that’s what the good teams have done the last couple years. But if it’s not there, I’m going to swing it and let somebody else make a play.”
Having said that, Nowitzki took nine of the Mavericks’ 23 shots in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s 93-89 loss in Game 4, which leveled the first-round series at two wins apiece. He made just three of them.
“I had some good looks, especially in the fourth quarter out of the post,” Nowitzki said. “Tough night. They make it tough on us. They take us out of comfort zones a little. We got to keep battling. It’s 2-2.”
The Mavericks also got burned by the Spurs’ bench for the first time in the series. The San Antonio reserves outscored the Mavericks’ bench 50-30.
A big part of that was Boris Diaw, who 17 points, including the 3-pointer with 32 seconds left that put the Spurs up for good 90-87.
“You got to give up something,” Nowitzki said. “Our pick and roll coverage has been solid most of these four games. He (Diaw) got in a little better groove shooting-wise. First two games he didn’t look comfortable.”
It was Nowitzki who hedged defensively on Tony Parker off the pick and roll when Parker fed the ball back to Diaw for the decisive 3-pointer.
“On that play, I sucked in and we were trying to stop penetration and he kicked it back,” Nowitzki said. “I stutter-stepped a little thinking he might put it on the floor, but he stepped into the three and that was a big shot for them. We still came back and had chances. And then at the end, we ran a good play.”
Against these Spurs, all it takes is one or two mental lapses to turn the game and the momentum.
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