In an interview with European news service AFP this week, Dirk Nowitzki again lamented the first-round loss to Golden State, but said he has been searching for something positive from the experience.
"The only positive side was that it gave me a longer holiday than normal," Nowitzki said. "I took two months off and just cut myself off from basketball, which did me a lot of good. I began conditiona training about a month ago. The result is that I am stronger and fitter than at this time last season."
Nowitzki is with the German national team in Spain, where they will attempt to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. In exhibitions against Italy and Russia, Nowitzki scored a total of 35 points. He said the German team is playing well and hopes to equal their performance two years ago in the European tournament when they won the silver medal.
That will be tough, however. Spain is the defending world champion and teams from Italy, France, Croatia and Lithuania will be tough.
"We have a strong team," he said. "We showed that in 2005. Spain will be the favorites as the world champions, but otherwise it's wide open."
-- Jan Hubbard