Dirk Nowitzki remains day-to-day, and it seems at any point if his sprainned left ankle becomes too painful, he could have to sit. But, don't expect that tonight in Los Angeles against the Lakers. Nowitzki has averaged 30.1 points in three games this season against L.A., and he knows this matchup is of utmost importance to the Mavs' playoff hopes.
"It won't be good for a while, but it doesn't matter at this point," Nowitzki said of his ankle. "Like I said the other day, if this was November, there's no way I'm playing right now. But, it's not November and we're not, like last year, up 20 games on the 2-spot, so I just have to try and play through some stuff, keep it simple, try shooting some and let the other guys do all the running. And then I'll be OK."
A key to watch tonight and Sunday in Phoenix is how Nowitzki battles through the pain in a hostile environment. He said returning to the lineup at home in Wednesday's big win over the Warriors provided a significant lift.
"A huge help was the adrenaline. I came out there, the crowd was fired up, they gave me a standing-O when I was introduced," Nowitzki said. "That helps ease the pain."
-- Jeff Caplan