If you think Dirk Nowitzki is a bit off lately, you may be
right. At the very least, one of his good friends thinks the Mavericks’
anchor is still favoring his right knee that he sprained back in December.
“I think he is hurting a little bit with his
knee,’’ Chris Kaman, Nowitzki’s teammate on the German
national team, told the Los Angeles Times after Wednesday’s 106-100
Mavericks’ win over the Clippers. “He’s trying to fight
through that and finish the season strong. He knows that. They need him and you
see what happens when he doesn’t play. They struggle.’’
To have Nowitzki at anything less than peak efficiency
tonight against the Lakers would be obvious bad news for the Mavericks.
Nowitzki’s usually money step-back jumper has been a
bit unreliable lately. Whether or not that’s attributable to an achy knee
is anyone’s guess. He has not missed any time because of it.
Meanwhile, J.J. Barea said he’s ready for the Lakers
tonight after coming off a 22-point night against the Clippers in which he
scored 16 points in the fourth quarter.
“I had two days off and my legs were feeling awesome
for the first time in a while,’’ he said.
Barea added that the Mavericks will have to play much better
than they did against the Clippers if they hope to spring an upset of the
“We know we got to come out and play better, play 48
minutes,’’ he said. “We’ve won five in a row. It
hasn’t always been pretty, but we’re still winning.
“They play together and they’re going to be
good, no matter what. They’re just bigger. We just got to play harder,
and take care of the ball, and we’ll be fine.’’