DALLAS _ As the Dallas Mavericks wind down to the close of the regular season, it may be wise not to talk to Dirk Nowitzki about sitting out a few games just to keep him fresh for the playoffs.
That’s not something the All-Star forward wants to ever hear again.
“Actually one of my worst playoff runs was the ones when I rested and I was rusty in the playoffs,’’ Nowitzki said. “So I always like to go for it.
“I like to have to play for something down the stretch, and that’s when I always have my best playoffs.’’
Nowitzki was referring to the 2007 playoffs. Coach Avery Johnson did not dress Nowitzki in the next-to-last game of the season at Golden State, and the Warriors hammered the Mavs, 111-82.
That victory enabled the Warriors to sneak in the playoffs. The Warriors then became the first No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in a best-of-seven series as they stunned the Mavs in six games.
In the series, Nowitzki was just 36-of-94 from the field for a paltry 38.3 percent. He also never shot at least 50 percent from the floor in either of the six games.
In Game 1 of the series against the Warriors in Dallas, Nowitzki was just 4-of-16 from the field and scored only 14 points as the Mavs suffered a shocking 97-85 defeat. And in the Game 6 series close-out contest, Nowitzki was just 2-of-13 from the floor – and 0-of-6 from three-point range -- and tallied only eight points.
In other words, Nowitzki’s rhythm was all out of whack when Johnson sat him for the game that ultimately gift-wrapped a playoff berth for the Warriors.
So the next time someone asks Nowitzki not to dress for a game so he can be fresh for the playoffs, they may not want to ask him that question.
“I never like to conserve energy,’’ Nowitzki said. “I always like to go for it and like to go with momentum in the playoffs.
“It might be a little different with (38-year old Jason) Kidd, who obviously is a little older. But I always like the approach of going full steam into the playoffs.’’
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter