DALLAS -- San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the Dallas Mavericks are totally different when they have a healthy Dirk Nowitzki on the floor than they are when Nowitzki is sitting on the bench in street clothes.
"It's like night and day,'' Popovich said after Sunday morning's shoot around at American Airlines Center. "He's one of the greatest players that's ever touched the court, so you take him off the court and everybody else has to play a whole lot differently.''
Popovich compared losing Nowitzki to a situation where if the Spurs had to play without forward Tim Duncan.
"If all a sudden Tim wasn't on the court for us we'd run around like animals trying to figure out what the hell we're supposed to do,'' Popovich said. "We wouldn't know where to go -- we'd just be lost.
"So it's reasonable to think that the same things happen with other teams when somebody like that who is so important to the stability of the program isn't there. And when he comes back, it takes time to adjust back again.''''
The Mavs (12-18) and Spurs (23-8) face each other at 6:30 tonight at the ACC.
-- Dwain Price
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