DALLAS -- In two of the six games the Dallas Mavericks played in recent days since Dirk Nowitzki returned from right knee surgery, they went on the road and took both Oklahoma City and Miami into overtime.
Granted, the Mavs lost both of those games. But that's not the point.
The point is, the Thunder and Heat were the two finalists in last season's NBA Finals. Thus, it was a promising sign for the Mavs to hit the road and take both of those teams into overtime, especially with Nowitzki still trying to shake off the rust.
"We’re definitely getting closer than we were 10 days ago when I first got back,'' Nowitzki said after Friday's practice. "That was an ugly stretch.
"To our defense a little bit, I thought our schedule was murder back then. Just one team after another, road games, now we go back out on the road after this one, so the schedule has been brutal, but there were some games where we just didn’t compete like we needed to be in those games.''
The Mavs are 1-5 since Nowitzki returned. That includes embarrassing 38-point and 25-point losses to San Antonio, and a 21-point loss to Denver.
"We didn’t deserve to be in those games,'' Nowitzki said. "Here lately, I think if we compete, if we play hard, play smart, I think we’ll be in any game and we have a chance to win those games.
"But we’ve got to compete at all times to just be down there down the stretch.''
-- Dwain Price
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