DALLAS -- A quick discussion with Dirk Nowitzki in recent weeks usually included with the Dallas Mavericks' 11-time All-Star talking about how he was anxious to get back in a real basketball game since the last time that occurred was in mid-April.
Well, Nowitzki got his wish Wednesday as the Mavs opened the regular season by dispatching the Atlanta Hawks, 118-109, before a sellout crowd of 19,834 at American Airlines Center.
In the process, Nowitzki couldn't help but notice the much improved play by the Mavs' backcourt.
Shooting guard Monta Ellis finished with 32 points, eight assists and two steals, point guard Jose Calderon had 11 assists, and backup playmaker Gal Rookie picked up three assists in only nine minutes.
Overall, the Mavs recorded a whopping 31 assists on their 44 baskets and shot 57.1 percent from the field.
"Yeah, we were really moving the ball and finding the open guy,'' said Nowitzki, who had 24 points and five assists. "The turnovers really hurt us in the second quarter that got them back into the game, and we were even down at the half, so that was not the position we wanted to be in.
"But, hey, that's a tough team, they're athletic and they kept coming at us all night. Listen, the home opener is always tough, and we'll take the win and move on.''
-- Dwain Price
Follow me on Twitter