DALLAS – After analyzing the importance of Saturday’s game against the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki had a brief conversation with coach Rick Carlisle concerning strategy.
“He told me before the game this morning that he was ready to go 48 minutes if he had to,’’ Carlisle said. “I knew that wasn’t going to be possible.
“So I felt like if we cold get him some decent rest in the first half we’d have to ride him more in the second half most likely, which we did.’’
Nowitzki played 21 minutes and 20 seconds in the second half after playing 17 minutes and 45 seconds in the first half.
Even when Nowitzki hobbled off the court with 2:49 left after suffering an ankle injury, he came right back in the game 19 seconds later.
In all, Nowitzki tallied 21 of his 23 points in the second half as the Mavs clinched a playoff spot with a 101-98 victory over the Suns.
“He’s just one of the most amazing guys that I’ve been around in basketball, and I’ve been around some pretty amazing guys,’’ Carlisle said of Nowitzki. “He was not going to allow us to lose this game tonight.’’
-- Dwain Price
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