Posted December 19, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Dirk Nowitzki is getting closer to making his debut for the Dallas Mavericks, though they'll certainly need more than just his presence in the lineup to improve one of the NBA's worst defenses.
A day after getting the good news that Nowitzki is on the mend, the Mavericks will have a serious challenge against one of the league's highest-scoring teams Thursday night as they look to avoid a third straight loss to the visiting Miami Heat.
Nowitzki has been recovering from offseason knee surgery and took a major step forward by participating in full-contact practice drills for the first time Wednesday. Though he said there's no timetable for his return, he's hoping it will be shortly after Christmas.
"We'll just see how it goes. I mean, this is the first day we're stopping, pushing off, moving and we'll just see how it reacts," Nowitzki told the team's official website. "Get at least a couple practices under my belt, but there's no real date set, so we'll just have to wait and see how the knee responds to the first couple of workouts."
While the Mavericks (12-13) sure could use the franchise's all-time leading scorer, it's their defense that has caused a good portion of their struggles. They rank near the bottom of the league by allowing 101.5 points per game and have given up fewer than 90 only once.
The offense carried Dallas in Tuesday's 107-100 home win over Philadelphia, shooting 54.2 percent after the Mavericks went winless on a three-game road trip.
O.J. Mayo scored 26 points and Chris Kaman added 20 while combining to score 17 of the team's final 19 points. Kaman hadn't logged fourth-quarter minutes in the previous five games.
"We try to involve those guys in a lot of things because they're both playing well,'' coach Rick Carlisle said. "(Mayo's) aggression was really the key.''
The Mavericks won their third straight at home to begin a brief two-game homestand before hitting the road for tough tests at Memphis, San Antonio and Oklahoma City.
"It was important for us to come home and get a win," Mayo said.
Dallas had won nine straight regular-season home matchups with Miami before LeBron James scored 37 points and Dwyane Wade added 26 in a 105-94 win last Christmas Day to open the lockout-shortened season.
The Heat swept the season series with a 106-85 victory March 29 and will seek their first three-game regular-season winning streak over the Mavericks since beating them 16 straight times from 1992-1999.
James has been the catalyst for a Miami offense averaging 103.1 points, becoming the first player to score at least 20 points his team's first 22 games since Utah's Karl Malone in 1989-90 after netting 22 in Tuesday's 103-92 win over Minnesota.
"We're getting better every night,'' said James, who added 11 assists, seven rebounds and four blocks.
Wade scored a game-high 24 points for the Heat (16-6), who won despite being outrebounded 52-24.
"You better be strong in other areas of the game," Shane Battier, who hit three 3-pointers off the bench, told the team's official website. "That's a not an easy to way to win a game. But you have to do your work elsewhere to make up for it."
It marked the second-fewest rebounds they have grabbed in franchise history.
"We made up for it with our energy," Wade said.
James is averaging 30.4 points in his last seven regular-season games in Dallas.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Dallas Mavericks have released a new holiday-themed video in which "Santa Dirk" Nowitzki comes to town and gives "presents" to his Mavs teammates. The reactions by Nowitzki's teammates to the gag gifts that he gives out, which include Angry Birds boxers, a rotary phone, and a Shake Weight, are priceless. Video via DallasMavericks. Visit us at holdoutsports...
Somehow I feel like I’m in the middle of a “Where’s Waldo” cartoon when I’m watching the Dallas Mavericks as of late. I am and will always be a MFFL, but I have to agree with some of the critics here lately, that the Mavericks are in for a heap of trouble if they don’t clean up their game. Dallas had gone on a three game winning streak, anxiously awaiting the return of...
Dirk Nowitzki practiced yesterday for the first time since he underwent arthroscopic knee surgery before the season began. The Dallas Mavericks' star has missed the entire season so far as his recovery process has taken longer than expected. However, yesterday's return to the practice court was a major step in the right direction. According to Dwain Price of the Fort...
Watch as Dirk Nowitzki gifts his Mavericks teammates with some awesome things.
I love the Kelly Kapowski Bayside sweater, unfortunately Shawn Marion is not impressed with his present.
DALLAS "You can't throw a ball through the nose of a defender and have it come out of his (rear) to a teammate," Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said on the eve of Sixers-at-Mavs, by way of clarifying what might be a misunderstanding that is leading to his team's turnover woes.
After climbing above .500 last week, Dallas dropped three straight games, all...
The Dallas Mavericks have announced that guard Derek Fisher will sit at least three games due to a right patellar tendon strain, reports Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas.Mavs announce that Derek Fisher will miss at least three games and be re-evaluated next week.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 20, 2012 Fisher was sidelined for last night’s matchup against the Miami Heat...
The Mavericks should be dangerous come playoff time.
DALLAS (AP) -- Mavericks point guard Derek Fisher left Dallas' game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night with a strained right knee.
Fisher had his shot blocked by Evan Turner and went down to the floor holding his knee after he landed. He walked slowly to locker room with 6:50 left in the first quarter.
The team said Fisher's return to the game is doubtful....
DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks continued their season-long torrid shooting at home, and they snapped a three-game losing streak with a 107-100 victory over the struggling Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night at American Airlines Center. The Mavericks shot 54.2 percent for the game (39-for-72). Dallas guard O.J. Mayo scored 16 of his 26 points in the second half, and he helped...
Texas A & M football star and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel was sitting court side for the Miami Heat’s win over the Dallas Mavericks last night in Dallas. Announcer Steve Kerr took advantage of the situation and decided to call him out and ask how he got down there. "How does a college kid get court side seats to a Mavericks game? Those are expensive seats...
DALLAS (AP) -- LeBron James scored 24 points with some early baskets on nifty passes from Dwyane Wade, and the Miami Heat rolled to a 110-95 victory over the injury plagued Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.
James has scored at least 20 points in all 23 games, the longest streak to start an NBA season since Karl Malone's 24 in a row opening the 1989-90 season.
O.J. Mayo scored 26 points, Chris Kaman added 20 and the Dallas Mavericks snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 107-100 Tuesday night.
Mayo and Kaman scored 17 of Dallas' last 19 points to help the Mavericks win their seventh straight at home against the 76ers.
Dorell Wright scored 25 points and Spencer Hawes had 18 for the 76ers, who lost their...
DALLAS -- This isn't the rivalry it once was. Less than two years removed from clash in the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks have gone separate ways. The Heat's 110-95 runaway Thursday night victory at American Airlines Center was just the latest example. LeBron James had it going early as Miami coasted to its third consecutive regular-season win over...