Grizzlies face Mavericks tonight
Dirk Nowitzki and coach Rick Carlisle have returned to practice since missing the Dallas Mavericks' last game due to illnesses.
They were in good spirits and cracking jokes upon coming back, perhaps because Dallas now has Brandan Wright available again.
Wright provided a boost his last time out in his season debut and should help the Mavericks on the boards Wednesday night at home as they try to hand the short-handed Memphis Grizzlies a fifth straight loss.
Dallas (14-10) won 106-93 over lowly Milwaukee at home Saturday without Nowitzki, who was sick. Nowitzki came back to practice Monday.
"I felt a lot better during the day Saturday, but it really hit me Friday night," Nowitzki said. "Friday, I was struggling to keep fluids in, so Saturday I didn't feel that hot. But I'm glad the boys pulled it out."
Nowitzki then went on with a joke at the expense of the Dallas Cowboys, who blew a 23-point halftime lead in Sunday's 37-36 loss to Green Bay.
"I felt a lot better already come Sunday, until I watched the Cowboys game," he said. "Then I got sick again."
Carlisle was absent since he has been fighting an upper respiratory problem. He was also back at practice, where he said he was over the illness but joked about it by referencing the popular television show "Homeland."
"When you get it, you feel like Brody in Caracas without the heroin probably," Carlisle said.
Perhaps the Mavericks were in a light-hearted mood because of how Wright came in and scored 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting off the bench in his first action after missing the first 23 games with a shoulder injury.
Wright's presence has given Dallas another big man in its rotation with DeJuan Blair and Samuel Dalembert, who did not see action for the first time Saturday. Nowitzki is excited to get onto the court with Wright.
"He's good at the stuff that I stink at," Nowitzki said. "He plays above the rim."
Wright should help against Memphis (10-14), which has outrebounded Dallas by an average of 10.3 in the last three meetings. The Mavs beat the Grizzlies 111-99 on Nov. 2 behind Nowitzki's 24 points.
"(We'll) be sharp hopefully on Wednesday against a physical team that always gives us trouble on the boards so we gotta be ready," Nowitzki said.
The Grizzlies had a healthy Marc Gasol then and are now 3-8 without the injured big man following Tuesday's 96-92 home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
Gasol and Mike Conley combined for 47 points the last time these teams met, but both could be out Wednesday. That's because Conley missed his first game Tuesday after bruising his left thigh in Sunday's 101-93 loss to Minnesota.
The last two defeats have followed a familiar pattern. The Grizzlies fell behind by 11 points after one period against the Timberwolves and were down by 10 after 12 minutes versus the Lakers.
"We are letting teams get up by shooting the basketball and getting loose balls," coach Dave Joerger said. "They are getting after us instead of us getting after them."
Zach Randolph had 18 points and a season-high 16 rebounds Tuesday for his third straight double-double.
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