Shootaround report: Dirk set for 1st start vs. Hornets
Earl K. Sneed reports from the Dallas Mavericks' Saturday morning shootaround, where Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle announced that 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki will make his first start of the season against Southwest Division rival New Orleans.
Shootaround report: Hornets (7-25) at Mavericks (13-20)
Dirk set for 1st start vs. Hornets
After returning from preseason arthroscopic right knee surgery to play in six games off the bench, 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki will slide into the starting lineup for the first time all season when the Mavericks (13-20) welcome in the New Orleans Hornets to the American Airlines Center. And with the addition of the 7-footer to the first unit, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle will feature his 15th different starting lineup of the season.
“We’re going to start Dirk tonight. We just feel it’s time for him to do that,” Carlisle explained. “We’ll have to watch his minutes and all that, but it’s a 48-minute proposition and starting him doesn’t guarantee anything. It’s just part of the process of reintegration and we just feel like we’re at the point where it’s time to do that and he feels the same way.”
“We’re in no position to have a letdown against anybody,” Carlisle said. “With 20 losses, you know, we just can’t afford to do that. There’s no basis for it. I mean, I’m as honest as I can be. New Orleans is a team that’s in basically every game. They create slug-feast type games and you’ve got to play for 48 minutes against them to beat them.”
“Right now, we ain’t looking too good ourselves,” leading scorer O.J. Mayo added. “So we’ve got to go out there, scrap and get a win. All of us. We’ve just got to go out there and play hard and play every game like it’s our last and see what we can make out of it.”
Note: The Mavericks will return to action at home on Saturday night, hosting No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Hornets. The game will air locally at 7:30 p.m. CT on Fox Sports Southwest. It’s the first of four regular-season meetings between the two teams this season. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.