Shootaround report: Dirk set for a return, Carter misses shootaround with sickness
Shootaround report: Mavericks (20-27) at Thunder (35-12)
Dirk hopeful to return in OKC as Mavs try to avenge OT losses
OKLAHOMA CITY — “I’ll give it a go tonight.”
With that simple declaration, 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki made it clear that despite missing the last two games with a strained right adductor injury, he will be on the court Monday night when his team tries to avenge two overtime losses to the reigning Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder.
After watching the Mavericks (20-27) improve to 1-2 on their current four-game road trip with a 109-99 win in Phoenix minus his services following two heartbreaking losses in Portland and at Golden State, Nowitzki will be back in action, although he admits that the injury hasn’t completely subsided. And with a chance to get even following two hard-fought games in December and January, Nowitzki will try to battle through the upper leg injury while also hoping to improve on his personal struggles against the Thunder (35-12) this season, averaging just 13.5 points on 26.7 percent shooting in the two losses.
“It’s OK. I’ll give it a go tonight,” Nowitzki said after going through the team’s morning shootaround. “It’s going to be a little tight I guess, but if I wait till this is all gone, we might sit out another two weeks. I don’t know how a pulled muscle heals, so I’ll just try to give it a go. And if it’s just tight, then it’s fine. As long as it doesn’t grab me and doesn’t get worse during the game, I think that’s the major key. But I’ll try to get nice and loose, keep it warm during the game and try to give it a go.”
Meanwhile, even with their undisputed leader back on the floor, the Mavs still could be down a man after eight-time All-Star Vince Carter missed shootaround due to a sickness. And with Carter’s status for Monday night still uncertain, the Mavericks will try to solve the late-game issues that have plagued them in two games versus the Thunder, hoping to take advantage of an Oklahoma City squad that has yet to spit out the bitterness of Friday’s 115-110 loss in Cleveland.
In order to do so, however, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle knows that his defense will have to be on high alert if the Mavs are going to seize consecutive wins to conclude their road trip before returning to Dallas for a four-game homestand to wrap up play heading into the All-Star break, especially after three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant exploded for a career-high 52 points while going 21-for-21 at the foul line during a 117-114 overtime win in Dallas back on Jan. 18.
Note: The Mavericks will conclude their road trip Monday night in Oklahoma City, looking to avenge two overtime losses to the reigning Western Conference champion Thunder. The game will air locally on Fox Sports Southwest at 7 p.m. CT.