Nowitzki scored 17 points and had eight rebounds, six assists and three steals in a 123-100 blasting over the Sacramento Kings last Wednesday.
They will be fighting for their playoff lives when play resumes next week. At 23-29, the Mavs, two years away from having won the NBA title, clearly had a good shot at not making the playoffs.
Of course, Nowitzki’s injury and health issues, allowing him to play in 23 of the Mavericks first 52 games and start 17 of them, has had no small impact on the team’s troubles. If he can continue to heal and progress and give the Mavs everything he’s got, which is a Nowitzki trademark, the Mavs could threaten for the playoffs.
It hasn’t been one of Nowitzki’s better seasons but he has shown signs of returning back to the glory days. After 23 games he’s at 5.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 25 assists and 30.1 minutes per game while shooting 42.3 percent from the floor and 80 from the free-throw line.
Those numbers are off from his career totals of 22.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.76 assists and 36.2 minutes per game. He’s also hitting 47.4 percent in his career from the floor.
But in recent games,including the win over Sacramento, he has looked sharp. Against Atlanta on Feb. 11, Nowitzki was 8-of-14 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe and totaled 24 points with seven rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Dallas will badly need that type of production from Nowitzki in all of their remaining games if they’re to pull off a run and make the playoffs.