One thing is evident after the Dallas Mavericks‘ third preseason game against the Orlando Magic: Dirk Nowitzki is ready to play. Last year the Mavericks power forward missed the first 27 games of the season due to a knee injury that he suffered during training camp. Coming into this season, the health of Dirk was a big question mark. Since he did miss so many games last season, people wondered if it had to do with his age.
Dirk did his best to prove the naysayers wrong during the offseason. He stayed around the Dallas area to workout and work on his game. Normally he spends the summer back home in Germany. This time, though, he stayed home and even dropped about 10 pounds. It seems to be working, too. Just three preseason games in, and the superstar looks like he’s in mid-season form already. During the game against the Magic, Dirk led all scorers with 24 points.
One of the things that has help Nowitzki is the play of Monta Ellis. The guard chipped in 16 points of his own. It wasn’t the points, though, as much as it was his ability to free up the defense to get Dirk the ball where he likes it. Ellis filled the role that once was played by Jason Terry. Toward the end of the game, there was nobody better at pick-n-roll than Terry and Dirk, and they would torch defenses with that play. The Mavs are hoping Ellis and Dirk will muster up some of the same type of chemistry.