Dirk Nowitzki has dedicated his entire NBA career to one team, and one team only, the Dallas Mavericks. There is no question that Nowitzki is the face of the organization, along with Mark Cuban, of course. Nowitzki has been a bit of an iron man and has avoided serious injury throughout his career. However, he is still human and missed Saturday night’s game with an illness.
It wasn’t a big deal for the Mavs, who played host to the pitiful Milwaukee Bucks. Dallas comfortably led most of the game and even had over a 30-point lead at one point, but reserves and garbage time allowed the score to look closer than it actually was. Dallas still won, 106-93. It was a big win for Big D as they played without their key player and they currently sit in the eighth spot of the West.
I think it is important to point out the severity of this win. I know it is only the Bucks, but you would think it would be a close contest without Nowitzki on the court. Wrong, somehow Dallas was able to create enough offense and lock it down on defense. They had a death grip on this game and that is a very good sign for a team that failed to make the playoffs last season.
It was a collective effort as five players scored in double figures and 10 players in total contributed some type of scoring. With or without Nowitzki, Dallas will need to continue with this balanced approach. The Western Conference is no cake walk and Dallas will only grab a seventh seed, at best, if they make the postseason. They will need increased production from Monta Ellis, Vince Carter and Shawn Marion if they want to even play basketball in April and May. Even if Dallas makes the playoffs, they won’t do much damage, if any. The Mavs are simply too old and do not have enough star power to propel them through the first round.
It was a big win without Nowitzki and it was a big morale booster, but Dallas will need to make a trade if they want to be a legitimate threat this season.