Nowitzki practices with Mavs for first time since surgery


The Mavericks could be about to get the only thing they really wanted for Christmas this year — Dirk Nowitzki back.

The German scoring machine practiced with the team Wednesday for the first time since his knee surgery to clean out debris during the preseason, reports ESPNDallas.com.

Mavericks star forward Dirk Nowitzki participated in a full practice Wednesday for the first time since undergoing preseason arthroscopic knee surgery.

The Mavs have not set a timetable for Nowitzki to play in games, but he is listed as out for Thursday night’s meeting with the Heat.

Nowitzki had kept pushing back his timeline, at one point saying mid-December then saying that was not the case. But it may not be much later than that if he is practicing now.

Amazingly, the Mavericks offense — fueled by O.J. Mayo and some very hot three point shooting from him — is almost a point per 100 possessions better this season than last. That despite Nowitzki being out, Jason Terry going to Boston and other lineup changes.

The offense has been good enough to keep Dallas around .500 (12-13) and if they get Nowitzki back it should improve. And suddenly Dallas starts to look like a playoff team, or at least one fighting for a spot in a deep Western Conference. It’s going to be rough in the bottom of the West this season with the Jazz, Nuggets, Lakers, Timberwolves and Rockets all clawing for three spots.

Dallas needs Nowitzki back for that. And the sooner the better.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.