Wow. It was hard to see this one coming. Dirk Nowitzki has been sidelined all year after undergoing knee surgery roughly two months ago, but he’s active tonight against the San Antonio Spurs.
Nowitzki put in his first full practice on Wednesday, and apparently the knee is feeling well enough to test it in his first game action of the season. Here’s Earl K. Sneed with the report:
Although it sounds like Nowitzki’s minutes and role will be heavily limited, it’s a huge boon to a Mavericks team that has been holding on for dear life without their star forward. The Mavericks enter the matchup with the Spurs only three games below .500 — a pretty big accomplishment considering the lack of scorers beyond O.J. Mayo on the roster.
If he’s right, Nowitzki is absolutely talented enough to change the landscape in the Western Conference and have the Mavs really compete for a playoff spot. Although he’s getting up there in age and his knees are a concern, Nowitzki’s game has never been reliant on speed or jumping ability whatsoever. It’s very well possible Nowitzki eventually returns to his All-Star level of play, but the Mavericks will wisely take it slow with their franchise player.
Merry Christmas, Mavericks fans. Dirk is back.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks by 26 points on Friday night, a game all of the Dallas players would love to forget. But there was a funny moment for rookie big man Salah Mejri: after a dunk, he appeared to yell something at the San Antonio bench. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were completely nonplussed.
For what it’s worth, Mejri later tweeted that he wasn’t intending to be disrespectful.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.