DALLAS — With only 30 games remaining in the regular season, the Dallas Mavericks know its time to put up or shut up if they want to extend their incredible streak of advancing to the playoffs to 13 years in a row.The Mavericks (23-29) start the post-All-Star game version of their season four-and-a-half games behind the Houston Rockets (29-26) for the eighth and final postseason spot in the Western Conference.The urgency for the Mavericks needs to start immediately when they play their next game -- Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against the Orlando Magic at American Airlines Center.We know its turned into a short season, coach Rick Carlisle said after Mondays practice. Its 30 games in (57) days.Thats not a lot of time, and its a lot of games. Were anxious to get at it and were going to have to wait another day before we tee it up, but itll be here soon enough.Jordan applauds NowitzkiIn an ESPN The Magazine article last week, Michael Jordan said the only players in todays era who would have been successful in his era are Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki.Obviously, Nowitzki read the article and was taken aback by Jordans comments."For him to even know my name is crazy, to be honest, Nowitzki said. "For him to say that I could have been a good player then means a lot -- its humbling."Its been great, its been a crazy ride over 15 years and its great to get respect from the greatest of all-time.Jordan said different rules and tougher competition is why he thinks most of todays players would have been a failure in his era.Nowitzki, meanwhile, grew up in Germany a huge fan of Jordans and a huge fan of the Chicago Bulls. So, to have his idol heap mega-praise on him was somewhat overwhelming for the Mavs 11-time All-Star."Everybody knows (Jordan is) the greatest of all time, Nowitzki said. "Just him saying my name feels already weird."For him to use me in a sentence with those other guys, obviously that means a lot for sure.Kaman still not ready to playAlthough he went through non-contact drills Monday, center Chris Kaman still isnt ready to play in a real basketball game.Kaman hasnt played since he suffered a concussion during a Jan. 28 practice session. But getting back on the court for the first time since the concussion is considered progress, although Kaman isnt sure when hell be able to play again.Im just happy to be able to get back on the court with my team and be able to do something, Kaman said. Ive been just kind of in limbo waiting for the last three weeks trying to figure out what Im going to do and when Im going to be able to do it.Ive got a little bit of a headache, so its like still three weeks in a row, but its not enough to where at this point its slowing me down. I still got to be careful before Im going to go out and play again, but right now I feel pretty good. Ive got to see how it feels (today), then try to ramp it up a little more (today), maybe get some contact in practice and then go from there.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760