If there’s one thing Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle has seen Dirk Nowitzki do, it’s pour in a bunch of mid-range jumpers.
“He’s shot millions of them in practice, in secluded gyms in the middle of nowhere in some secure places in Germany,” Carlisle said. “I’ve been to a couple of them — they are secure.
“He’s in here at night. [Monday] night he was here.”
All those late-night shooting expeditions have paid off for Nowitzki, who scored 19 points Tuesday night to move past Jerry West and into 16th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. It took West 14 seasons to tally 25,192 points, and Nowitzki is eight games into his 16th season and now has 25,197 points.
For Carlisle, it’s been a treat to have a courtside seat for many of Nowitzki’s accomplishments.
“Of all the players I’ve been around in 30 years, whenever we’ve been in the playoffs, whether it’s home or road, [Nowitzki] comes in the night before games. He goes to the venues and he shoots,” Carlisle said. “It’s religion for him to work on it and to be efficient at it.”
It’s an even greater achievement because the NBA thought so highly of West that his silhouette is incorporated into the league’s logo.
“Jerry West is one of the greatest guys in the history of the game, so it’s very significant,” Carlisle said. “It speaks to longevity, commitment to excellence and how hard he’s worked really.”
Harris back next month
Devin Harris said he expects to be playing for the first time this season in mid-December.
The 6-foot-3 guard underwent toe surgery on his left foot in August, and the Mavs have been cautious with his recovery.
“It hasn’t been in pain for quite some time now,” Harris said. “We’re just taking it slow.”
Harris has increased his workload to the point where he’s jogging on the treadmill and doing side-to-side exercises. But he’s not running on the court yet.
In the meantime, Harris is closely watching games and analyzing where he can help once he returns.
“First, I’ll just increase the pace, try to get easy baskets and play a lot in transition,” Harris said. “Obviously, defensively guarding some of the quicker guys, some of the better scorers.
“Obviously we have a plan. So we’ve got to stay to it as much as possible.”
Blair a treasure
He was cast aside by the San Antonio Spurs last season, relegated to the far end of the bench. But backup center DeJuan Blair has turned in to quite an off-season find.
Now in his fifth season, Blair ranks fifth in the NBA in steals with 2.4 per game. Not bad for someone who only plays 20 minutes a night.
On his plight of going from the Spurs to signing a one-year, $884,293 contract with the Mavs, Blair said: “Another man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”