Dallas Mavericks center Brandan Wright doesn’t take for granted the pleasure of playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki for the past two and a half seasons.
“It’s an honor,” Wright said. “You don’t get an opportunity to do that very often.
“Some guys play with bad teams their whole career and never get an opportunity to play with even a decent player. So to play with an All-Star and one of the best players to ever play the game, that makes it easy for me.”
Nowitzki scored 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting in Friday’s win over the Philadelphia 76ers, and is only 170 points away from passing Hall of Famer John Havlicek for 12th place on the all-time scoring list.
Even at age 35, Nowitzki is getting the same double-team action from opponents that he received when he was 25.
“He’s a great player, and great players get that kind of attention,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Nowitzki. “He’s played very well all year.
“There was a certain point where he seemed to be getting more attention. But he’s been real good and he’s worked real hard to get back to this point after the knee scope last year.”
Nowitzki just played in his 12th All-Star game and leads the Mavs with 21.7 points per game.
“He’s doing everything he wants to do, plus more,” Wright said. “He’s feeling it, he’s been pretty much injury-free this year and we hope we can keep it that way.
“He’s really hitting his stride and he’s playing really, really well, and it’s going to drive us to the playoffs.”
After more than six months since having surgery on his left foot, Devin Harris said he is finally 100 percent healthy.
“I’m perfect,” Harris said Friday. “I’m right where I want to be.”
Harris said the pain in his foot has subsided, and his conditioning is where he wants it to be.
“I can give them 35 [minutes],” said Harris, who missed the first 41 games this season. “Everything’s good. It’s all positive. I’m right where I want to be, so it’s fun.”
Harris has given the Mavs an added dimension in the backcourt to where they can use any two-man combination of him, Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon and not miss much.
Brandan Wright can relate to the injury which sidelined Harris. Wright missed the first 23 games this season with a non-displaced fracture to his left shoulder.
“I know how it is to sit out for an extensive amount of time,” Wright said. “His [time off] was even longer, but you try to get yourself going.
“It’s good to have him 100 percent. We’re going to need him.”
Carlisle not surprised
Thursday’s NBA trade deadline came and went, and coach Rick Carlisle believed it was a long shot that the Mavs were going to be able to pull off a deal.
“I didn’t expect that we were going to do anything,” Carlisle said. “I knew it was a possibility, but unlikely that it was going to be any bombshell or anything like that.
“I’m happy with where we are and we’ve just got to keep working to get better.”