Berlin rolled out the red carpet this past week for Dirk Nowitzki and his Dallas Mavericks teammates.
Nowitzki just wished they could have rolled out that carpet a few days earlier.
The Mavs left Dallas on Wednesday for the long flight to Berlin, where they nipped Alba Berlin 89-84 Saturday in their preseason opener. But the time spent in Berlin, according to Nowitzki, was just too short.
"Normally we should have arrived here on Saturday, then we would have had a whole week for training and my schedule would have been a lot less tight," Nowitzki said. "But because of the restrictions and time, the boys hardly had any time to look out in the city to do some sightseeing, which is a shame.
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"It has been a very hard time here because of the schedule. Until you get used to the jet lag you're almost headed back home, but I think it has been worth it."
Born in Germany, Nowitzki was the centerpiece of many of the Mavs' functions in his homeland. The attention and the fuss made over him meant a lot to Nowitzki.
"The hype has certainly been great," Nowitzki said. "It was a lot of fun and it was great to see that people were so happy to see the Mavericks win.
"The atmosphere was great -- all the people waiting in front of the hotel. The hotel even rolled out the red carpet. But in the end, three days has just been too short."
The Mavs looked rusty against Alba Berlin, as evidenced by their 27 turnovers.
Nowitzki, who was just 3 of 9 from the field and finished with only eight points in 34 minutes, even smiled at his own misfortune after he missed an uncontested breakaway dunk attempt.
"I'm not quite sure what happened," Nowitzki said. "I probably should have taken off on my left leg and not my other leg, but I guess I should have just made a layup instead of trying to dunk.
"I guess I'm a little too old to dunk. I guess I should have just gone with a nice little finger roll and ran back on defense."
Berlin is seven hours ahead of the time in Fort Worth.
Thus, Nowitzki believes a lot of the mistakes the Mavs made were a result of the players trying to get used to the time change.
"We had some problems with coordination," Nowitzki said. "We made some very easy mistakes. Sometimes the ball didn't even reach the cylinder, so there's a lot of work ahead of us.
"But you have to take into consideration that we were just training for one week."
The Mavs left Sunday for Barcelona, Spain, where they will play their second preseason game against FC Barcelona Regal at 2 p.m. CDT on Tuesday.
Owner Mark Cuban had been against the NBA taking the Mavs overseas if for no other reason than it tinkers with the team's rhythm, and it takes time for them to recover once they return to the U.S.
"He brought his entire family, and his wife is here and his kids are here and they also did some sightseeing, so I suppose they've had a good trip," Nowitzki said of Cuban. "I think he was always worried because it is a long flight and you have the jet lag and you might think that it might be more efficient to train at home.
"But I'm quite happy that in my 15th year we finally managed to come over."
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760