The plan this year is for 38-year old Dirk Nowitzki to play between 25-29 minutes a game.
That didn’t go too well in the Dallas Mavericks’ season opener.
During Wednesday’s 130-121 overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers, Nowitzki logged 38 minutes. Of course, the overtime session played a role in the heavy minutes.
"He’s tired,’’ coach Rick Carlisle said after Thursday’s practice. "We’ve got some guys that frankly were stretched longer than we wanted to.
"But that’s what happens in overtime games. It’s unavoidable, and we had a chance in overtime, too, so today we’ve got to recover, we’ve got to regroup and get ready for a dynamic Houston team tomorrow.’’
In addition to the high minutes by Nowitzki, guards Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews each played 40 minutes, guard J. J. Barea came off the bench and contributed 39 minutes, and small forward Harrison Barnes chipped in with 35 minutes.
The Mavericks know they must lower players’ minutes and also do a better job protecting the ball when they host the Houston Rockets at 7:30 p.m. Friday at American Airlines Center.
"We’ve got to start with better defense, better efficiency with the ball,’’ Carlisle said. "The early turnovers (at Indiana) got us in a hole, so we’re going to have to do better there, and we just got to keep working on it.
"There’s nothing easy about this league when it comes to anything. It’s just going to be more work. We just got to keep chipping away.’’
And keep chipping away at keeping Nowitzki’s minutes under 30 per game.