Dallas Mavericks

Nowitzki was off for “two games”

CHICAGO – One night after Dirk Nowitzki struggled Friday night against Toronto, the Dallas Mavericks’ 12-time All-Star received some much needed rest when he sat out Saturday’s game in Philadelphia.

But after Monday’s practice at the Quest Multisport Complex, even Nowitzki saw the humor in the 6-of-19 shooting he turned in during the 106-102 win against the Raptors.

"We had that (rest planned for the Philadelphia game) penciled in, and I’m glad the guys pulled it out,’’ Nowitzki said. "But looking at the Toronto game, I wasn’t much of a help anyway.

"So the boys were killing me and said I had two nights off in a row, so I should be ready to go tomorrow.’’

Nowitzki will be back in the starting lineup Tuesday at 7 when the Mavs (13-5) play the Chicago Bulls (11-6) at the United Center in the third game of this four-game road trip.

Meanwhile, Nowitzki has no idea if the Mavs plan on sitting him every 18 games so he can re-charge his batteries. He said the demands of the schedule, including getting out of Toronto late Friday night and into Philadelphia early Saturday morning, demanded that some necessary steps needed to be taken to protect his welfare.

"That one was just because really we played every other day for a long time,’’ Nowitzki said. "We had some back-to-backs mixed in there, and we had a lot of flying with going to Toronto and the late night from Toronto with the customs and stuff.

"So we knew that one was going to be a tough one with (the Sixers’) style of play with a lot of small guys moving around is not my style anyway.’’

The rest came at a grand time for Nowitzki, since the Bulls have some physical frontline players in Joakim Noah , Pau Gasol, Taj Gibson and Nazr Mohammed.

"It’s been a lot of games,’’ Nowitzki said. "I think after the Philly game we might have had the most games in the Western Conference.’’

And that’s one of the reasons Nowitzki was in street clothes during the game against Philadelphia.