Dallas Mavericks

Nowitzki bullish on Mavericks’ potential, but a couple losses sting

Dirk Nowitzki says “you’re always mad at” losses such as Sunday’s to Russell Westbrook and the Thunder.
Dirk Nowitzki says “you’re always mad at” losses such as Sunday’s to Russell Westbrook and the Thunder. AP

Once the Dallas Mavericks get all of their players completely healthy and off minutes restrictions, Dirk Nowitzki is expecting some great things.

“I like the potential of it,” the Mavs’ 18-year veteran power forward said. “We’re a veteran team that has no egos that wants to win.

“I like how we’re playing together. I like the way the team is looking, but we have a long way to go.”

Despite off-season surgeries for small forward Chandler Parsons and shooting guard Wesley Matthews that slowed their progress in training camp, the Mavs entered Tuesday’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies with a 9-5 record. That was light years ahead of where the experts figured the Mavs would be at this juncture.

If you would have told me after that training camp we had that we’d been sitting here 9-5, I would have taken it for sure. Now, the ones we did lose you’re always mad at them because you always feel like we should have won.

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki

Still, Nowitzki knows the Mavs lost a 120-105 game in New Orleans on Nov. 10 when superstar Anthony Davis sat out the second half with an injury. And they dropped a 117-114 decision in Oklahoma City on Sunday, which Thunder superstar Kevin Durant sat out with an injury.

“If you would have told me after that training camp we had that we’d been sitting here 9-5, I would have taken it for sure,” Nowitzki said. “Now, the ones we did lose you’re always mad at them because you always feel like we should have won.

“We should have won at the Pelicans without Anthony Davis, and we should have won the other night without KD. But that’s not how this league works. You’re going to lose some games, and you hopefully are going to win more of your fair share than you lose.”

Canales praises UTA

Mavs assistant coach Kaleb Canales did everything but shake a few pom poms after UT Arlington upset the Memphis Tigers 68-64 on Monday night at the FedEx Forum.

The victory came three days after UTA went to Ohio State and upset the Buckeyes 73-68.

Canales graduated from UTA with a degree in kinesiology, and also was an assistant coach there during the 2003-04 season. After attending Monday’s game, he sees a bright future for UTA, which is coached by Scott Cross.

Kaleb Canales joined the Mavericks before the 2014-15 season after nine years with the Trail Blazers, including a stint as interim coach in 2012

“I really think coach Cross’ efforts throughout the last couple of years have kind of brought them up to this point, and I think the Memphis win makes the Ohio State win look sweeter and a little better,” Canales said. “To win two games like that on the road against high-level teams is very impressive.

“I really believe that they’ve kind of been working for this moment — it’s been years in the making. Coach Cross and his staff have done a wonderful job of recruiting, and just getting two big-time wins like that on the road, I think, it’s a big statement of where that team is.”

Thanksgiving plans

After playing Tuesday in Memphis and Wednesday in San Antonio, the Mavs will take Thanksgiving off before resuming practice Friday in preparation for Saturday’s home game against Denver.

Small forward Chandler Parsons said he plans to attend Thursday’s NFL game in Arlington between the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers.

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

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