Dallas Mavericks

Rest days for Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki may be hurting his shooting

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, shoots over Golden State’s Brandon Rush on March 18 at American Airlines Center. He scored 24 points in that game, but has struggled to find his shooting touch since sitting out against the Warriors on March 25.
Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, right, shoots over Golden State’s Brandon Rush on March 18 at American Airlines Center. He scored 24 points in that game, but has struggled to find his shooting touch since sitting out against the Warriors on March 25. Special to the Star-Telegram

There are some obvious reasons why coaches sit their star players and give them rest at various times during the season.

Whatever the reason as it pertains to Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, it doesn’t seem to be working.

Before sitting out Friday against the Golden State Warriors, Nowitzki had gone nine consecutive games scoring at least 20 points a game. That includes two 30-point games and a season-high 40 points in a victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

In another game against the Blazers right before sitting out, Nowitzki scored 21 points on 9-of-16 shooting.

But in the three games after the rest break, , the 18-year veteran was 6 of 15 from the floor with 14 points against Sacramento, 4 of 17 from the field with 10 points against Denver, and 5 of 23 from the floor with 11 points in Wednesday’s 91-89 win over the New York Knicks.

It’s a little odd. I was hot there for a second when we lost all the games and now I’m nine for [40 the last two games] and we’re 2-0. I’ll obviously take the two wins.

Dirk Nowitzki on his recent shooting slump

The shooting percentage Nowitzki had against the Knicks (21.7 percent) and Nuggets (23.5 percent) were his third and fourth worst of the season. And the shooting woes elicited talk of Nowitzki’s longtime coach and mentor, Holger Geschwindner, arriving from Germany any day now to help rectify the situation.

“I guess I’ll get a call from Holger after going 9 for [40] the last two games,” Nowitzki said. “Plus, it’s April anyway, so he’s probably going to come in next week.”

The best Nowitzki has shot from the field in the seven games after having sat out is the 6-of-13 performance he had against Brooklyn on Jan. 29.

“It’s a little odd,” Nowitzki said. “I was hot there for a second when we lost all the games and now I’m 9 for [40 the last two games] and we’re 2-0. I’ll obviously take the two wins.”

Nowitzki would take another win when the Mavericks (37-38) face the Detroit Pistons (40-35) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

No one in the Mavericks’ organization is prepared to say there’s a direct correlation between the rest Nowitzki gets and his shooting slump.

Obviously now I’m going through a down phase but, hey, I’ve got to keep plugging.

Dirk Nowitzki

“His shots are on line and they’re back rim,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s not like he’s shooting them short. The ones he’s shooting short are the ones where they’re fouling him and they’re not calling it. You would shoot them short, too, in those situations.”

While the foul theory might have some validity, Nowitzki said that’s not the root of the issues he’s having on games after he’s rested.

“I had some great looks that I’ll probably take any other night again,” Nowitzki said of his showing against the Knicks. “I shot actually [two] free throws the last two games, but it’s not like I’m a great driver right now. I’ve just got to keep fighting for these positions and get some good looks. The guys keep looking for me and I’m going to keep stepping into them.”

Nowitzki missed 18 shots against the Knicks. He had missed only 17 in the two games against Portland when he was 25 of 42 from the field with 61 points.

In the nine games before he didn’t play against the Warriors, Nowitzki was 89 of 163 from the field for 54.6 percent, and 20 of 48 from 3-point range for 41.7 percent. He averaged a healthy 26.1 points.

In the three games since that rest, he’s 15 of 55 from the field for 27.3 percent, and 3 of 15 from 3-point range for 20 percent and averaging 11.7 points.

“Obviously now I’m going through a down phase but, hey, I’ve got to keep plugging,” Nowitzki said. “At this point there’s not much you can do but keep grinding and eventually, hopefully, it’ll get a little better again.”

The Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, along with American Airlines Center executive chef Mark Mabry and teammate Justin Anderson, introduces the Dirkburger, available through March at the AAC. (Star-Telegram video by Robert Philpot)

Sarah and her boyfriend made the 16 hour trip from Germany just to watch Dirk and the Mavs.

Dirk after rest

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki has missed seven games this season. His shooting performances in the games after he returned to the lineup:

Date

Opponent

FG M-A

Nov. 16

Philadelphia

6-16

Jan. 8

Milwaukee

6-17

Jan. 15

Chicago

6-15

Jan. 22

Oklahoma City

6-15

Jan. 29

Brooklyn

6-13

Feb. 1

Atlanta

4-11

Mar. 27

Sacramento

6-15

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