Dallas Mavericks

Carlisle looks for bounce in Nowitzki’s step

DALLAS – Some things about Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki that his coach just never notices.

"I don’t notice that he’s not in normal form,’’ Carlisle said after Friday’s 97-89 win over the Denver Nuggets at American Airlines Center. "I don’t necessarily look at whether every shot is going in.

"I’m looking at the bounce in his step, the quality of the looks and stuff like that. If you’re looking for a slump story, I’m not going to feed it tonight.’’

Nowitzki was in rare form Friday as he converted 4-of-5 shots form 3-point enrage and moved past Mike Bibby and into 22nd place on the NBA’s all-time list for 3-pointers made with 1,520.

Nowitzki scored the Mavs’ first 10 points of the game as Dallas raced to a 10-2 lead and led from wire-to-wire.

"I started really strong and then faded away really strong after that, but I had a good rhythm,’’ Nowitzki said. "We got some stops, in transition they had some trouble finding us, and I was able to knock some shots down.’’

The Mavs didn’t play Nowitzki in Wednesday’s 114-107 loss in Denver, because he played 38 minutes during Tuesday’s 108-104 overtime win in Sacramento. But with fresher legs and two days without a game or a practice, Nowitzki was totally energized and the Nuggets wound up getting victimized by his mere presence.

Meanwhile, the Mavs played Denver to a 52-52 standstill in the rebounding battle after getting walloped in that department by 12 on Wednesday.

"The ball was moving great early in the game and then we got a little careless with the ball,’’ Carlisle said. "The important thing was that we got the win.

"We had a great start and in the first half I thought we had some uncharacteristic bad turnovers that hurt when we had a chance to really build a good lead. They hung around and they made it difficult.’’

The victory pushed the Mavs to 28-13 at the halfway point of the season. And it gave them eight wins in their last 11 games going into Monday’s 4 p.m. game in Memphis.

"I knew there were going to be a lot of ‘Hey, halfway point story questions,’ ‘’ Carlisle said. "It’s just day-to-day in this league.

"There were some frustrating stretches but everybody played through it. The important thing is we won the game, which we really needed coming off of losing three out of four.’’