UPDATE: Dirk IN Tonight For Mavs

The Mavs waited on some good news regarding Dirk having rolled his ankle ... and it comes now. Just before gametime, Dallas is announcing that Nowitzki is available. Nevertheless, it now faces the difficult evening news regarding the roll that Blake Griffin is on. We take you Inside Shootaround as the teams prepare for tonight's Clippers-at-Mavs meeting ...



DIRK'S ROLL ...

The Dallas Mavericks continued to hope for good news regarding Dirk Nowitzki having rolled his ankle right up until tipoff. That news is positive; it was just announced that The Uberman will indeed participate tonight. And now the Mavs turn to the difficult challenge of slowing the roll that Blake Griffin is on.

"Well, it was obvious that I wasn't moving well," said Nowitzki on Wednesday after scoring nine points on a bad ankle in the New Year's Day win at Washington. "I didn't get any elevation on my jumper, but I was an expensive decoy and I was trying to just spread the floor for the guys."

And today?

The "game-time decision'' has been decided and Dirk is active.

This is an upgrade from the cautiously optimistic coach visit from earlier today.

"He's doing OK,'' Carlisle said after the shootaround on the AAC's main floor. "He rode the bike during shootaround, so we'll see. ... I don't think there's any swelling. ... He'll be a game-time decision.

Here's the full Rick Carlisle audio from after shootaround, with Dirk Talk and more:



The Uberman is averaging a team-leading 20.9 points despite failing to reach double-figures for the first time in 35 games in the win at D.C. ... but as he walked off the floor this morning (just a bit earlier than the rest of his mates) he did so with a smile and without a limp. … and now we get to keep smiling.


DIRK'S ROLL ...

The Dallas Mavericks continue to hope for good news regarding Dirk Nowitzki having rolled his ankle ... and now face the difficult challenge of slowing the roll that Blake Griffin is on.

"Well, it was obvious that I wasn't moving well," said Nowitzki on Wednesday after scoring nine points on a bad ankle in the New Year's Day win at Washington. "I didn't get any elevation on my jumper, but I was an expensive decoy and I was trying to just spread the floor for the guys."

And today?


"He's doing OK,'' coach Rick Carlisle said after the shootaround on the AAC's main floor. "He rode the bike during shootaround, so we'll see. ... I don't think there's any swelling. ... He'll be a game-time decision.

Here's the full Rick Carlisle audio from after shootaround, with Dirk Talk and more:



The Uberman is averaging a team-leading 20.9 points despite failing to reach double-figures for the first time in 35 games in the win at D.C. ... but as he walked off the floor (just a bit earlier than the rest of his mates) he did so with a smile and without a limp.

"We're a team that's big on balance,'' Carlisle said. "We haven't set this thing up so that we're saying Dirk's got to get 25 a night. If we did that it'd be very hard on him. We've got a roster that's got a lot of depth and we've got to get a lot of guys involved.''

And now the rest of MavsLand gets to smile, too, as it regards Dirk's availability.

BLAKE'S ROLL ...

Different sort of roll than Dirk's ankle variety. But an impressive one.

Griffin, the OU product, hadn't scored more than 30 points in a game this season until doing so four times in the last six outings, including three of the past four as he's averaged 30.3 points during that time.

"It's just been work," Griffin said yesterday. "Working with our shooting coach, working over the summer, the work I put in during the season, and it pays off eventually."

Said Rick: "He's a super-strong, super-athletic guy who can put the ball on the floor and make a lot of things happen. ... We've got to try to take the lob dunks out of the game because those are the ones that get you. ... He's one of those 'kitchen-sink' situations. You've got to throw everything at him. And we will.''

STAYING HOT ...

The Mavericks are 19-13 and are coming off a perfecto roadie, winning in Chicago, Minnesota and Washington. They've done it largely with defense, as we outline here.

"The whole road trip in seven days we were the No. 1 team in defense with teams scoring against us, so we know we're capable of doing it," Jae Crowder explained. "We've just got to put it together every night. First, make it a priority, like we have been doing, and put it to work on the court."

Added Carlisle: "We've just got to play whistle-to-whistle, we've got to play efficiently and we've got to defend and rebound. You know, the last week we've really done good things defensively and we've just now got to look to sustain that."

also being sustained: The cleverness of the Mavs creative staff, the latest example being this "Anchorman'' parody:



MONTA & JAE'S WORK/RICK'S SCREENS ...

The last two Mavs on the floor today were Monta Ellis and Jae Crowder. Part of the time was spent debating what constitutes traveling on a step-back jumper. But they also did a lot of serious work on shooting off of screens -- with coach Carlisle putting in time as the pick-setter, and you can see in this video here on our DB.com Facebook Page.

THE DYNAMIC PAUL ...

The Clippers are 22-12 after taking a late-December dip, when they lost three of four to close the old year. They won in blowout fashion over Charlotte on Wednesday.

As stellar as Griffin as been, the Clippers centerpiece is Chris Paul, the dynamic point guard who the Mavs have long coveted. He of course bowed out of free agency almost before it began last summer, opting to re-up with L.A.

"There's a lot of problems you've got to deal with with these guys,'' said Carlisle, adding, "(Paul) is as good as there is at the point position.''

A TRAP GAME? ...

OK, maybe that's wishful thinking on my part. But the Clippers are on the first night of a back-to-back in Dallas, as they play at San Antonio on Saturday.

"It's great," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said of the challenge. "I think it's something we should really have some fun with. Two really good teams, two really good teams at home, too. Dallas is tough at home and San Antonio's just good all the time. So, I think it should be a trip that we go out looking forward to."
Smile
Personally, I'm so hoping they "look forward to the Spurs'' that they overlook this one.

MAVSELLANEOUS ...

Coop notes that for the first time all year, the Mavs have slipped from the top 10 in scoring in the NBA (though it's just down to 11th)... The Clippers have lost their last two road games and are just 8-9 on the road this season ... Dirk has missed his last eight 3-point attempts ...Dirk needs four steals to become the second player in Mavs history to record 1,000 steals for the franchise. Derek Harper is the leader with 1,551 steals. ... With the GAMETHREAD and more, Mavs fans Chat it up all day and night here on DB.com Boards!

INJURY UPDATE ...

"I would say he's getting closer, but I don't know how close.'' - Carlisle on Devin Harris, who attended the workout but has yet to play this season due to toe surgery.

THE FINAL WORD ...

I asked Rick if he sees any significance, any commonn thread, in the fact the Clippers have lost 11 of 12 in Dallas.

"I watched our game with them last year and watched their recent games,'' he said. "That's all I'm looking at. But they're a much different team this year. Their personnel has changed a lot and they got a new coach, who is a great coach, so all that past-history stuff. I don't really look at that.''

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