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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Dirk has had a first-rate career and any objective assessment of what he has done in the NBA would confirm that. Any time anyone can lead the NBA in scoring they must be an accomplished athlete. However when I was asked about him I was contrasting his career as a front court player with other power-forwards like Gus Johnson and Karl Malone. Players who had an effect in many aspects of the game at the offensive and defensive ends of the court.
The Dallas Mavericks played their 54th game Tuesday night and Dirk Nowitzki’s 37-year-old legs feel it. He’s ready to head into the NBA’s new extended All-Star break that won’t put the Mavs back on the floor until Feb. 19. He’s feeling the effects of having “paid for it,” meaning the long break with 18 games in January and a stretch that included 19 games in 32 days. “This is definitely the longest break that I’ve ever seen in my 18 years,” Nowitzki said after Tuesday’s 121-119 overtime loss to the Utah Jazz. “We paid for it here in January, early February, with the schedule, I’ve never seen anything like it, whatever, 18, 19 games in January and then coming out in February with five games in seven nights, so it’s been a beast, so we earned a few days off.”
Wesley Matthews on sitting significant stretches of crunch time in the last two games: “Yeah, I was frustrated. I’ve never been taken out of a game in crunch time. I haven’t. That’s new to me. I’ve always been especially a crunch-time player, so I don’t know. It is what it is. I control what I can control. & I want to win games. I want to win games. I know I can be on the court to do that, but if that’s his decision not to have me out there, that’s his decision. I’ve got to be a team player, be a man about it, be professional about it and cheer my ass off and be ready.”