March 22, 2013
Mike James has taken more shots than Dirk Nowitzki in two of the Dallas Mavericks' last three games, both losses.
That's 37-year-old Mikes James, who hasn't averaged nine points per game in the last six years. Nowitzki has averaged more than 16 points per game in each of the last 14 years.
But Nowitzki has been deferring lately to teammates like James.
In his last three games, Nowitzki has taken 10, 11 and 10 shots. He hasn't played so many minutes (100) in a three-game stretch while taking so few shots since 2000.
Nowitzki isn't shooting poorly, either, going 8-of-10, 7-of-11 and 8-of-10.
So, what's the deal? Nowitzki, via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:
"They don't leave me much anymore," Nowitzki said of opponents. "Then it's up to the guys to make plays. It's as simple as that. I can't wrestle every time getting the ball. You can't do that for 48 minutes. I've got to pick my spots.
"I'm going to keep picking my spots and be aggressive when I need to."
The Mavericks are 3.5 games out of the playoffs with 14 games left. If there were a time they need Nowitzki to be aggressive, it's now – unless they're over this season and content to add a lottery pick and use their cap space this summer.