Nowitzki cites accountability after loss

Updated: February 6, 2010, 12:37 AM ET
By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki made the decision to bench himself for the beginning of the Dallas Mavericks' loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves because he wanted to be accountable after showing up late to Friday's pregame shootaround.

The Mavericks did not have a morning shootaround and Nowitzki forgot that one was scheduled for 5 p.m. He did not arrive at the American Airlines Center until about 25 minutes later.

"I actually made that decision," said Nowitzki, who came to the arena to shoot on his own in the morning. "We all [have] got to be accountable. I made a mistake and thought it was regular game time, so I wanted to show up at 6. I was almost 30 minutes late.

"That was a distraction. That was my fault. I've got to take it like a man."

The last time Nowitzki did not start a game in which he played was a loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Dec. 14, 1999.

Coach Rick Carlisle said he respected and agreed with Nowitzki's decision.

"It sends the right message to everybody about the importance of accountability," Carlisle told ESPN Dallas.

Nowitzki, the Mavericks' only All-Star representative, had 21 points and eight rebounds in 37 minutes off the bench. But he committed a costly foul as Corey Brewer was shooting a 3-pointer late in the game, sparking Minnesota's run to end the game, which was the Mavericks' fourth loss in five games.

"When you get guys coming in late, those things tend to throw things out of whack," Carlisle said. "That's just the way it is in this league. He knew he was wrong."

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.

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