Woman living in Dirk's house arrested
DALLAS -- After acknowledging that he's "going through a tough time in my personal life right now," Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki insisted Thursday that his teammates needn't worry about the arrest of a woman at his home affecting his performance for the rest of the Mavericks' second-round series with the Denver Nuggets.
"They know I'm a warrior," Nowitzki said after completing his first practice since the arrest. "I'll be ready to play."
Game 3 is Saturday at American Airlines Center.
On Wednesday morning, while the Mavericks were flying back from Denver after a Game 2 loss that dropped them into a 2-0 series hole, Dallas police officers went to Nowitzki's house to arrest Cristal Taylor after confirming the existence of warrants for her arrest in Texas and Missouri, according to Dallas Police Department spokesman Lt. Andrew Harvey.
Sources close to the situation confirmed to ESPN.com the warrants were discovered when Nowitzki's team of legal advisers hired a private investigator to research Taylor's background, amid growing concern among those closest to the player inside and outside the Mavericks' organization. Two Dallas television stations (KXTA-TV and WFAA-TV) have reported Taylor to be Nowitzki's fiancée.
"We're down 0-2," Nowitzki said, "and I'm trying to focus on basketball as much as I can."
Multiple team sources expressed confidence Thursday that Nowitzki will find a way to maintain his focus through the distractions, pointing to the fact that the 30-year-old has been the Mavericks' only rock in this series in spite of the mounting turmoil in his life off the court. In two games against the Nuggets, Nowitzki is averaging 31.5 points and 9.5 rebounds and shooting 54.8 percent from the floor.
"Like I always have, I want to kind of keep my private life private," Nowitzki said. "I really am not at the stage where I can talk about it yet and feel comfortable talking about it. So I'm more than happy to answer basketball questions, but I think at this point, I just can't talk about it."
Taylor was still in Dallas County Jail on Thursday on $20,000 bond after being taken into custody on warrants accusing her of violating a probation sentence for two counts of forgery and one count of felony stealing in Missouri and a theft-of-service charge for failing to pay for an estimated $10,000 in dental work in Beaumont, Texas.
She was booked into jail Wednesday as Cristal Taylor, but authorities in both states have linked numerous aliases to the 37-year-old, including Crystal Ann Taylor, Christian Julie Wellington, Christian B. Travino, Crystal Nobles, Christy Nobles, Kristi Briana Westerhauf, Cristal Taylor Westerhaus, Christa A. Westerhays, Deborah Jackson, Shana Mancini, Crista Santiago, Crystal Ann Santiago, Crystall Ann Taylor and Kristin L. Rogers.
When pressed about the nature of his relationship with Taylor, after talking to reporters for some seven minutes, Nowitzki said three times that he would not comment further and asked if there were any more "basketball questions" before the interview was halted.
"This is a private, personal issue and I think we all need to respect that and not ask questions about it," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. "I think that's the right thing to do at this time."
Said Mavericks guard Jason Kidd, who has played through off-court dramas of his own during a highly successful 15-year career: "Everybody is distracted every day by something. ... There's always distractions, but we're professionals and we can all handle it.
Kidd said Nowitzki didn't address the team before Thursday's practice but expressed confidence that the All-Star forward is "going to be great" when the Mavs try Saturday to get back into the series after two double-digit defeats in Denver.
"He's a human being," Kidd said. "Life isn't perfect. You move on and you learn from it. ...We look for him to have a great game come Saturday."
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.