DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks returned to practice
Wednesday with some good news from their training room and some bad
news from the league office.
The NBA announced Wednesday that it was fining Dirk Nowitzki
$15,000 and slapping him with a flagrant foul penalty two for a
play against Memphis' Pau Gasol midway through the second quarter
of Dallas' 102-76 victory Monday night that wrapped up a sweep of
the first-round series.
Although only a personal foul was called at the time, the league
reviewed the play and punished Nowitzki for "making unnecessary
and excessive contact."
Nowitzki was called for a flagrant foul penalty one when he
tried stopping Gasol on a drive with a minute left in overtime of
Game 3. Replays clearly showed that he got the ball, an indication
he wasn't merely going at Gasol, and the league has since rescinded
it. That's important because flagrant points can add up to a
Meanwhile, Keith Van Horn had his broken right hand examined by doctors and
was given permission to begin shooting and non-contact workouts.
He's been sidelined since March 31 and is likely to need at least a
week to 10 days before he'll be ready to play again.
Also Wednesday, Marquis Daniels went through practice after
missing Game 4 against Memphis with a hamstring injury and Devin Harris' ailing quadriceps held up fine after his longest outing in
more than a month.
"Devin took a step forward in Game 4," Dallas coach Avery
Johnson said. "His recovery has been really good. We'll really put
him through the ringer in practice tomorrow and see where he is
Johnson gave players Tuesday off to relax knowing there would be
a long time before they play again, but had them back at work
The Mavs won't play again until Sunday at the soonest. They also
don't know whether they'll be playing San Antonio or Sacramento.
The Spurs lead that series 3-2 going into Game 6 on Friday night.
"It's going to be a tough opponent no matter who we play,"
Johnson said. "Right now, we're getting ready for both."
Johnson praised his team for going 4-0 against the Grizzlies,
but he also pointed out mistakes they made along the way.
"Our message today was that we were not flawless in the Memphis
series," he said. "We still have some areas that we need to
continue to improve in. Now, a lot of those things that we've been
talking about the whole series came together in Game 4, but they
were not there in Games 1 and 2."
His message is already getting through to Nowitzki.
"We can't let the first round fool us," he said. "We haven't
really accomplished anything. We have higher goals. We've got to
keep working and improving."