Nowitzki fined $15,000 for flagrant foul on Gasol
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 Replays clearly showed that he got the ball, an indication he wasn't merely going at Gasol, and the league has since rescinded it.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 suspension.
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 after that."
Johnson gave players Tuesday off to relax knowing there would be a long time before they play again, but had them back at work Wednesday afternoon.
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."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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