Nowitzki well enough to lead Mavericks


Feeling better after persevering through Game 4

DALLAS – Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki went home from his latest dramatic performance in the NBA finals – Tuesday’s Game 4 victory over the Miami Heat to tie the series at 2-2 – took a shower then slurped some chicken soup and hot tea.

After a good night’s rest, he came to practice Wednesday still dealing with a slight temperature and the sniffles.

With only two or three games left this postseason, Nowitzki figures he will soon have plenty of time to deal with a sinus infection and everything else that ails him.

“At this stage, after playing eight, nine months on a high level … nobody is completely healthy,” Nowitzki said. “So it’s time to fight through some stuff.”

The morning of Game 4, he showed up for a shootaround “looking like a ghost,” said Donnie Nelson, the team’s president of basketball operations. Club officials sent him to the locker room, then to his house with all sorts of medicine.

Before the game, no one knew what to expect.

Of course, Nowitzki was going to try playing. But how long would he last? How good would he be?

During the game he was wheezing, coughing and doing all he could to fight the effects of a 101-degree fever.

Nowitzki scored 10 of his 21 points and grabbed five of his 11 rebounds while the Mavs pulled off another late comeback, erasing a nine-point deficit with 10:12 left. This rally gave them a 86-83 win and kept them from falling into the black hole of a 3-1 deficit, instead putting them right back in the thick of things at 2-2.

Game 5 is today in Dallas (ABC, 6 p.m.)

Game 1Heat 92, Mavs 84
Game 2Mavs 95, Heat 93
Game 3Heat 88, Mavs 86
Game 4Mavs 86, Heat 83
Series tied 2-2
TonightHeat at Mavs, 6
SundayMavs at Heat, 5
Tuesday*Mavs at Heat, 6


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