Hallelujah, Nowitzki's back! And . . . gets himself an early dismissal. Double T after a wrasslin match with Zach Randolph early in the third. His return was about the opposite of what everyone had hoped for and assumed. In fact, if one peeks under the carnage of Memphis's 89-70 victory -- 32 percent shooting, Marion and Mahinmi the only ones in double figures, all but one guy with negative plus/minuses -- this looks an awful lot like Square One.
Dirk walking to the locker room-- what happened?
"He was complaining that they were holding him every time the ball was near him. So he got thrown out." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"I guess I didn't think it was a foul. So we talked about it and he tossed me." -Dirk Nowitzki
Okay, now about the game-- what happened?!?!?
"Without Nowitzki creating a lot of havoc, we were able to play compact and play our game, then close back out. We played solid defense, but I'm not going to stand here and say we shut down the Dallas Mavericks' 'A' game." -Coach Lionel Hollins
"We ran our offense, and we ran it fluently. We got people open, and we got them open at the right time. Guys got out there and made baskets." -Rudy Gay
"We battled, and we scrapped. We held them under ninety. We just really struggled to put the ball in the basket." -Coach Rick Carlisle
"We're not in rhythm right now. Blame it on whatever you want, but, like I said, it's up to us to get it done." -Jason Terry
Getting The UberMan back, and how it doesn't automatically make everything all better . . .
"This is the beginning of a process, as I said before the game. It's gonna take awhile . . . this'll be just a day to day thing as we go foward." -Coach Rick Carlisle
Hopefully the last we'll hear about Life Without Nowitzki, ever . . .
"It's been down the hill since we've had injuries. We've pretty much hit rock bottom . . . Obviously, it's tough times right now. We've lost five or eight out of the last 10, so that's never fun to go through. But you can only get better, get Tyson healthy and just keep playing hard." -Dirk Nowitzki.
About the knee . . .
"It's all right. It's not great. I don't think I can really move that much." -Dirk Nowizki
And the rest of him?
"I was running, I just couldn't really move much, but I think my lungs were decent, I wasn't too gassed. I just need to get the knee closer to 100 percent and then we'll be OK." -Dirk Nowitzki
In short . . .
"We just gotta keep battling. Everything's a real challenge right now, but we can't hang our heads. We gotta stay positive, stick together, and just keep fighting." -Coach Rick Carlisle
Message from the boss -- Mark Cuban via Twitter . . .
"hang in there Mavs fans, we WILL get it back on track. A lot of time to go..." -mcuban