1. "I think we can take anybody on,'' Nowitzki said of the competition in the NBA for the 40-16 Dallas Mavericks. "We've played well so far against everybody. We've beat everybody so far. Beat the Lakers. Beat the Heat. Beat Orlando. Beat the Celtics twice. In the West, we've beat San Antonio. So we've basically beat all the good teams in the league.''
What Dirk didn't bother to mention (so we will): Dallas' record against what some would term "the best'' – San Antonio, Boston, Miami and LA – is 6-0 in games in which Nowitzki has played.
2. How is it that Dallas is even better than it was last season? A year ago at this time, the Mavs were giving up 99.6 points per game. Now they are down to 95.6. A year ago at this time, the Mavs were 35-21. Now they are five games better.
I think, really, our MVP has been Tyson Chandler,'' said Dirk, who spoke to the media and also participated in the NBA's Day of Service by doing landscaping at LA's Virgil Middle School. "The way he changed our culture defensively. He gets my MVP of the Mavericks for the first half of the season. He's been playing phenomenal."
3. And where does Dirk rank himself in the Team MVP race?
"I got to be in the top five,'' he joked. (Pssst: He's in the top one.)
4. Dirk's State of the Mavs Statement:
"We look like we're playing well,'' he said of his team, which went into the Break having won 13 of 14. "We feel like we're deep. We're veterans. We're
experienced. So we should be ready for a great second half of the season."
5. And what about a trade? Is Nowitzki anticipating a move from the organization that has pulled off two blockbusters at the last three deadlines?
"Actually, I'm not,'' he said in comments recorded by the Kamenetzky Bros. of LA. (Thanks, bros!) "But … you never know," Nowitzki said. "Mark and Donnie have always done a good job looking to make this organization better and the team better. I'm sure they're gonna look, but I think for the first time, we feel healthy.''