Dirk Nowitzki vs Nene
Nov 12, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Washington Wizards power forward Nene Hilario (42) guards Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeated the Wizards 105-95. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
The 17-year veteran Nowitzki just doesn’t appear to age.
The 2010-11 Finals MVP continues to be one of the most efficient players in the NBA. He leads Dallas in scoring at 19.6 points per game, just three points less than his 22.5 average for his career.
His shooting percentages are also at a career high, as he’s making 54.7 percent of his shots and 44.4 percent of his three pointers.
His teammates are following his lead, as the Mavericks are one of the best offensive teams in the league, averaging 109.3 points per game (1st in the NBA) and 24.4 assists per game (4th).
Nene’s numbers haven’t been what they were in recent past. The Brazilian is averaging just 12 points and five boards per game.
He’ll need to have his best game of the season tonight against a fellow international player.
Offensively, Wittman should try to make Nene the focal point early. Nene can back down Nowitzki on the block and set a physical tone against someone who prefers to play outside. Although Nowitzki has proven to be durable over his career, waring him down defensively can give him tired legs offensively, affecting his shot.
On the defensive side of the ball, Nene needs to keep a hand in Nowitzki’s face at all times. He has the wing span to affect Dirk’s shot. While it’s not a guarantee that a hand in the face will throw Nowitzki off his shot, you can’t give him any open look, or he’ll drain it as he’s proven in the past and so far this season.