Smack / Oct 7, 2012 / 12:00 am

Dirk Nowitzki Isn’t Ready To Retire; J.R. Smith Wants To Start

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki (photo. Nike Basketball)

Just as the halftime gymnasts in Dallas’ 89-84 preseason win over Alba Berlin went out to set world records (and they did – using a trampoline to dunk on a hoop from 25 feet away), the Mavs tried to set their own records during the opening minutes of their first preseason game of the season. Coughing up the ball more often than Mike Vick, Dallas was nearly on some type of record-setting turnover pace. They must’ve given up six or seven turnovers in the opening minutes (they had 10 after the first quarter), and almost all of them somehow involved Chris Kaman (14 points, six boards). Not a good sign. Whether it was Kaman going off the dribble and losing it or getting his shot blocked in transition, it looks like things haven’t changed with the NBA’s preeminent huntsman. Between O.J. Mayo and Kaman, the Mavs are going to give the ball away like they’re playing in a pickup game at West 4th this year … Late in the second quarter, Dirk Nowitzki bricked a wide-open breakaway layup, a play that was very reminiscent of Fab Melo and his airballed layup on Friday night. Dirk has the added excuse of preseason, but still, you never want to go home to Berlin for a preseason game and embarrass yourself like that. Nowitzki wasn’t exactly working up a sweat – he played 33 easy minutes and scored eight points – but he did at least look better than he did during last year’s preseason. Actually, Dirk feels so good he says he plans to play beyond the final two years on his current contract. There was some talk that Nowitzki had all but decided he’d hang ‘em up once this deal ended. Yet he told The Dallas Morning News that he hopes to play longer, and will, as long as it’s still fun and as long as his body doesn’t disintegrate. At 34, he can’t plan too far ahead. But Nowitzki feels good, and wants to finish strong … Great news for Dallas fans: Vince Carter (14 points) hit three of four spot-up triples in the first half. Bad news for Dallas fans: he spent the game chillin’ around the arc … One guy who did play really well for Dallas was Darren Collison (14 points, nine dimes). He made perimeter shots, ran the offense, and if it wasn’t for old UNC friend, Deon Thompson, who scored 20 points for Alba Berlin, DC would’ve looked like the best player on the floor for most of the game … In his quest to go from “beloved NBA player” to “annoying post-retirement celebrity,” Shaquille O’Neal recently went stupid on us by saying he preferred Brook Lopez AND Andrew Bynum to Dwight Howard. Never one to shy away from making crazy statements, Phil Jackson came through yesterday, and basically said on the “Waddle and Silvy Show” on ESPN 1000 in Chicago that his former big man needs to settle down. Jackson admitted that Lopez and Bynum both have good scoring touches, and that there is “a lot to” what Shaq said because Howard isn’t the typical go-to option in the post. But Zen felt the difference was Howard’s overall game: his shotblocking, his defense, his movement and agility and his rebounding. Jackson, for once, is being serious. And he’s right. With so many taking shots at him over the past year, we bet Howard has his best year yet this season, and when he goes up against Lopez, he’s going to skin the goofy off Brooklyn’s center … Tyson Chandler also called Shaq’s rankings “comical” but that had more to do with O’Neal completely disregarding him than anything else … And is this Charlotte’s new court? We’ll give them credit for trying to be unique, but damn, our eyes hurt. This looks so bad, like something MJ would wear out in public … Keep reading to hear which young guards will get extensions, and which ones won’t …

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