Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles) will not play vs. Celtics

Dirk Nowitzki (Achilles) will not play vs. Celtics

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics may have caught a break on the injury front with the Dallas Mavericks being without the franchise’s greatest player ever, Dirk Nowitzki.

The 7-foot perennial All-Star will miss his fifth straight game, having played in just three this season. 

“He’s not going to play,” said ex-Celtics guard Rick Carlisle, the head coach of the Mavericks. “He worked out this morning hard. He’s getting closer but he’s not there yet.”

With Nowitzki out of the lineup, it has meant more playing time for former Celtic Dwight Powell who is averaging 6.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field. 

“At the end of the day, once the season starts it’s all about winning games,” Powell told CSNNE.com. “I’m trying to do whatever I can with whatever opportunities I have to reach that goal of winning as many games as possible.” 

In the three games Nowitzki has played this season, he’s averaging just 12.0 points, 6.7 rebounds while shooting just 35.9 percent from the field. 

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Reserve-heavy Celtics keep at it, top Trail Blazers

1:13 - The Celtics came away with a 105-100 win in Portland on Friday night. Find out why Chris Mannix is calling this the best Celtics win of the season.

6:05 - Mannix discusses details about Kyrie Irving’s ‘minimally invasive’ procedure on his knee and what his level of concern is with A. Sherrod Blakely and Gary Tanguay.

10:03 - Michael Holley and Tom Curran discuss what NFL players, including Devin McCourty, are doing beyond the gridiron by being active in criminal justice reform discussions held at Harvard this week.



Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

Morris getting it done for Celtics on both ends of the floor

When you think about Marcus Morris these days, big-time scoring immediately comes to mind. 

But in Boston’s 105-100 comeback win over Portland, Morris’ contributions went beyond the game-high 30 points he dropped on the Blazers.

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“Coach (Brad Stevens) is doing a great job of getting me the ball in my spots and my teammates are finding me,” Morris told reporters after the win. “And I’m just coming through.”

He’s providing strong play and a tremendous presence at both ends of the floor which has been critical to the team navigating some choppy waters with a number of regular rotation players – namely Kyrie Irving – out with injuries.

“One thing is, he’s healthy,” said Boston’s Al Horford, referring to the sore knee that limited Morris earlier this season and at times forced him to miss games. “And the other is, he’s just more confident, he’s playing very assertive. He’s playing great right now, in a really good rhythm.”

Said Stevens: “That’s been him (Morris). As he’s continued to feel better; I think physically he’s felt as good as he’s felt. He’s comfortable in our system and we need him to score. If you’re a basketball player and your job is to score, that’s a pretty good job.”

And it’s one that even with all the injuries Boston has played through, few envisioned him being such an integral part of the offense. 

Morris’ calling card prior to arriving in Boston was his defense. 

But Morris has made it known that his focus on the floor is to be as complete a player as possible.

“I’m not trying to just limit myself to just being that scorer,” Morris said. “Also, on the defensive end I think I’m bringing it; my defense has gotten a lot better, especially my on-the-ball defense. I’m trying to be that all-around player and not just an offensive player … but I can score.”