Monday, December 31, 2007

Nellie: Same song, different verse

The storyline may seem tired to some, but it inevitably comes up whenever the Mavs face one of their old compatriots. First it was Steve Nash and then Michael Finley. Now, of course, it’s Don Nelson, who brings his Warriors to town Wednesday.

“You saw the same thing with Steve and Mike now in San Antonio,” Dirk Nowitzki said today. “After a while you just get over it. The first couple matchups are always weird and different to see your friends and people you worked with in another uniform, but after a while it gets older and you understand this league is a business too.

“Things change and people change, and you just have to go through it. It’s always good to see Nellie. I owe him a lot, obviously. I had a great time while he was here, but now he’s on a different team and we’re trying to win the game.”

Avery Johnson compared facing Nellie to Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

“It’s some of the same feelings,” Johnson said. “I was Nellie’s assistant head coach here. He gave me an awful lot of string and room to grow. We spent a lot of time talking a lot about the game behind the scenes. He’s coached me twice. It’s some of the same feelings. He’s been awfully good to a lot of coaches and I’m one of them.”

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