January 31, 2016

DALLAS (AP) Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki skipped the game against Phoenix on Sunday night to rest on the front end of a back-to-back and the first of five games in seven nights for Dallas.

Coach Rick Carlisle said the decision was based on the schedule, not recent right knee swelling that forced the 37-year-old Nowitzki to miss a game.

In his 18th season, Nowitzki is out for the second time in three games after sitting the second night of a back-to-back at Golden State on Wednesday. Dallas plays at Atlanta on Monday night.

Nowitzki said he woke up with knee swelling the day after a Jan. 18 home game against Boston and sat a night later against Minnesota.

The 7-foot German is leading the Mavericks in scoring at 17.5 points per game.

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