Warriors coach Steve Kerr reflects on playing, broadcasting and strategizing

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Steve Kerr has played against Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki.

He’s broadcast Nowitzki’s games, too.

And Kerr has game-planned for years about ways to beat the German superstar.

So what memories stand out to Kerr, the Golden State Warriors’ NBA champion head coach, as Nowitzki’s career continues in its 21st, and perhaps, last season?

“I wouldn’t even know where to begin,” Kerr said before the Mavericks hosted the Warriors on Sunday night. “He’s just incredible to watch. Tough to prepare for because he was so unique, and great for the game.”

The Warriors have triumphed in two of three meetings with the Mavericks this season — the latest a119-114 result — and Nowitzki hasn’t had much influence.

He missed the Mavericks’ 112-109 home win against the Warriors on Nov. 17. Then he played 12 minutes and scored three points in a 120-116 loss in Oakland, his fifth game back from April ankle surgery.

Nowitzki entered Sunday’s game late in the first quarter to a loud ovation and hit a 3-pointer soon after. But that was his only make. He finished 1 of 3 from the field with two rebounds and an assist.

However, Nowitzki’s history with and against Kerr spans more than a few games as a reserve.

Kerr lamented that Nowitzki suffered a knee injury in Game 3 of the 2003 Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs, for which Kerr was then a reserve guard. Nowitzki had provided several clutch moments during that Mavericks’ playoff run, but Kerr connected on four second-half 3-pointers in Game 6 to knock off Dallas.

And Kerr remembered traveling often to Dallas as a broadcaster for TNT and watching as Nowitzki work “his magic.”

While the Mavericks and Warriors will play once more during the regular season — March 23 in Oracle Arena — Kerr’s sentiments Sunday were another sign that Nowitzki’s historic career is winding down.

“Just the way he’s always carried himself, so much class, dignity, humor,” Kerr said. “He’s got this great combination of confidence and sort of the, I guess, the ability to make fun of himself, laugh at himself, not take things too seriously. He’s just one of those guys everybody likes.”

On Twitter: @CallieCaplan