Today in pained and wildly inaccurate comparisons of basketball players and historic moments, Dirk goes from being the new Larry Bird, to now the new Willis Reed. According to Donnie Nelson, anyway: “Nowitzki insists he will be ready to play in tonight’s crucial Game 5 matchup at American Airlines Center. He said he had a decent night’s sleep and slept in Wednesday morning. He planned to get more rest and lots of fluids Wednesday night. ‘I will try to get out of here pretty quick, go home, take a long shower and go to bed right away,’ Nowitzki said after practice Wednesday. ‘I had some soup and a good meal. I still got a high temperature, but the fever is basically gone. That’s the main thing you worry about. I will be ready.’ With a title at stake, Nowitzki said he would play as any leader would. ‘That was our version of Willis Reed if you think about it,’ Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said. ‘If he doesn’t tough it out and if he doesn’t come back, there is no way [the Mavericks win]. And I don’t even know how he was standing that fourth quarter, because it was such a physically taxing game. But hats off. We’re here at 2-2 because of him.’”