SALT LAKE CITY — Although 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki admits that it felt like a lifetime to once again be named Western Conference Player of the Week, his 17th career time to receive the honor came at just the right moment for the Dallas Mavericks.
Monday, the NBA announced that Nowitzki garnered the honor yet again for games played from March 31 through April 6. Nowitzki led the Mavs to a 3-1 record during that span highlighted by road wins over the Los Angeles Clippers, the L.A. Lakers and Sacramento Kings, averaging 25.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.0 steal and 35.5 minutes during that stretch while shooting 55.7 percent from the field and 56.5 percent from three-point range.
Still, with one more game left against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday to conclude a four-game road trip, Nowitzki was less concerned with his own accolade and more so focused on getting the Mavericks (47-31) back to the postseason.
“I mean, it’s been a long time. I guess the greatest thing about that is it means we won some games. That’s really what this stretch here is all about,” Nowitzki said after learning of the honor at the Mavs’ team practice Monday in Salt Lake City.
He added: “We’re in the middle of four road games, which is never easy. And winning Player of the Week at this point in my career means that we’re winning games, and that’s what it’s all about. It’s not really about personal stuff anymore, it’s about making the playoffs. We didn’t make the playoffs last year, and we had a big week. … We definitely needed to take care of what we can take care of, and that’s keep winning. So, that’s really all that Player of the Week means for me. We were able to pull out some tough games, especially on the road, and that’s great.”
Nowitzki now ranks 13th in the league in scoring, posting 21.6 points an outing for the season. He is also in hot pursuit of a rare 50-40-90 season, shooting 49.2 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from three-point range and 90.1 percent from the foul line. But, despite sitting just 18 points away from passing Oscar Robertson (26,710) for 10th on the league’s all-time scoring list, it’s the Mavs’ four remaining games and magic number of three to clinch a playoff berth that’s mostly on Nowitzki’s mind.
“I guess our magic number is three and we’ve got to win three out of four, so it starts tomorrow. We’ve got to take it one game at a time,” Nowitzki said while turning his attention to the playoff race. “You don’t want to get too far ahead. Tomorrow is a big challenge in this building, and hopefully we can take care of it.”
Note: The Mavericks will now conclude their four-game road trip in Salt Lake City, playing the Utah Jazz on Tuesday. Dallas leads the season series 3-0. The game will air locally on TXA 21 at 8 p.m. CT.
The Mavs return to American Airlines Center on Thursday to host the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio leads the season series 3-0. The game will air nationally on TNT at 7 p.m. CT. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by calling (214) 747-MAVS (6287) or by visiting Mavs.com.