Highlights: Mavericks vs. JazzDirk Nowitzki passed Oscar Robertson for 10th on the NBA's all-time scoring list as the Mavs beat the Jazz to sweep the road trip.
SALT LAKE CITY — After sprinting through the first three outings of their four-game road trip unscathed, the Dallas Mavericks found themselves in the perfect position entering Tuesday’s matchup against the Utah Jazz.
Sitting in the seventh spot of the Western Conference standings entering the night, the Mavericks tried to widen their one-half game edge over Phoenix and 1 1/2-game lead over Memphis in the three-team race for the final two playoffs spots. Meanwhile, the Mavs looked to bring their road trip to a victorious close, attempting to sweep the season series over the Jazz in the process.
And with 12-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki further cementing his place in NBA lore by moving into 10th place on the all-time scoring list, the Mavericks (48-31) capped off their unbeaten road trip with a 95-83 victory.
“This is my 30th year in the NBA and one of the few times I’ve truly been in awe of an accomplishment,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said of Nowitzki’s feat. “You know, top 10 all-time scorer is an unbelievable accomplishment, because it’s a level of excellence that’s beyond belief and then it’s being able to do it over an extended period of time with consistency. So, you know, one of the really unique accomplishments and he’s going to keep eating up more people. You know, he’s got a long way to go.”
Riding the league’s longest current road winning streak, the Mavericks stepped into Energy Solutions Arena hoping to capture their sixth straight victory away from home. And fresh off being named the Western Conference Player of the Week, Nowitzki looked to get off to a fast start, entering the night needing just 18 points to pass Oscar Robertson (26,710) for 10th on the all-time scoring list.
But the Jazz (24-54) would match Nowitzki’s hot start while hitting on the first six shots from the field to jump out to a 13-6 lead. The Mavs quickly countered, however, setting a franchise record for shooting percentage (94.1 percent) in a quarter by hitting 16 of 17 shots to take a 39-25 lead into the second period.
After posting 11 points in the opening 12 minutes of play, Nowitzki continued to inch closer to top-10 scoring status in the second stanza. Meanwhile, sixth man Vince Carter also moved closer to passing Adrian Dantley (23,177) for 25th on the all-time scoring chart, needing 26 points coming into the night. Starting 2-guard Monta Ellis then joined the two future Hall of Famers in double figures, helping the Mavericks take a 61-46 lead into the halftime intermission.
Led by Nowitzki’s 13 first-half points on 6-of-8 shooting, the Mavericks connected on a staggering 70.3 percent from the field as a team through two quarters. Meanwhile, the Dallas defense held the Jazz to 45.7 percent shooting at the other end while both teams snatched down 19 rebounds.
“We shoot 70 percent at the half and that’s insane,” Nowitzki said. “I don’t think I’ve seen that a lot of times in my 16 years, so we were just attacking from every angle.”
Despite surrendering the first five points of the second half to the Jazz, the Mavs would continue to remain in control as center Samuel Dalembert made his presence felt in the painted area. The Mavs then proceeded to further create a separation on the scoreboard, leading by as many as 20 before taking an 81-65 advantage into the fourth.
Wasting no time as the fourth period got underway, Nowitzki quickly swished in a 19-footer to move into 10th on the scoring list with 11:46 left in the quarter.
“It’s definitely surreal,” Nowitzki modestly said. “You know, passing the Big O and knowing that only nine guys ever in this league scored more than me, that’s crazy to think. From where I came from, a little dump in Wurzburg, Germany, it’s been an amazing ride. So, you know, hopefully I can have a couple more good years and we’ll see where I end up.”
But the Jazz wouldn’t go away quietly, forcing a timeout by Carlisle after Richard Jefferson’s transition dunk trimmed Dallas’ lead to 85-71 with 7:43 remaining. Four-time All-Star forward Shawn Marion then tried to intervene, finding the bottom of the net on a 3-pointer from the wing to keep the Jazz at bay. Nowitzki followed suit, swishing a trey of his own to force a Utah timeout with the Mavs up 91-76 and 3:34 left to close. And although the Jazz would eventually creep to within nine down the stretch, the Mavs put the finishing touches on the win at the foul line.
Scoring 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting during another historic night, Nowitzki led six Mavs in double figures.
“He’s an original and he’s a generational player,” Carlisle said while praising his franchise player. “This is a once-in-25-years type of guy that comes along and changes the game. The modern game of basketball has changed largely for the better because of him, because of a 7-foot guy that can stretch the floor. Now, most teams start a stretch 4. He’s changed the game in so many ways, and the kind of humility and dignity that he does it with leaves you standing there in awe.”
Ellis added 16 points on 7-of-17 shooting, in addition to pulling down four rebounds and dishing out five assists. Meanwhile, Carter finished with 13 points off the bench and the trio of Dalembert, Marion and point guard Jose Calderon pitched in 10 points apiece.
“We played pretty decent basketball in the first half. We played even better in the second half, and that’s the way it’s going to have to be. That’s playoff-style basketball,” Carter explained.
Derrick Favors led five Jazz scorers in double figures with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, but the Mavs’ 55.6 percent as a team bettered Utah’s 41.4 percent. The Mavs also overcame a 47-36 rebounding disadvantage and 52-34 deficit in paint points.
“We talked about how we wanted to finish this trip the right way and we got a big win,” Nowitzki concluded. “We got pounded on the glass and that wasn’t great, so we’ve got to correct some of that stuff. But the 4-0 trip is a great way to end it.”
Note: The Mavericks 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.
|Shawn Marion, F||33||10||1||1||1||6||5||1||1||0||8||4-8||2-4||0-0|
|Dirk Nowitzki, F||32||21||3||0||0||6||6||0||0||0||3||9-11||2-3||1-1|
|Samuel Dalembert, C||27||10||2||0||2||6||5||1||0||2||10||5-6||0-0||0-0|
|Monta Ellis, G||38||16||5||0||0||4||3||1||2||0||8||7-17||1-4||1-2|
|Jose Calderon, G||30||10||4||0||1||3||3||0||2||2||9||4-6||0-2||2-4|
|Richard Jefferson, F||26||15||1||0||0||1||1||0||1||1||-5||6-17||2-8||1-3|
|Marvin Williams, F||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||-4||0-2||0-2||0-0|
|Derrick Favors, C||27||19||0||1||0||7||3||4||1||3||-2||8-13||0-0||3-3|
|Gordon Hayward, G||41||11||5||2||0||4||2||2||1||2||-7||5-14||1-6||0-2|
|Trey Burke, G||31||4||5||0||0||2||1||1||0||2||-14||2-8||0-5||0-0|
|John Lucas III||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0-0||0-0||0-0|
Postgame: Dirk NowitzkiMavs F Dirk Nowtizki talks about moving into the top-10 of the NBA's all-time scoring list, the win over the Jazz and more.
Dirk Enters Rare AirDirk Nowitzki moves past Oscar Robertson into 10th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list
Nightly Notable: Dirk NowitzkiDirk passes Oscar Robertson for 10th on the all-time scoring list as Dallas wins.
Bucket and the FoulDevin Harris slices through the defense, makes the bucket plus the foul.
SALT LAKE CITY — Despite a disappointing eight-game homestand that left them tied with Phoenix and Memphis in a three-team race for the Western Conference’s final two playoff spots, the Dallas Mavericks now sit in control of their own destiny.
Rallying back from their 4-4 homestand with three straight wins away from Big D to begin their current four-game road trip, the Mavericks (47-31) enter Tuesday’s contest one-half game ahead of Phoenix for the seventh spot in the West standings. Now, with just four regular-season games remaining and a magic number of three to return to the postseason, the Mavs will try to inch closer to securing a playoff berth by sweeping the Utah Jazz to conclude an unbeaten trip.
“I guess our magic number is three and we’ve got to win three out of four, so it starts (Tuesday). We’ve got to take it one game at a time,” 12-time All-Star Nowitzki said following the team’s Monday practice in Salt Lake City. “You don’t want to get too far ahead. (Tuesday) is a big challenge in this building, and hopefully we can take care of it.”
Named the Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday, Nowitzki once again sits on the verge of another historic milestone, needing just 18 points to move ahead of Oscar Robertson (26,710) for 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. However, with the Mavs all but assured a postseason spot, Nowitzki’s attention isn’t on individual achievements after seeing the franchise’s streak of 12 straight playoff appearances end last season.
“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. “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.”
That sentiment is shared among Nowitzki’s teammates, according to sixth man Vince Carter, who also met a personal milestone Sunday by moving ahead of Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 26th place on the league’s all-time scoring list with 17 points off the bench during a 93-91 win over Sacramento. And with a cast of new characters hungry to redeem last season’s team, the Mavs will look to continue their push towards the playoffs with a fourth win of the season over the Jazz (24-53) to conclude their road trip.
“I just think everyone’s locked in to what we’re trying to do,” Carter explained. “We’re trying to make that playoff spot and it means something. And a lot of these guys weren’t here last year for the disappointment of breaking the streak, but it feels like they were because it all means something. And everybody is coming together and ready to go.”
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.