Game 63: Mavs vs. Lakers

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Mavericks Celebrate Dirk’s Milestone

Mavericks fans and teammates surround Dirk Nowitzki as they celebrate him reaching 30,000 points for his career.

DALLAS — And then there were six.

Entering Tuesday’s night matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers needing just 20 points to become the sixth scorer in NBA history to eclipse the 30,000-point plateau for his career, 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki tried to reach the milestone in front of the fans that he’s dazzled for 19 seasons. Hoping to become just the third player to reach the feat with one franchise, Nowitzki looked to assert himself while leading the Dallas Mavericks to 3-0 on their current homestand. Meanwhile, the Mavericks tried to extend their longest active winning streak against an opponent to 14 victories in a row over the Lakers, looking to complete the season series sweep in the process. And with Nowitzki reaching the milestone with a 25-point first half to join the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain, the Mavericks (27-36) sprinted to their third straight win overall after a runaway 122-111 victory.

“It’s been sort of surreal,” Nowitzki modestly said after the historic feat. “I mean, 30,000 is amazing. It’s a lot of points. Every milestone makes you reflect a little bit and reflect on the people that have helped you and been with you all this way. From all the coaches, to [Mavs owner Mark Cuban] and all the teammates I’ve had, and the fans who went with me through thick and thin. So, it’s been an amazing ride. Hopefully a couple of more baskets are coming, and then it’s time to ride into the sunset.”

Swishing his first shot to set the early tone while getting the Mavericks on the board, Nowitzki continued to call his own number with a pair of three-pointers for the team’s first eight points of the night. Nowitzki stayed on the attack a short time later, converting an and-one jumper to move into double figures while boosting the Mavs to an 18-8 lead.

Nowitzki then took a seat with 6:29 left in the opening quarter, resting after matching a Mavs high for a period this season with 14 points. But after seeing the Mavericks’ lead dwindle to 27-21, Nowitzki reentered the game with 3:12 remaining in the period and immediately swished his sixth straight shot to open the game. And behind Nowitzki’s 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting for his highest-scoring quarter since tallying 20 points in the third period against New Orleans on January 11, 2014, the Mavs took a 38-29 lead into the second stanza.

“Today, it was kind of like the mindset, ‘Hey, go for it.’ A lot of play calls were coming my way early, and guys kept finding me in good spots. And I just said, ‘You’ve got to let it ride. You’ve got to go for it. And I was able to get hot really early, and that helped to get it out of the way,” Nowitzki said of his scoring burst in the first period.

Seeing Nowitzki misfire a baseline jumper to open the second period, the Mavericks kept their foot on the gas after sixth man Devin Harris found 22-year-old big man Nerlens Noel for an alley-oop connection. Nowitzki then cemented his place in league lore with a patented turnaround jumper over Lakers big man Larry Nance Jr. at the 10:58 mark of the quarter, giving him 20 points in the first half and 30,000 points for his illustrious career. And after Nowitzki swished a three-pointer from the top of the key, the Mavericks surged to a 47-30 advantage.

“It felt amazing,” Nowitzki said of the feat. “Leading up to it, obviously, with every basket I felt the buzz in the crowd. And in the second quarter, sitting on 18 (points), the first play was called, and I just remember walking out and everybody had already gotten up. So, I got a little nervous and I hoisted an airball. But I was able to regroup and make the next shot.”

After a standing ovation and tribute video for Nowitzki, swingman Wesley Matthews began to catch fire as the Mavs continued to separate on the scoreboard. Sharpshooter Seth Curry lent some assistance, swishing a triple of his own to put the Mavericks up 64-43. Nowitzki jumped back into the scoring soon after that, sending the Mavs into the halftime intermission with a 70-52 lead.

Led by Nowitzki’s 25 first-half points on 9-of-12 shooting to fall one shy of his season-high scoring output, the Mavericks outshot the Lakers (19-45) through two quarters, 60 percent to 42.9 percent. The Mavs also overcame the Lakers’ 22-20 rebounding edge, connecting on 8 of 14 from behind the three-point line in the half as Nowitzki swished in all three of his long-range attempts.

“We all witnessed one of the most amazing accomplishments really in the history of sports,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Nowitzki’s first-half scoring output. “For me, this was a 13-minute-and-two-second microcosm of one of the greatest careers in the history of this game. … Watching Dirk the last couple of days, there was no doubt that this was going to happen tonight. Our guys did an amazing job early in the game of finding him. L.A. was mixing up coverages, trying to keep it a little confusing. But our guys just kept moving it and finding him, and the shotmaking was absolutely breathtaking.”

Handing the offensive duties over to Curry and leading scorer Harrison Barnes, Nowitzki would see his teammates maintain a seizable lead early in the second half. The lead then surged to 90-68 midway through the third quarter after rookie point guard Yogi Ferrell’s triple.

Curry slid back into the scoring a short time after that with a trey of his own as the lead ballooned to 96-68. And with Matthews again finding the touch from the outside as the separation peaked at 31, the Mavericks took a 103-74 advantage into the final period.

Taking a seat with 11:12 remaining, Nowitzki looked to his teammates to finish off the win in the fourth quarter. Curry gladly obliged, pushing the lead to 109-82 with a crafty score. Carlisle then began to empty his bench, looking to finish the win off with the team’s young reserves. And with the young contributors proving to be up to the challenge, the Mavericks finished off the historic win in front of their home fans with stops at the defensive end of the floor.

Finishing with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting, Nowitzki also grabbed 11 rebounds in less than 25 minutes to record his sixth double-double of the season en route to another career milestone. Curry pitched in 18 points in the first unit, and Ferrell added 16 points and seven assists. Matthews finished with 15 points in the starting lineup, and Barnes tallied 14 points to go along with six rebounds. Meanwhile, Noel finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds off the bench, and 10-day signee Quinn Cook added 10 points in a reserve role.

Jordan Clarkson and D’Angelo Russell led five Lakers in double figures with 22 points apiece. However, the Mavericks finished the game outshooting the Lakers for the night, 54.2 percent to 46.7 percent, overcoming 14 giveaways and a 44-41 rebounding disadvantage by converting the Lakers’ 11 turnovers into 14 points.

“I’m happy we’re winning games. That’s the No. 1 thing for me right now. We’re still trying to make this playoff push and we’re playing well, so the main thing is we won the game and it happened early,” Nowitzki said after the Mavericks ran their winning streak to three while he reached the milestone. “Leading up to it, it hasn’t been a lot of great scoring nights. It was a couple of off-shooting nights, and it’s been a little slow there. But this was perfect. Everything was kind of planned out perfect, so I’m happy it worked out that way.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Friday night, hosting the Brooklyn Nets. The game will tip off at 8 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out

Los Angeles Lakers

PLAYER MIN PTS AST STL BLK REB DREB OREB TO PF +/- FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A
Brandon Ingram, F 35 13 5 0 0 4 2 2 3 3 -14 5-9 1-3 2-4
Julius Randle, F 35 13 10 1 0 18 14 4 3 4 -14 3-8 0-0 7-8
Tarik Black, C 13 1 0 0 1 4 1 3 2 2 -26 0-3 0-0 1-2
Nick Young, G 20 13 0 0 0 2 2 0 0 1 -16 4-10 3-8 2-2
D'Angelo Russell, G 33 22 4 4 0 1 1 0 0 2 -12 8-17 2-6 4-4
Jordan Clarkson 34 22 2 0 0 1 0 1 2 2 -5 9-17 4-8 0-0
Larry Nance Jr. 20 8 0 1 1 3 3 0 0 1 2 4-6 0-1 0-0
Corey Brewer 12 9 0 1 1 2 2 0 0 1 4 4-7 1-2 0-0
Tyler Ennis 17 8 4 0 0 2 1 1 1 1 12 4-8 0-2 0-0
David Nwaba 8 2 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 11 1-3 0-0 0-2
Thomas Robinson 8 0 0 1 0 6 6 0 0 2 8 0-2 0-0 0-0
Timofey Mozgov 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Ivica Zubac 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Luol Deng 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Metta World Peace 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0 0-0 0-0
TOTALS PTS AST STL BLK REB DREB OREB TO PF   FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A
    111 25 9 3 44 33 11 11 20   42-90 11-30 16-22
                        46.7% 36.7% 72.7%

Dallas Mavericks

PLAYER MIN PTS AST STL BLK REB DREB OREB TO PF +/- FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A
Wesley Matthews, F 25 15 2 0 0 2 2 0 0 2 17 5-9 5-7 0-0
Harrison Barnes, F 34 14 2 0 0 6 5 1 3 1 12 6-14 0-2 2-4
Dirk Nowitzki, C 24 25 1 0 1 11 11 0 2 2 12 9-13 3-4 4-4
Seth Curry, G 30 18 5 1 0 2 2 0 2 3 13 7-12 4-7 0-1
Yogi Ferrell, G 32 16 7 0 0 2 1 1 2 2 17 6-9 2-4 2-2
Nerlens Noel 22 11 1 0 3 13 10 3 0 1 18 4-8 0-0 3-4
Quinn Cook 16 10 3 1 0 0 0 0 2 1 -13 4-6 2-3 0-0
Devin Harris 13 7 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 4 11 2-4 1-2 2-2
Dorian Finney-Smith 22 2 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 -7 1-4 0-1 0-0
Salah Mejri 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 6 0-0 0-0 0-0
Nicolas Brussino 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 -8 0-0 0-0 0-0
Dwight Powell 8 4 0 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 -18 1-1 0-0 2-2
Ben Bentil 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -10 0-3 0-1 0-0
J.J. Barea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0 0-0 0-0
AJ Hammons 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0-0 0-0 0-0
TOTALS PTS AST STL BLK REB DREB OREB TO PF   FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A
    122 25 5 5 41 35 6 14 17   45-83 17-31 15-19
                        54.2% 54.8% 78.9%
​​

GAME RECAP: Mavericks 122, Lakers 111

Dirk Nowitzki scores 25 points as he becomes the sixth player in NBA history to score more than 30,000 in a career.

Dirk Makes History

Dirk Nowitzki becomes the 6th player in NBA history to score 30,000 points in their career.

Dirk’s Record Breaking Night

Highlights of Dirk Nowitzki's record breaking night as he becomes just the sixth player to surpass 30,000 points.

Nowitzki And-1

Dirk Nowitzki sidesteps his defender and swishes the midrange jumper plus the foul.

Finney-Smith Finishes The Transition Slam

Yogi Ferrell steals the ball and throws a pass downcourt to Dorian Finney-Smith for the slam dunk.

Fan Night: Records And Milestones

Watch this interview on NBA Champion Dirk Nowitzki as he nears the 30,000 point milestone.

One-on-one with Devin Harris

Mavs G Devin Harris dishes on Dirk's 30K milestone, tonight's game against LA and more.

Shootaround: Nerlens Noel

Mavs C Nerlens Noel looks ahead to tonight's game against the Lakers, Dirk's quest for 30,000 points and more.

Shootaround: Rick Carlisle

Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle previews tonight's matchup against the Lakers.

DALLAS — With their ageless superstar on the verge of yet another career milestone, the Dallas Mavericks admit that they will have to keep themselves from force-feeding 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki the ball Tuesday night in front of the hometown crowd.

Entering Tuesday’s matchup against the lowly Los Angeles Lakers, Nowitzki sits 20 points away from becoming just the sixth player in NBA history to record 30,000 points in his career. Nowitzki is also on the verge of being only the third player to amass 30,000 points with one franchise, joining the likes of Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant. But with Nowitzki hopeful to accomplish the feat within the flow of the game, his teammates say that they will resist the urge to overly feed the 7-footer the ball during Tuesday’s contest.

“I think it’s something potentially special that can be celebrated tonight, if he can get his midrange going and get a few threes. I think that will be a special moment, and we’ve just got to take it moment to moment tonight,” Mavs newcomer Nerlens Noel said of Nowitzki’s pending milestone.

“I think we’ll play the right way,” he added. “You know, Dirk is such a leader, and he plays the right way. I think he will just be playing within in the flow of the game and getting his shots where they are, and hopefully it does happen.”

While Nowitzki tries to add to his list of accolades in order to lead the Mavericks (26-36) to 3-0 on their current homestand, the team will also look for Noel to continue his quick integration off the bench.

Noel is averaging 9.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per outing in five games since joining the Mavericks at the trade deadline in a deal with Philadelphia. He’s also provided a consistent above-the-rim option for the Mavs at both ends of the floor, giving the squad an inside presence in the second unit. And with the Mavericks looking to extend a 13-game winning streak over the Lakers (19-44) in the head-to-head series, coach Rick Carlisle says the team will need Noel to continue being a spark plug off the bench.

“Well, Nerlens brings just a different dimension. He’s got the length and the quickness,” Carlisle said.

He added: “He’s helping us in a lot of ways that aren’t even tangibly evident by a lob dunk, a big rebound or something like that. … When he rolls that hard, it’s going to engage defenders on the inside. And what it does is just opens up the perimeter. When defenders don’t engage then lobs are there, and those are big momentum plays, especially in your own building. He does things that are extremely difficult for a normal human being to do with his quickness, ability to elevate, change of direction and stop and start. You just don’t find guys like that growing on trees.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Tuesday night, hosting the Los Angeles Lakers. Dallas leads the season series 3-0. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out

 

DALLAS — Climbing just 20 points away from becoming the sixth player in NBA history with 30,000 points in his illustrious career, 13-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki will now try to reach the feat and lead his team to a third straight win overall Tuesday night.

Scoring 18 points and pulling down 12 rebounds for this fifth double-double of the season Sunday during a 104-89 victory over Oklahoma City, Nowitzki helped lead the Mavericks (26-36) to a 2-0 mark on their current five-game homestand. In the process, the 38-year-old Nowitzki inched closer to the 30,000-point plateau, hoping to reach the personal milestone Tuesday night in the fourth and final regular-season matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers. But with his team in a heated playoff race in the Western Conference and currently chasing the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final postseason spot, Nowitzki says he’s less concerned with adding to his list of accolades and more focused on trying to secure a win to complete the season series sweep over the Lakers (19-44).

“I want to play within the system. I don’t want to just hoist shots to get it. You know, I want to play a smart game to help the team win,” Nowitzki candidly said after moving closer to the career milestone during Sunday’s victory. “We’re still chasing a playoff spot, and I think wins right now are more important. So, whenever it happens, it happens.”

The Mavericks have won 13 straight regular-season meetings against the Lakers entering Tuesday’s contest, looking to continue their dominance in the head-to-head series in the third outing of their current homestand. The Mavs will also try to avoid a letdown after their most recent rout of the Lakers at American Airlines Center, hoping to take a business-like approach as they continue their ascension up the West standings.

Sprinting to a 109-97 road win over the Lakers on Nov. 8, the Mavericks seized the first meeting between the teams this season with ease. The Mavs followed that with a 101-89 victory in L.A. on Dec. 29. But despite leading by as many as 53 during a 122-73 runaway win over the Lakers on Jan. 22, the Mavericks will try to remain focused on the task at hand Tuesday night.

“I have no recollection of that,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said while disregarding his team’s dominant performance the last time the Lakers came to town. “You know, right now living in the past is really insignificant. The only thing that matters is what’s in front of us. And with 20 games left we’re going to have to really stay on a roll here. The only way to do it is to stick to the process and not be thinking about things that may or may not have happened a month and a half ago.”

Note: The Mavericks will now return to their home floor on Tuesday night, hosting the Los Angeles Lakers. Dallas leads the season series 3-0. The game will tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT, airing locally on Fox Sports Southwest and 103.3 FM ESPN. The game will also air in Spanish on KFLC AM 1270. Tickets are still available and can be purchased by visiting Mavs.com, or by calling (214) 747-MAVS.

Injury updates:

J.J. Barea (left calf strain) — out