The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 105-94 loss to the San Antonio Spurs
Apr 11, 2019Dwain Price
DIRK’S CAREER IS HISTORY: As much as his fans love him – and with very good reasons – everyone knew one day the day would come when Dirk Nowitzki would play his last game and have to retire from the NBA. Even if Nowitzki was 100 percent healthy with no lingering foot problems, retirement is like death and taxes. It’s inevitable. For Nowitzki, the retirement party started shortly after the Mavs lost their final game of the season to the Spurs. It came with his teammates and the Mavs’ coaching staff swarming around him as the final buzzer sounded on his distinguished 21-year career. It came with proprietor Mark Cuban by his side, and with every member of the San Antonio Spurs giving hm a hug, including Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. They all came by to say a kind word to Nowitzki, because they know no one in this game is as kinder than Dirk Nowitzki.
DIRK WITH THE DOUBLE-DOUBLE: Once when he was injured earlier in his career, Dirk Nowitzki served as a guest on the live TV broadcast of a Mavs’ game. And when one of the Mavs executed a thunderous dunk, Nowitzki’s booming voice shouted through the microphone: “Take that with you!” It was Nowitzki’s humorous way of putting added emphasis on one of the best plays he’d seen while he was a guest on the live TV broadcast. Fast forward to Wednesday, and as Nowitzki was draining one jumper after another on his way out the NBA door and into the Hall of Fame door, he knew he wanted to give his legion of fans something to remember him by. So, with 49.7 seconds left, Nowitzki nailed one of his iconic 20-foot fadeaway jumpers. That basket put the finishing touches on a 20-point, 10-rebound night that happened to be Nowitzki’s first double-double of the season. It was as if Nowitzki was back on the live TV broadcast, and back saying: “Take that with you!”
TEARS FLOWED EARLY AND OFTEN: Wednesday’s game hadn’t even started when the Spurs showed a video tribute in honor of Dirk Nowitzki on the overhead Jumbotron. The video was stitched together with some of Nowitzki’s finest moments in the NBA. And it, very surprisingly, also included Nowitzki beating down the Spurs in a few key playoff games. Now that, Nowitzki said, took a bit of class and a lot of humility to include that in his highlight package. But what the video didn’t – and obviously couldn’t – show was Nowitzki’s live reaction to what he had just seen. That came once the video ended and the cameras caught a very emotional Nowitzki balling like a baby. The cameras also caught Nowitzki’s teammates coming to his aid and embracing him and telling him that everything’s going to be alright. More importantly, the video was the Spurs’ way of telling Nowitzki that they respect and appreciate what he was able to accomplish over the last 21 years.
THEY DID PLAY A GAME: For those who care, Seagoville native LaMarcus Aldridge scored a game-high 34 points and pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds to led the Spurs to Wednesday’s victory that locked up the Western Conference’s No. 7-seed for San Antonio. Aldridge was 15-of-21 from the field, and teammate DeMar DeRozan added 19 points, five boards and three steals. The Spurs led, 30-16 after the first quarter and, 59-37, less than a minute into the third quarter. The Mavs did cut the deficit to 83-78 following a 3-pointer by Courtney Lee with 9:28 remaining in the game. However, San Antonio went on a brisk 7-0 run — Derrick White tallied five of those points — and the Spurs got themselves some breathing room and a much-needed victory that kept them out of the eighth spot and a first-round playoff matchup with the two-time defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
WATER CANNON SALUTE FOR DIRK: When the Mavs’ private charter took the short flight from San Antonio and landed in Dallas while carrying Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the team’s traveling party, they were met with a pleasant surprise. It was a team of fire fighters on the ground who promptly gave Nowitzki a prestigious water cannon salute. Usually most notably reserved for ceremonial purposes, water cannon salutes are sometimes employed to signal the retirement of a senior pilot or an air traffic controller. Or they’re even reserved for presidents of the United States of America. Well, after playing 1,522 games and logging 51,368 minutes across three decades, Nowitzki was the first person off the plane Wednesday night and raised his arms in triumphant. The water cannon salute was a tribute for a job well done as he now ventures off into the retirement portion of his life.