The 5 takeaways from the Mavs’ 120-109 win over the Phoenix Suns
Apr 10, 2019Dwain Price
OH, WHAT A NIGHT FOR DIRK: In his final game at American Airlines Center, Dirk Nowitzki put on one whale of a show. Between all of the pomp and circumstance, and the numerous amazing video tributes put together by the Mavs’ front office staff – even one video from former President George W. Bush – Nowitzki managed to somehow maintain his composure and give the people what they wanted. With Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott and other celebrities at AAC, Nowitzki’s teammates fed him early and often until they couldn’t feed him anymore. The 21-year veteran responded by getting the Mavs off to a 10-8 start. Oh yeah. All 10 of those points were scored by Nowitzki as he opened the game by going 4-of-8 from the field. Nowitzki finished the star-studded night with a season-high 30 points on 11-of-31 shots, and also grabbed eight rebounds. In the end, let the people say: Thank you, Dirk.
THE FANS WANTED, AND GOT DIRK: The good thing about Tuesday’s game was that whenever Dirk Nowitzki was on the bench, and whenever the crowd started chanting “We Want Dirk,” coach Rick Carlisle would look over at Nowitzki and seemingly asking him if he was ready to go back in the game. Nowitzki obliged, and so did Carlisle. That’s the type of relationship these two men have had for the past 11 seasons, when Carlisle became the Mavs’ coach in 2008. Carlisle knew the Mavs were going to get Nowitzki as many shots as they could on Tuesday, and he, Nowitzki and everyone on the team and in the AAC were very cool with that. Legends get whatever legends want. Especially when they’ve given so much of their life on and off the court – at the expense of their family and to the detriment of their body – which was the case for Nowitzki for the past 21 years. All together, just say: Thank you, Dirk.
AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTER WAS THE PLACE TO BE: Sensing that Tuesday was going to be the last time Dirk Nowitzki laced up his sneakers and played a game at American Airlines Center, folks got off work early and fought the wild traffic so they could be in the building to watch the greatest member of the Dallas Mavericks to ever play the game, to watch one of the greatest NBA players of all-time, and to watch arguably the greatest professional athlete from the Dallas/Fort Worth area to don a uniform. Years from now there may be over 500,000 folks claiming to have been inside AAC on Tuesday. But for the 21,000-plus who managed to score one of the hottest tickets ever in Dallas, this was a magical night that will be embedded in their minds forever. When you see almost one-third of the Dallas Cowboys take time out of their schedule in the offseason to show up for a basketball game, you know it’s all good. And in the end, they should all pause and just say: Thank you, Dirk.
THERE WAS A GAME PLAYED: Yes, there was a game played Tuesday night. A massive sellout crowd of 21,041 came very early and stayed very late for all of the remarkable festivities. In addition to Dirk Nowitzki scoring a season-high 30 points, rookie Luka Doncic dazzled by registering his — oh-by-the-way — eighth triple-double of the season after he collected 21 points, snatched a career-high 16 rebounds and distributed 11 assists. Two other Mavs picked up double-doubles with Dorian Finney-Smith finishing with 15 points and 10 boards in 20 minutes, and Dwight Powell adding 11 points and 11 rebounds to go with three blocked shots. Others who contributed mightily on Nowitzki’s historic night include Devin Harris (14 points, five assists), Justin Jackson (10 points) and Maxi Kleber (10 rebounds in only 20 minutes). In the end, Nowitzki’s teammates should collective give a bow and just say: Thank you, Dirk.
TEARS OF JOY WERE SHED: With so much attention given to what Dirk Nowitzki has meant to the DFW area since he first arrived here from Germany in 1998, you just knew a good bit of tears were going to be shed on Tuesday. The first noticeable sign of water streaming down someone’s cheekbones came in the second half when a video was shown on the Jumbotron of Nowitzki in his kid-like form playing a guitar, reading books and acting like a kid while visiting some kids at a local children’s hospital. This is an annual event around Christmas for Nowitzki, who treasures those moments probably more-so than he treasures winning a world a title. When the video finished, the crowd roared its approval and Nowitzki bent over near midcourt. Once play resumed and after wiping away the tears, Nowitzki hoisted up a shot that didn’t even come close to reaching its intended destination, because he said he had so many tears in his eyes. In the end, for being humorous, full of humility, and a game-changer, let the folks say: Thank you, (Uncle) Dirk.