Dirk Nowitzki is a Top 10 all-time scorer. And his Dallas Mavericks are a playoff team.
In typically confounding fashion, the Mavs followed up a frustrating 4-4 homestand with a fantastic 4-0 road trip, punctuated by last night’s romp over the lowly Utah Jazz. At 48-31, the Mavs need only to win two of their last three to reach the magical 50-win mark and clinch a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Their magic number has suddenly dwindled to two, meaning any combination of two Mavs wins and/or Memphis Grizzlies losses. The Mavs close the season at Memphis a week from today. It’d be in their best interests to win their final two home games against the Spurs and Suns and seal the deal themselves.
“Going home now again, I just hope we’re taking that same sense of urgency into our home court,” Nowitzki told reporters in Utah last night after scoring 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. “We can’t relax at home. Obviously we showed that all year. We’re not good enough to coast. We almost have to have the feeling like we’re on the road — scramble for each other, play for each other — and then good things will happen.”
On the road trip the Mavs beat the Clippers and then took care of the West’s three worst teams in the Lakers, Kings and Jazz. Last night they scorched the Jazz in the first quarter, making an uncanny 16 of 17 shots (94 percent). Along the way, Dirk further cemented his legacy as one of the NBA’s all-time great players.
With a midrange jumper early in the fourth quarter, Nowitzki surpassed Oscar Robertson for No. 10 on the all-time scoring list. He now has 26,714 points and this season alone has eclipsed Jerry West, Kevin Garnett, Reggie Miller, Alex English, John Havlicek and now The Big O.
A couple more good nights, and Dirk will have more chances to score in the playoffs.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.