There isn’t much for Dirk Nowtizki left to achieve in his NBA career; only to improve and build on what’s already done. His latest feat? Moving up a spot on the all-time scoring list, passing Jerry West, as he led the Dallas Mavericks along with his new partner in crime Monta Ellis to beat the Washington Wizards 105-95.
The Mavs are a bad defensive team? No one is going to argue about that, but at least they’re not the Wizards, not being able to overcome the departure of Emeka Okafor and his presence in the paint. Nowitzki and Ellis each scored 19 points, followed by a surprising 15 points from Samuel Dalembert in only 23 minutes and 16 coming from Vince Carter off the bench, continuing his on-and-off performances this season.
Nowitzki has now reached 25,197 points. The next on the list for him to pass is Reggie Miller, 15th, at 25,279 points. Nowitzki is averaging 18.3 points per game this season, and in one week, when the Mavs play the Houston Rockets, there’s a good chance he’ll move himself up another spot in the scoring charts.
The Wizards were in the game until the second quarter, but then the Mavs started pulling away. In the fourth quarter, when the game was still on the line, Monta Ellis finally woke up from his early slumber and scored 10 points, finishing the game with 7 assists on 7-of-16 shooting. DeJuan Blair was quite effective during his time on the floor, scoring 9 points and bringing down 11 rebounds, finishing with a +20 during his 24 minutes.
Still, as always in Dallas over the last 14 years, most of the attention went to Nowitzki and his place not only in the franchise’s history but in the league. Best European ever, best shooting big-man; the labeling never stops. Whatever he settles with, at 35, Nowitzki is still one of the best and most curious scoring threats in the game, even if slightly less consistent than before, having to lean on another gifted scorer to pull the Mavs’ wagon forward, hoping it lands in the playoffs this year.
But that won’t happen if their defense continues to be an issue, which it wasn’t for the most part against the Mavs. Their perimeter is wide open, as Monta Ellis and Jose Calderon make no attempt to trying to improve as stoppers, while Nowitzki himself was never one to really bring his best to the defensive side. Samuel Dalembert and Shawn Marion aren’t bad options to rely on, but they’re not good enough to cover up so many flaws. The bench doesn’t offer a solution to that as well. But after wins, it’s easier to delay the worries to other days. After the win, Nowitzki getting by Jerry West was what everyone seemed to care about.
I suppose it was fitting Dirk passed Jerry by hitting a three pointer, although West never shot a 3-pointer in his day. If there had been a 3-point line back then, this milestone would have come later. He’s going to pass more big names in the weeks and months to come.