As if Dirk Nowitzki needed any more achievements or milestones to assert his place in the basketball hall of fame a few years from now, he led the Dallas Mavericks to a 95-83 win over the Utah Jazz while passing Oscar Robertson and move into 10th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Nowitzki scored 21 points on an almost perfect 9-of-11 shooting performance, reaching 26,714 career points. He is now 230 points behind Hakeem Olajuwon, but he’ll probably have to wait until next season to start moving up a little bit more.
So while this mark is an impressive sign of just how great Nowitzki’s career has been since coming to the NBA as a practically unknown 19 year old from Germany with very little pro experience and no American college or high school background on his resume, the order of the day is making the playoffs, and beating the sinking Jazz meant Dallas are a step closer toward clinching a postseason spot.
They are 7th in the West with a 48-31 record. Phoenix have a 46-31 record and are 8th, while the Memphis Grizzlies find themselves behind in the race all of a sudden at 45-32, hoping that the teams above them drop a game or two along the way. Right now, Nowitzki’s focus is in the right place, and the career mark on points is simply a bonus he won’t exactly feel badly about.
It came down to Dallas having an excellent first quarter (39-25) and then keeping a distance the rest of the way, as the Jazz couldn’t convert their advantage on the boards into something practical, with an offense that shot only 16.7% from beyond the arc and 41.4% from the field.
Dallas didn’t just have Nowitzki, as Monta Ellis scored 16 points, Vince Carter added 13 points and the rest of the starting lineup (Dalembert, Calderon, Marion) scored 10 points each. Dallas executed very well, shooting 55.6% from the field, playing the kind of basketball that should get them in the playoffs after one year of absence, but it’s hard to believe is going to be enough, regardless of their opponents in the next round, be it the Thunder or the Spurs.
It’s definitely surreal, passing the Big O and only nine guys ever in this league scored more than me. That’s crazy to think. From where I came from, a little dump in Wurzburg, Germany, it’s been an amazing ride. Hopefully I can have a couple more good years and see where I end up. Like I always say, this stuff means more to me once my career is over, but this is a sweet one. Top 10 is definitely unbelievable.