Historic week in Dallas for Dirk Nowitzki now appears as inevitable as a defender’s helpless feeling when Nowitzki leans back to fire a shot with his right knee up.
A strained Achilles’ spoiled Nowitzki’s early season, when he missed 25 of the first 41 games, but that made for ideal timing now. Nowitzki should reach 30,000 career points while the Mavericks are on a five-game homestand.
Nowitzki scored his 20,000th point against the Lakers in 2010, and on Tuesday night he might put the Lakers in his 2022 Hall of Fame enshrinement video again with his 30,000th point. He will be the sixth player to score 30,000 in the NBA, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.
The iconic 19-year Maverick’s feat is a season highlight for Dallas, which is clutching to playoff hope because the West runs only seven deep this season.
This is not Nowitzki’s farewell. He plans to return for one more season, but his health, playing time and shooting percentage have plunged this season. He moved to center so Harrison Barnes could become Dallas’ most important player. Regardless, Nowitzki is the franchise’s most important player ever.
ROY race reopens
Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid was so far ahead in the Rookie of the Year race that the only way he could be caught was if he stopped running.
With a knee-meniscus tear ending his season after 31 appearances, Embiid is at a standstill for teammate Dario Saric to catch up.
Benefitting from Embiid’s absence, Saric ended February by scoring at least 18 points in eight consecutive games. He averaged 17.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists for February with an original mix of skilled big-man play and fearless toughness.