A historic week in Dallas for Dirk Nowitzki now seems as inevitable as a defender’s feeling of helplessness when Nowitzki leans back to fire a shot with his right knee raised.
A strained Achilles ruined Nowitzki’s start to the season, when he missed 25 of the first 41 games, but now made for ideal timing. Nowitzki is expected to reach 30,000 career points as the Mavericks are on a five-game homestand.
Nowitzki scored his 20,000th point against the Lakers in 2010, and on Tuesday night he could once again put the Lakers in his 2022 Hall of Fame induction video with his 30,000 points.th indicate. He will be the sixth player to score 30,000 in the NBA, after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.
The 19-year-old Maverick’s iconic feat is a season highlight for Dallas, which is clinging to playoff hopes as the West has just seven this season.
This isn’t 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.
The ROY race reopens
Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid was so far ahead in the rookie of the year race that the only way to catch up to him was to stop running.
With a torn meniscus in his knee ending his season after 31 appearances, Embiid is in a bind for teammate Dario Saric to catch up.
Benefiting from Embiid’s absence, Saric finished February scoring at least 18 points in eight straight games. He averaged 17.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists in February, with a quirky blend of skilled big man play and fearless toughness.
The Croatian is The Process II, another Philadelphia product of the 2014 draft. Embiid went third and missed two seasons due to foot surgeries while Saric remained overseas after the 76ers tabbed him 12.th in 2014.
It might be hard not to pick Embiid as Rookie of the Year, even though he’ll only play a fifth of Philadelphia’s minutes this season. His 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game blew away all the rookies and were almost All-Star worthy. Milwaukee’s second-round pick Malcolm Brogdon could draw interest in his full season of production.
Golden state of mind
Kevin Durant of the Warriors will return. Before then, San Antonio could also come back.
San Antonio is the kind of team that wouldn’t spend resources on a run for No. 1 at the risk of not being optimal for the playoffs. But being second in the West with Durant injured until early April is a tempting prize.
A No. 1 seed makes the playoff run easier with a No. 8 seed being decidedly worse than the No. 7 seed in the West. The Warriors are not an easy catch, but have lost two games in a row despite still having more active All-Stars (three) than any other team in the West.
Salary of $3,500 per minute
Jose Calderon retired from the Lakers’ youth movement and then the Warriors’ championship formula, but it wasn’t an entirely bad week.
The pay cut Calderon faced by requesting a waiver from the Lakers on Monday was going to be covered by a waiver request from the Warriors on Wednesday. In between, Durant’s injury changed Golden State’s primary need from a third-string point guard to a Durant replacement.
The Warriors did not walk away from Calderon’s deal, claiming him off waivers Wednesday for a price of $415,000 and waiving him two hours later so they could add Matt Barnes instead.
Guess what sport Utah teenager Stockton Malone Shorts plays.
He not only became a basketball player, but also a good player. He received this name because his parents in the Salt Lake City area had an affinity for the play, behavior and work ethic of John Stockton and Karl Malone.
Shorts doesn’t wear the shorts of yesteryear but he wears Stockton’s number 12 for his high school team. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 24 points this season and progressed like his namesake with a 32-point performance in a state quarterfinal game Wednesday.
GOLDEN STATE IN NEW YORK: Sunday at 12:30 p.m. PDT. Television: ABC.
The Knicks have been one of the worst teams in the NBA since mid-December and Golden State is playing without Durant until April due to a sprained knee. This makes for an interesting shift. Madison Square Garden hosted Stephen Curry’s career-high 54-point game in 2013 and could be in store for another burst if he needs to play in the fourth quarter. Surprisingly, New York is the only team to hold Curry to single-digit scoring this season (eight points on 3-of-14 shooting).