(Courtesy of DALLAS -AP)
Dirk Nowitzki passed Jerry West on the NBA scoring list from a familiar spot: behind the 3-point line.
The 7-foot German will go down as the best-shooting big man in league history whenever he retires, so it was fitting that the 35-year-old was 26 feet from the basket when he supplanted the man whose silhouette serves the NBA logo.
”Jerry is the man,” said Nowitzki, who finished the night with 25,197 points and now goes after Reggie Miller for 15th at 25,279 points. ”He is the logo and that says it all. It has been a great ride.”
Trevor Ariza led the Wizards with 27 points, including five 3-pointers. He also had seven rebounds and four steals.
Monta Ellis started slowly from the field before scoring 10 in the fourth quarter to help the Mavericks improve to 4-0 at home this season. Ellis matched Nowitzki with 19.
The Nowitzki was struggling from the field before a loose ball bounced to him above the key. The 11-time All-Star and 2007 MVP grabbed it, turned and hit a shot to get within a point of West’s record.
On Dallas’ next possession, Gal Mekel passed to Nowitzki a few feet left of the previous spot, and Nowitzki pulled up and hit another from long range with 59.9 seconds left in the third.
That bucket gave him 16 points for the game and put him ahead of West, who scored 25,192 in 14 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1960-74. He went on to become their general manager and later a Memphis Grizzlies executive.
Nowitzki, who is in his 16th season, ended up 8 of 19 from the field with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
”Yeah, I suppose it was (fitting), although Jerry West never shot a 3,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. ”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.”
Vince Carter scored 16, and Samuel Dalembert led Dallas with 13 points in the first half and finished with 15. DeJuan Blair had nine points and 11 rebounds.
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