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Dirk Nowitzki tops 30,000 points, Mavericks roll past Lakers, 122-111

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DALLAS (AP) Dirk Nowitzki scored the 20 points he needed for 30,000 in his career in barely more than a quarter, and the Dallas Mavericks celebrated with their second straight easy home win over the Los Angeles Lakers, a 122-111 victory Tuesday night.

The 7-foot German became the sixth NBA player and the first international one to reach the milestone, joining four Hall of Famers and a future one in Kobe Bryant. Nowitzki is one of three to score all 30,000-plus with one team. The others are Karl Malone (Utah) and Bryant (Lakers).

The 38-year-old Nowitzki matched the best first quarter in his 19 seasons by scoring 18 points, and reached the hallowed mark on a 15-foot fadeaway jumper from the baseline over Larry Nance Jr. with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter.

Nowitzki scored all of his 25 points – one shy of his season high – in the first half to send the Mavericks to a 31-point lead in the third quarter. This was the Lakers’ first visit to Dallas since setting a franchise record with a 49-point loss, a 122-73 blowout on Jan. 22.

“It’s been a crazy ride with a lot of ups and a lot of downs but you guys stuck with me and we hung in there,” Nowitzki told the crowd shortly after the final buzzer. “Hopefully a lot more to come.”

Dallas extended a franchise record with its 14th straight win over the Lakers, who got a triple-double from Julius Randle with 13 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists in their eighth straight loss.

After the signature shot for 30,000, Nowitzki added a 3-pointer for 23 points in the first 14 minutes before the game was stopped as teammates mobbed the wide-smiling star near midcourt.

Nowitzki waded through the huddle to get to the bench for more hugs and hand slaps, including one from owner Mark Cuban, then returned to the court to acknowledge the standing ovation.

“Dirk has been a model player and terrific ambassador for our game. This latest accomplishment further establishes his legacy as one of the NBA’s greatest players,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

Nowitzki finished the night at 30,005 and has said he plans to play a 20th season. If so, the 2007 MVP could have a shot at fifth-place Wilt Chamberlain, who has 31,419. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the career leader at 38,387.

With his ABA career included, Julius Erving is the seventh player to reach the mark.

Fans arrived with T-shirts draped over their seats that read “30K” behind a silhouette of Nowitzki’s signature one-legged fadeaway jumper.

Nowitzki got them going right away, scoring the first eight Dallas points on a long 2-pointer and a pair of 3s in the first 2:15. He was 9 of 12 from the field, 3 of 3 from beyond the arc and 4 of 4 on free throws before halftime. He missed his only shot of the second half.

A short video tribute was played when the game was stopped, followed by testimonials from former teammates and fans, even some Germans, during subsequent breaks in the game.

Jason Kidd, the point guard with Nowitzki on Dallas’ only championship team in 2011 and second in the NBA in career assists, joked that he should have passed more. Steve Nash, his best friend from the early years of his career, wondered what “ball hog” was in German.

The only glitch was Nowitzki’s first attempt at 30,000, an airball on another fadeaway jumper 10 seconds into the second quarter.

TIP-INS

Lakers: D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points apiece. Brandon Ingram and Nick Young joined Randle with 13 apiece. … Outscored Mavericks 37-19 in the fourth quarter.

Mavericks: Nowitzki had his 20th career half with at least 25 points. It was his first 25-point half since Nov. 16, 2008. The 18-point quarter was his highest since scoring 20 in the third quarter against New Orleans on Jan. 11, 2014. … The Mavericks led 70-52 at the half. It was their first 70-point half since scoring 72 in the first half of a 130-128 loss to Houston in Game 3 of a first-round playoff series in 2015.

UP NEXT

Lakers: At Phoenix on Thursday.

Mavericks: Home against Brooklyn on Friday.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.