Associated Press

Watch Nowitzki pass Wilt Chamberlain for 6th on NBA scoring list

1 Comment

DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks became the NBA’s sixth-leading scorer Monday night with another of his signature long-range jumpers.

Nowitzki took Luka Doncic‘s handoff and backed down New Orleans’ Kenrich Williams before hitting a turnaround from the top of the free-throw circle with 8:33 left in the first quarter.

The basket brought Nowitzki to 31,420 points in his career, one more than Wilt Chamberlain. The 40-year-old German trails only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Michael Jordan. James passed Jordan for fourth place on March 6.

Coming into the game, Nowitzki needed just four points to pass Chamberlain, and he started for just the ninth time this season. His first basket was a 20-footer off an assist from rookie Jalen Brunson.

While Nowitzki stands only an inch shorter than Chamberlain’s listed height of 7-foot-1, the two reached their point totals with contrasting styles of play.

Chamberlain once averaged more than 50 points in a season, dominating inside to such a degree that the NBA widened the paint in an effort to neutralize him.

Nowitzki, meanwhile, has made nearly 2,000 3-pointers in his career, establishing the trend of big men with long-range shooting capabilities. He’s an 88-percent free-throw shooter, 37 points higher than Chamberlain’s mark.

“One of his real legacies is gonna be how he helped this game evolve to what it is today,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “In the ’90s and early 2000s, there was a real crisis. Scoring was down. The way Dirk approached the game helped … nudge the game along and open up space. Eventually the value of the 3-point shot to open up space became a reality. And so today, you don’t hear anybody talking about how there’s not enough scoring or the game’s not exciting.”

Nowitzki is 872 points behind Jordan but may retire at the end of the season, though he has said he will decide on his future when the season is over. He is the only player in NBA history to play 21 seasons with one team.

Nowitzki missed the first 26 games of the season recovering from left ankle surgery and has been reduced to a role player for much of the year, but he has started the past four games and nine out of the last 12 for the Mavs. His season high entering Monday was 15 points.

 

James Harden runs 30-point streak to 30 as Rockets beat Mavericks

AP Photo
2 Comments

HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 31 points for his 30th straight 30-point game despite dealing with a shoulder injury, leading the Houston Rockets to a 120-104 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night.

Harden, who had eight rebounds and seven assists, seemed to be a bit slowed early by the strained left shoulder that he injured on Saturday against Oklahoma City, making just one of his first seven shots. But he warmed up after that and finished 9 of 23, capped by his sixth 3-pointer with less than a minute left to put him over 30 and keep the streak going. Fans chanted “MVP! MVP!” after he sunk the step back over Dorian Finney-Smith.

He’s now just one game from tying Wilt Chamberlain for the second-longest streak of 30-point games in NBA history. Chamberlain also holds the top 30-point game streak with 65 in a row.

Houston had a 14-point lead entering the fourth quarter and was up 106-90 when Harden entered the game for the first time in the period with about 6 1/2 minutes left. The Mavericks went on a 7-0 run after that, with a 3-pointer from Jalen Brunson, to get within 106-97 with about 3 1/2 minutes remaining.

Harden heated up after that, making two 3-pointers in a 9-3 run to extend the lead to 115-100 with about 2 minutes left and put the game out of reach.

Luka Doncic had 21 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Mavericks, who lost for the first time this season to Houston after winning the first two meetings.

Chris Paul added 17 points with 11 assists, and Gerald Green scored 19 points with five 3-pointers to help Houston to its fourth win in five games.

The Rockets were up by 14 at halftime and Harden scored seven points in the first few minutes of the third quarter to help push the lead to 76-58. Harden later dished to Green for a 3-pointer to make it 85-66.

The Mavericks scored the next eight points, capped by a 3 from Finney-Smith just before the shot clocked expired, to get within 85-74 with 2 minutes left in the third.

Green had a layup after that to end the scoring streak by Dallas and the Rockets had a 92-78 lead at the end of three.

 

Mavericks reportedly working to trade Dennis Smith Jr.; Suns, Magic interested

Getty Images
7 Comments

Dennis Smith Jr. just does not fit next to Luka Doncic.

Dallas’ most used and regular starting lineup most of the season — Smith, Doncic, Wes Matthews, Harrison Barnes, and DeAndre Jordan — struggle to get buckets, scoring less than a point per possession. However, sub rookie Jalen Brunson in for Smith and the offense improves by 16 points per 100 possessions.

Smith showed flashes as a rookie last season with the ball in his hands, and he’s still on his rookie contract, which means he has trade value. The Mavericks are exploring that, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

The Dallas Mavericks are escalating talks to trade guard Dennis Smith Jr., pushing to end a partnership that has run its course for both the franchise and former first-round pick, league sources tell ESPN.

Two teams in pursuit of a point guard — Phoenix and Orlando — have been active in talks with the Mavericks, league sources said.

Dallas has also searched for deals that would include veteran Wes Matthews, who is making $18.6 million in the final year of his contract, league sources said.

Don’t be so sure Phoenix is a potential destination, according to the well-connected John Gambadoro.

How good a full-time point guard Smith would make is up for debate. He is unquestionably a fantastic athlete (which is why he dominated Summer League fresh out of college in 2017), he has a tremendous first step, can get to the rim and has finished well. However, his decision making had a long way to go — as it does with a lot of young players, but Smith frustrated coach Rick Carlisle — and his outside shot was bad enough that teams played off him and dared him to shoot.

That shot improved this season — 12.6 points a game shooting 37.5 percent from three — but Smith struggled to find a comfort level working off the ball.

Orlando and Phoenix aren’t going to surrender equal value here — Dallas isn’t getting a No. 9 pick back, which is where Smith was drafted — but both are desperate for a point guard (meaning maybe they overpay), and they can provide salary relief plus an asset or two.

Expect this trade to get done in the next few weeks, before the Feb. 7 deadline.

Dallas’ J.J. Barea has season-ending Achilles tear

Getty Images
2 Comments

ASSOCIATED PRESS — A person with direct knowledge of the injury says Dallas guard J.J. Barea has a torn right Achilles tendon, a season-ending setback for a key Mavericks’ reserve.

Other reports have confirmed this news.

Barea was injured in the second half of the Mavericks’ 119-115 win at Minnesota on Friday night.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Saturday because the team hadn’t announced an update on Barea’s condition.

The 34-year-old Barea was averaging 10.9 points and a team-high 5.6 assists per game as a key part of the second unit for Dallas. The injury is likely to mean a significant increase in playing time for rookie Jalen Brunson, a two-time NCAA champion at Villanova and a second-round draft pick.

Barea is in his second stint with the Mavericks after being a catalyst for Dallas’ rally from a 2-1 deficit in the 2011 NBA Finals against Miami. The Mavericks won the franchise’s only title in six games.

Report: Mavericks re-signing Yogi Ferrell for less than qualifying-offer salary with second year unguaranteed

Abbie Parr/Getty Images
3 Comments

The Mavericks expected Yogi Ferrell to accept his qualifying offer.

Turns out, they’ll keep him on an even more team-friendly deal than the one he could have unilaterally signed.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

This is an awful deal for Ferrell.

As reported, he’ll earn between $2,548,077 and $2,760,417 next season. That range is less than his qualifying offer – which would have paid him a fully guaranteed $2,919,204 next season.

That reduction is acceptable if Ferrell got something in exchange – but he gave Dallas the concession by adding an unguaranteed second year. If he plays well, the Mavericks will keep him at a cheap salary. If he doesn’t, they’ll waive him for no cost. They have all the control.

The promise of the backup shooting guard job is probably just lip service. Teams don’t stick by that if the player struggles. If he produces, he would have gotten the job anyway.

Dallas has plenty of point guard types – Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, J.J Barea, Jalen Brunson and Ferrell. Rick Carlisle uses two of them simultaneously often enough that Ferrell should land in the rotation. But it’s far from a lock.

With this deal, Ferrell is taking all the risk and the Mavericks are getting all the upside.