Just in case you weren't already convinced Dirk Nowitzki was one of the greatest scorers in history, here's a milestone for your consideration.
Dirk Nowitzki surpassed Dominique Wilkins on NBA all-time scoring list for 11th place. Kobe surpassed Dominique in 2012— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) April 5, 2014
Congrats to Dirk on being 11th All-Time in scoring. Even at 35 years old, he keeps proving why he's one of the greatest PFs in the game.— MavsFanatic (@TheMavsFanatic) April 5, 2014
The 35-year-old Nowitzki finished the game with 27 points, taking his career-total to 26,678. Wilkins ended his career with 26,668.
Nowitzki's scoring comes at an important time for the Dallas Mavericks, who are currently battling the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns for a playoff spot in the West. Dirk has been powering the club all season long, averaging 21.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Nowitzki has been especially key lately, scoring 26 or more in each of his last three games, including 26 points Thursday night in a pivotal 113-107 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Lakers weren't as difficult a challenge, but getting the win amidst the tight Western Conference race was just as important.
Before the game, Nowitzki had some kind words for former teammate Steve Nash (per ESPNDallas' Tim MacMahon):
It’s tough, but it looks like he wants to try it again and I’m happy for him. I’m rooting for him. He’s obviously a very good friend of mine. I just hope his nerves or whatever are holding up and hopefully he can play another year.
Nowitzki looks plenty capable of playing at least another year, and probably more. According to MacMahon, Nowitzki's longtime mentor Holger Geschwindner recently said, "I guess if he's not seriously injured he can play three or four more years easily."
That's good news for the Mavericks, especially with the longtime fan favorite willing to take a considerable pay cut so that the organization can add some premier talent through free agency. Given the difficulty the team's had trying to make the postseason this time around, that extra talent couldn't hurt.