The Mavericks have won the last two games Dirk Nowitzki cracked the 20-point mark: Friday’s win at Brooklyn and Wednesday’s home escape against Houston. Dallas lost six of the first seven times this season that Nowitzki -- who missed the season’s first 27 games after knee surgery -- scored 20 or more. Dirk has scored in the 20s five times in Dallas’ last seven games after getting there just four times in his first 24 games this season
The Lakers’ rally from 25 points down Wednesday night in New Orleans didn’t merely dent Dallas’ ever-fading playoff hopes. It dredged up bad memories of the Lakers’ unforgettable rally from 30 points down to beat the Mavs at home in December 2002, one of only two regular-season comebacks in Lakers history bigger than what they uncorked on the Hornets. No. 2 on the list is a Laker rally from 28 points down at Golden State in April 1999.
That’s actually the second time in two weeks we’ve been reminded of that epic fold in L.A. early in the 2002-03 season. The 25-point lead Dallas squandered last week in Memphis was Dallas’ biggest blown lead since that nightmare at Staples Center.
The five points Dallas scored in that fall-from-ahead loss to the Grizzlies accounted for the second-lowest scoring quarter in Mavs history, behind only their two-point third quarter against the Lakers in L.A. on April 6, 1997. (True side story: I still have a laminated copy of that third-quarter box score from the 1997 debacle to commemorate the occasion, since it was the first game I attended after agreeing to leave the Lakers beat at the Los Angeles Daily News to join the Dallas Morning News as their new Mavs beat writer.)
Need a little cheering up? It’s a pretty random feel-good factoid, true, but it came to our attention via ESPN Stats & Information after LeBron James' visit to Madison Square Garden on Sunday that Nowitzki still ranks as the fourth-highest visiting scorer at MSG (minimum 10 games) with an average of 27.2 ppg. That puts Dirk behind Michael Jordan (31.8 ppg), Kobe Bryant (30.7) and LeBron (29.5 ppg) ... and just ahead of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (27.0).
Tim MacMahon joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. A co-host of ESPN Dallas GameDay on 103.3 FM, Tim also covers the Cowboys and Rangers. He covered the local sports scene from high schools to pros during his six-year tenure at The Dallas Morning News. He is a UNT graduate.
Marc Stein began writing for ESPN.com in 2000 and signed on full-time in 2002 as Senior NBA Writer. He also makes regular appearances on "SportsCenter," "NBA Countdown," "NBA Tonight," "NBA Coast To Coast," ESPNEWS, ESPN "First Take" and ESPN Radio.