Thursday, November 25, 2010
OKC is Dirk Nowitzki's kind of town
By Marc Stein
The first NBA game Dirk Nowitzki played was probably the worst game he ever played.
Dirk-watchers will never forget how hard it was for him to scrape together just two points in Seattle on Feb. 5, 1999 -- two measly free throws -- in his Mavericks debut against former Mav and Germany's then-No. 1 basketball export: Detlef Schrempf.
That memory, though, is only one reason Nowitzki will be one of the last guys to complain about the Sonics' move to Oklahoma City in 2008.
When the franchise was still in Seattle, Nowitzki averaged a mere 20.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in head-to-head meetings in the regular season. With 34 points in Dallas' impressive 111-103 comeback triumph at Oklahoma City, Nowitzki hiked his career averages against the Thunder to 33.8 points and 8.6 boards since OKC's relocation.
Miami's LeBron James is the league's only other player averaging at least 30 points per game against OKC since the franchise moved. The Elias Sports Bureau also reports that Nowitzki's performance Wednesday night marked the league-leading ninth time this season that he led all scorers -- from both teams -- in a game, one more than Denver's Carmelo Anthony and Toronto's Andrea Bargnani.