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Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Larry Bird reaches out to new No. 25

By Jeff Caplan


ORLANDO, Fla. -- On the Dallas Mavericks' first possession of the fourth quarter, Dirk Nowitzki sized up a 3-pointer and knocked it down. Those three points knocked Boston Celtics great Larry Bird down to 26th and Nowitzki up to 25th on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

Larry Legend well was aware of the situation.

"I just got a text message from Larry right as the game ended saying to congratulate Dirk and that he's always been a huge fan," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "They'e had a chance to spend some time together. I'm sure he's going to text Dirk and I'm sure that will be very meaningful for Dirk."

Nowitzki, though, had yet to turn on his cell phone as he dressed following the Mavs' 105-99 win over the Orlando Magic Tuesday night for a back-to-back sweep of the Florida teams. Nowitzki scored eight points in the opening seven minutes, then went more than 17 minutes without a point.

He finally hit the big shot with 11:18 to go in the fourth quarter.

"I actually started off kind of hot and then just never got going anymore," Nowitzki said. "It's obviously an unbelievable accomplishment to a be a top-25 scorer in an amazing league with an amazing history, amazing players, so yeah, it's an unbelievable accomplishment."

Nowitzki won't stay at No. 25 for long. He's just 16 points from passing Gary Payton for the No. 24 spot. The Mavs next play at Oklahoma City on Monday.

According to a source on the team bus, Nowitzki did that get text message.