Dallas Mavericks: Alex English

'The great Dirk Nowitzki' dominating again

December, 23, 2013
12/23/13
11:12
PM CT
HOUSTON -- He is, as Rick Carlisle described the longtime face of the Dallas Mavericks’ franchise, "the great Dirk Nowitzki."

Perhaps there should be a "still" in that sentence. Better yet, make it an "again."

[+] EnlargeDirk Nowitzki
Bill Baptist/NBAE/Getty ImagesDirk Nowitzki passed Alex English for 13th on the NBAs all-time scoring list while leading the Mavericks to a 111-104 win over the Rockets.
He’s the great Dirk Nowitzki again.

There’s no doubt that Nowitzki had a couple of down seasons after carrying the Mavs to the franchise’s lone title in 2011. The balky right knee that required arthroscopic surgery before last season slowed down Dirk as well as any defender ever did. He still put up numbers that most power forwards would love to produce, but they were well below his Hall of Fame standards.

This season is different. With a clean bill of health and an upgraded supporting cast, the 35-year-old Nowitzki looks a lot like his old self again. He offered more evidence of that Monday night, lighting up the Houston Rockets for 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting while passing Alex English for 13th on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and leading the Mavs to a 111-104 win.

"Nothing seemed to work," Houston coach Kevin McHale said after describing several defensive approaches the Rockets attempted against Nowitzki.

Nowitzki is tied for 12th in the league in scoring this season with 21.5 points per game. That’s a little more than a point below his career average, but he’s a point ahead of his career per-36 minute pace. His shooting percentages -- 49.5 from the floor, 39.2 from 3-point range and 92.1 from the free throw line -- are all better than his career norms, too.

Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey, the defensive coordinator on Dallas' title team, said recently that Nowitzki looks "rejuvenated."

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsD. Nowitzki 6.2
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9