Dallas Mavericks: Magic Johnson

How privileged has Dirk Nowitzki been when it comes to point guards?

There are now five members of the 10,000-assist club. Nowitzki spent the majority of his career playing with two of them.

Nowitzki spent his first six seasons with Steve Nash, who has 10,005 assists after hitting the milestone in the Lakers’ loss last night. Nash dropped 797 regular-season dimes to Dirk, according to research done by ESPN Stats and Information.

Nowitzki spent four and a half seasons with Jason Kidd, who ranks behind only John Stockton in NBA history with 11,969 assists and counting. Kidd fed Nowitzki for 753 buckets.

The other members of the 10,000-assist club are Mark Jackson and Magic Johnson.

The four point guards currently on the Mavs’ roster have a total of 3,686 career assists: Mike James (1,919), Darren Collison (1,291), Rodrigue Beaubois (336) and Dominique Jones (140).
Jason Kidd will rest during the Mavs' regular-season finale, which means that he'll fail to record a triple-double in a season for the first time in his 18-year career.

Kidd came within one point of a triple-double earlier this month, when he had 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a win over the Golden State Warriors. His 107 career triple-doubles rank behind only Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson in NBA history and are more than the combined total of the next four active triple-double leaders (LeBron James, Grant Hill, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kidd's 17 consecutive seasons with a triple-double is by far the longest such streak in NBA history. Next on that list: Johnson (12), Robertson (11), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (10) and Larry Bird (9).

Likely lockout casualty: Mavs' 50-win streak

November, 26, 2011
11/26/11
10:00
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With a tentative labor agreement reached, it appears that the NBA season will be saved, at least in abbreviated form.

However, it’s extremely likely that the Mavs’ historic streak of 50-win seasons will be a lockout casualty. They’ve won at least 50 games in 11 straight seasons, joining only Bill Russell’s Celtics, Magic Johnson’s Lakers and Tim Duncan’s Spurs as franchise with double-digit 50-win seasons.

The odds of extending that streak to a dozen consecutive years, a feat accomplished only by Magic’s Lakers and the current Spurs runs, are slim with an expected 66-game schedule. The Mavs would essentially have to win at a normal 62-win pace – and they’ve won that many games only once in franchise history.

The Mavs’ priority at the end of the season will be ensuring that Jason Kidd and other veterans are as rested and prepared for a playoff run as possible, not chasing a milestone.

“I think I’ve said it the last couple of years: I’d rather trade it in for a championship,” Dirk Nowitzki said after the Mavs’ 50th win last season.

In a roundabout way, Nowitzki’s wish came true.

Where does Dirk rank among NBA legends?

May, 10, 2011
5/10/11
12:42
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DALLAS – Rick Carlisle’s take on Dirk Nowitzki’s place in NBA history is on the record.

"In my opinion, he's a top 10 player in NBA history because of the uniqueness of his game and how he's carried this franchise on his back for over a decade," Carlisle told "ESPN First Take" on Monday.

All due respect to Dirk, but that seems to be a slight exaggeration. There’s still plenty of time to prove his coach right – and it’ll take at least one title to do so – I’d rank Nowitzki somewhere in the upper teens or lower 20s right now.

Nowitzki ranks 23rd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, and he’ll likely end up in the top six by the time he finishes the four-year contract he signed last summer. But it’s not stepping out on a limb to suggest that some players who rank below him on that list – Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Tim Duncan, Julius Erving and John Stockton – are on a tier above Dirk among the league’s legends.

One man’s opinion on the top 10 players in NBA history at this point (and it’s assumed LeBron James will earn a spot here in the near future):

1. Michael Jordan
2. Wilt Chamberlain
3. Bill Russell
4. Magic Johnson
5. Larry Bird
6. Oscar Robertson
7. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
8. Tim Duncan
9. Kobe Bryant
10. Hakeem Olajuwon

Can Dirk crack a list that even Shaq didn’t? It’d take a phenomenal finish to his Hall of Fame career.

A King's triumvirate on Wade's turf: Boring.

June, 29, 2010
6/29/10
10:31
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This convergence of All-Star, Olympic gold medalists in South Beach, I just don't see it. It's not that I don't see it happening. If LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh want to team up, they will (as long as Pat Riley can shed Michael Beasley for the needed cap space).

I just don't see it working.

Who do they think they are, the Harlem Globetrotters, barnstorming the country, entertaining the masses, whistling "Sweet Georgia Brown" while they ground the rest of the NBA into the Washington Wizards, er, Generals?

As a fallback, Wade, according to a story Monday from the South Florida Sun Sentinel, sources say will grant the Mavericks, among a few other teams, a sit-down. The Mavs are also angling to talk to LeBron.

As for the triumvirate, I just don't see it. Take LeBron or D-Wade and partner with power forward Bosh, yes, I'm buying. But, Wade and LeBron on the same team, on the same floor? Like Kobe Bryant, neither is a point guard -- and technically, LeBron and Wade play different positions -- but each transcends the boundary of positions and each is the dominant ballhandler and creator on their respective teams.

Could Jordan and Kobe have co-existed? Jordan and Magic? Magic and Kobe?

How would that work? This isn't a one-time All-Star Game or a two-week Olympic showcase. It's 82 regular-season games of grinds and personalities and egos, and the ultimate pressure to win titles season after season or be doomed to overwhelming failure.

While a LeBron-Wade-Bosh squad is intriguing for obvious reasons, such a trio is bad for the game. It's boring. The NBA doesn't need it's collection of top talent colluding to join forces.

It would be far more interesting for LeBron and Wade to determine where each could go to create the most vibrant rivalry.

The NBA needs heated rivalries and rivals, not a concocted psuedo-dynasty among friends.

Inside the numbers: Elimination edition

April, 30, 2010
4/30/10
8:34
AM CT
Inside the numbers of the Mavericks’ 97-87 Game 6 loss in San Antonio on Thursday night in what wound up as their final game of the 2009-10 season:

* Dirk Nowitzki's 33 points, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, give him six 30-point playoff games at the AT&T Center, tops among visiting players ahead of the Suns’ Amare Stoudemire (five) and the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (four).

* Elias also reports that it was the 13th time in Nowitzki’s career that he scored 30 or more points in a playoff game in which his team faced elimination. Only two other players in NBA history have scored 30 or more points in as many win-or-go-home games: Jerry West (14) and Wilt Chamberlain (13).

* The Mavericks, tops in the NBA during the regular season with a road record of 27-14, have lost 16 of their last 18 playoff games on the road.

* Dallas’ eight points in the first quarter tied the NBA’s record playoff first-quarter low in the shot-clock era (since 1954–55), matching Utah’s eight points in the first quarter against the Lakers on May 8, 1988.

* San Antonio outscored Dallas, 22-4, off turnovers and got 17 second-half points from George Hill.

* Mavs rookie Roddy Beaubois had five points in the first five games of the series before scoring 16 points in Game 6.

*Dallas’ Jason Kidd finished the postseason with 1,062 career playoff assists, tied with Larry Bird for the No. 3 spot in league history. Kidd, though, reached the total in only 121 playoffs. Bird needed 164. Magic Johnson is No. 1 all-time with 2,346 career playoff assists, followed by John Stockton with 1,839.

* The Spurs are 3-1 at home in the Tim Duncan era in Game 6s at home with a 3-2 series lead. The only loss occurred during the 2005 NBA Finals to Detroit, but San Antonio also had the luxury of playing Game 7 at home in that series and won it.

* Duncan, according to Elias, has now won 25 playoff series in his career, more than any other active player besides Shaquille O'Neal (32), Derek Fisher (29) and Kobe Bryant (27).

* The Spurs are still alive in their quest to be just the fourth NBA franchise – along with the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls – to win a fifth championship. A team seeded No. 7 in the playoffs has never won it all, but how many No. 7 seeds in NBA history have won four championships in the preceding 11 seasons?

“Give them a lot of credit,” Mavericks guard Jason Terry said. “That’s a first-class organization. They earned it. They deserved it. Nobody gave them a chance in this series and they proved everybody wrong.”

Said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle: “The West is so deep. There were no favorable matchups per se.”

Mavericks' loss, by the numbers

April, 22, 2010
4/22/10
8:48
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A few numbers of note from the Mavericks’ 102-88 Game 2 loss to the Spurs on Wednesday night:

* The defeat ends a Dallas run of six successive home victories over San Antonio in the regular season and postseason.

* Tim Duncan’s 17 rebounds are tied with Portland’s Marcus Camby and Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace for the single-game league high so far in the 2010 playoffs.

*With 25 points to go with those 17 boards, Duncan recorded his 29th career 25-point, 15-board game in the playoffs, which is No. 2 among active players behind Cleveland’s Shaquille O’Neal.

*In Game 1, San Antonio racked up 17 turnovers and was called for 28 fouls. In Game 2? Nine and 15, respectively.

* With 24 more assists this postseason, Mavericks guard Jason Kidd (1,039) will pass Scottie Pippen (1,048) and Larry Bird (1,062) to move into third all-time for most career assists in the playoffs. Magic Johnson is No. 1 with 2,346 assists in 190 career playoff games, followed by John Stockton’s 1,839 assists in 182 playoff games.

* In Game 1, Dirk Nowitzki shot 10-for-12 from the field on shots from 6 feet out or longer. In Game 2, Nowitzki was 5-for-17 from that range.

Kidd's triple-double was one for ages

April, 11, 2010
4/11/10
6:29
PM CT
Jason Kidd turned 37 on March 23.

It took him all of 19 days to become just the third player in league history to register a triple-double at that age.

Utah’s Karl Malone did it as a 40-year old early in the 2003-04 season. Elvin Hayes had one at 38 with Houston on April 13, 1984.

And then there’s Kidd.

Eleven points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds in Saturday’s 126-108 rout at Sacramento gave the Mavericks’ point guard 105 career triple-doubles, behind only Oscar Robertson’s 181 and Magic Johnson’s 138 on the all-time list.

John Stockton had one triple-double in a playoff game for the Jazz at age 39 -- against Dallas in the teams’ memorable first-round clash in 2001 -- but never in a regular-season game.

Historic 50-win run missing something

March, 31, 2010
3/31/10
11:20
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The Mavs’ historic streak of 50-win seasons, which will be extended with their next victory, comes with a painful reminder.

There hasn’t been a championship parade in downtown Dallas during the last decade.

With a win in Memphis tonight, the Mavs will move their 50-win season streak to double digits. To put that achievement into perspective, consider that it’s only happened three times in NBA history.

Magic Johnson’s Los Angeles Lakers won five titles during their 12-season run of 50-win campaigns from 1979-80 to ’90-91. Bill Russell’s Boston Celtics won eight titles during their 10-season run from 1958-59 to ’67-68. Tim Duncan’s San Antonio Spurs’ active 10-season run, which is in serious jeopardy of ending, featured three championships plus another in the lockout-shortened previous season.

“It’s definitely a fun accomplishment, but I’d rather have a ring and have one 50-win season,” Dirk Nowitzki said. “I’d rather trade that all, but unfortunately I can’t.”

Nevertheless, the streak is a source of tremendous pride, particularly for the men who have been part of it since the beginning. That’s not a long list.

Nowitzki is the only player who has been a constant on the roster during the run, which has spanned three head coaches. Owner Mark Cuban, president of basketball operations and a handful of front office members and assistant coaches have also stuck around from the start.

The fact that this streak started immediately after the Mavs had 10 consecutive losing campaigns – and in Cuban’s first full season as an owner -- makes it even more amazing.

“It means Dirk’s a great player, we’ve been able to surround him with some great players, and I’ve been willing to lose a [beep]load of money,” Cuban said.

Cuban becomes sarcastic and defensive when the lack of championships is mentioned, snapping that he prefers it this way because it makes the Mavs unique among their historical peers. He avoids commenting on the subject of the 2006 Finals these days, but you’ll never be able to convince Cuban that the Mavs weren’t robbed of that championship by poor (or worse, crooked) refereeing.

Yet Cuban also believes the Mavs’ window of opportunity will be open for several more years, with the expectations that Dirk has a lot of elite basketball left in him and the front office will continue to find ways to surround him with a solid core.

“Hopefully we’re going to keep it going for many more years and have many more shots,” Cuban said.

The Mavs 50-win run puts them in the company of basketball royalty, but they're determined to join the less exclusive club of NBA champions. The Mavs are a proud franchise, but far from satisfied.

Kidd's triple-double was magical

February, 27, 2010
2/27/10
12:04
PM CT
Jason Kidd's savvy collision with Atlanta coach Mike Woodson, drawing a technical foul that helped force overtime, has overshadowed one of the rarest statistical feats of the season.

Don't hold your breath for another 19-point, 17-assist, 16-rebound performance.

Nobody has had 15/15/15 since 1996. That's when a 22-year-old Kidd stuffed the box score for 21 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists in a win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

That came seven seasons after the last 15/15/15 game. A guy named Magic Johnson did it twice in April 1989.

Welcome to the NBA All-Star Game

February, 14, 2010
2/14/10
7:24
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- We're at the NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium.

The venue looks great. The giant video board is a blocked punt above the elevated floor, and the place is filling up.

There are celebrities in the place, including Chris Tucker, Magic Johnson, Common and Jesse Jackson.

R&B singer Usher is singing.

NBA commissioner David Stern expects upwards of 92,000 fans to be here.

The national anthem should be forthcoming.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Dirk Nowitzki
PTS AST STL MIN
21.7 2.7 0.9 32.9
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsS. Marion 6.5
AssistsM. Ellis 5.7
StealsM. Ellis 1.7
BlocksB. Wright 0.9