Mavericks honor Dirk Nowitzki before hosting the Warriors
The Dallas Mavericks will share the limelight with the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday when Dirk Nowitzki’s # 41 jersey is retired.
Nowitzki retired as the Mavericks’ all-time leader in most categories in 2019, including points and rebounds. His total career score (31,560) ranks sixth on the NBA all-time list.
Nowitzki played all 21 of his NBA seasons with the Mavericks. The 14-time All-Star is also linked through his relationship with Don Nelson with the Warriors, the legendary Golden State trainer who staged the 1998 draft night takeover of the German star from the Milwaukee Bucks in Dallas.
“I admire Dirk and I absolutely love him for so many reasons,” said current Warriors coach Steve Kerr at the time of his retirement. “I love the way he plays. His way of carrying himself, he doesn’t take himself too seriously and still works incredibly hard at his craft. What a great combination.”
Nelson, who put together 422 of his NBA record of 1,335 coaching victories with the Warriors and 339 with the Mavericks, is expected at the ceremony. He was running the show at the Golden State when Stephen Curry was drafted in 2009.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver is also expected to attend the celebrations.
European compatriot Luka Doncic, the current face of the Mavericks franchise, said he was looking forward to the historic night.
“He’s done a lot of things, not just for people from Europe but in the United States,” said 22-year-old Doncic. “Everyone has the highest respect for him, the highest of everything. They simply enjoyed watching him play. Also in Europe. Especially the children. They grow up in Europe, they know Dirk. Everyone from Europe follows Dirk, so he has respect from everyone. “
The game consists of two teams who want to bring healthier squads into longer winning streaks.
Still awaiting the go-ahead for Klay Thompson and James Wiseman, the Warriors had every other player available on Monday as a formidable team effort overcame a rare night for Curry in a 115-108 home win over the Miami Heat.
Jordan Poole took 32 points against the heat in his second outing after a COVID-related absence of six games. Draymond Green has scored five points, eight rebounds, 13 assists and four blocks on his return from an absence of two games in the league’s log.
Curry was held at a season low of nine points for Golden State, which has won five of their last six games.
The Mavericks welcomed Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr. from the COVID-19 protocol with consecutive victories over the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets.
Doncic returned with a swing after missing 10 straight games while also sustaining an ankle injury. He averaged 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 12.5 assists in victories over the Thunder and Nuggets.
Hardaway returned to a total of 21 points in victories after a six-game break.
Dallas is left without Kristaps Porzingis, who was entered on the COVID logs prior to Sunday’s victory in Oklahoma City.
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