DALLAS — Forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 19 points to pass Jerry West on the NBA’s all-time scoring list while pushing his Dallas Mavericks to a 105-95 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.
Dallas (5-3) overcame an early nine-point deficit and controlled the game throughout the final three quarters. Swingman Vince Carter scored 16 points and hit four 3-pointers and center Samuel Dalembert scored 13 of his season-high 15 points in the first half as the Mavericks turned the early deficit into a 61-49 halftime lead.
Nowitzki passed West (25,192 points in 932 games) for 16th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list late in the third quarter after draining two 3-pointers, part of a 10-2 burst that helped Dallas take its lead back into double-digits, 88-79, heading into the fourth quarter.
Nowitzki, who played in his 1,116th career game, will soon be bearing down on Indiana Pacers great Reggie Miller (25,279) for 15th place.
“It’s nice, obviously, a great accomplishment. ‘The Logo’ kind of says it all and sums it up,” Nowitzki said. “It’s another great milestone, but for now, got to keep working, and that’s really about it. Like I always
say, all these milestones are great once my career is over.”
Nowitzki wore a sleeve over his left knee for the first time this season. He’s had issues the past few seasons with his right knee and underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee prior to last season, forcing him to miss 29 games, the most of his career. After Tuesday’s game, Nowitzki blew off questions as to why he opted to wear a sleeve over the left knee.
“I’ll be all right, yeah, I’ll be all right,” Nowitzki said. “We just passed six games in nine days, obviously, and had four [games] in five [days] before this.”
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle was asked if it was fitting that Nowitzki, in his 16th season, notched the milestone on a 3-pointer. Carlisle noted that West amassed his points without the benefit of a 3-point shot throughout his career.
“If there had been a 3-point line back then, this milestone would have come later — he would need more points,” Carlisle said. “It’s a monumental achievement to pass a player like that. He’s going to pass more big names in the weeks and months to come. This has been a fantastic career that Dirk has had. We’re going to do everything possible to extend it as long as possible.”
The Wizards made several mini-runs in the second half, slicing the Mavs’ 71-56 lead to 78-74 late in third quarter on a barrage of 3-pointers, including three in third quarter from forward Trevor Ariza, who finished with a game-high 26 points and five 3-pointers. But each time Washington got within striking distance, sloppy play — 17 turnovers — sabotaged the run.
Three consecutive Washington turnovers during a fourth-quarter stretch, plus four consecutive jumpers by guard Monta Ellis pushed Dallas’ lead to 99-87 and the Mavericks, now 4-0 at home, closed it out from there. Ellis rallied from a sluggish start to finish with 19 points and eight assists.
“We have to commit to playing defense. We are not playing any defense,” Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. “We are last in the league in points, last in the league in field-goal percentage. We have to get the at commitment of doing that. We don’t have that. I’ve got to figure out why and I have to figure out guys that are going to do it. What’s what it boils down to.”
The Wizards dropped to 2-5 and 0-2 on their current three-game road trip that closes out Wednesday night at red-hot San Antonio. Second-year guard Bradley Beal, coming off a career 34-point game Sunday, a heartbreaking overtime loss at Oklahoma City, struggled to get 12 points on 2-for-10 shooting. Point guard John Wall had 14 points, 10 assists and five rebounds.
“I don’t think as a team we were together collectively. We were just out there.” Beal said. “Nobody was talking and we’ve got to take full responsibility for that. It’s a learning lesson for us. … It all comes down to us getting stops. If we don’t get stops, sometimes we get down ourselves. Once they got going it was pretty hard to stop them.”
The Wizards led by as many as nine points in the first quarter while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor. The lead was short-lived as Washington’s bench was sorely outplayed by the Mavericks’ reserves. Carter scored 11 of his 16 points by halftime.
Dallas outscored Washington, 28-15, in the second quarter behind 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc from Carter and guard Jose Calderon.