SALT LAKE CITY — Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle admits it takes a lot to impress him.
Dirk Nowitzki managed the feat Tuesday night.
The Mavericks forward scored 21 points and moved into the No. 10 spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in the Dallas Mavericks’ 95-83 victory over the Utah Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.
“This is my 30th year in the NBA and one of the few times I’ve truly been in awe of an accomplishment,” Carlisle said. “(Becoming one of the) top 10 all-time scorers is an unbelievable accomplishment because it’s a level of excellence that’s beyond belief.”
All the better for Dallas, it came in another big win.
The Mavericks took a 39-25 lead after hitting 16 of 17 field goals (94.1 percent) in the first quarter, and they were never threatened after that.
Nowitzki finished 9-for-11 from the floor, helping the Mavericks wrap up a 4-0 road trip.
The win pushed Dallas (48-31) within one game of the idle Golden State
Warriors (48-29) for the sixth spot in the Western Conference standings. Phoenix (46-31) trails No. 7 Dallas by one game, while the Memphis Grizzlies (45-32) remain on the outside looking in, a game behind the Suns.
“We knew they were a very physical team, and we wanted to set the tone a little bit,” Nowitzki said. “I think we were on fire shooting the ball the entire first half.”
Nowitzki needed 18 points to replace Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson (26,710) in the 10th position of the NBA’s scoring list. The Dallas forward now has 26,714 points in 16 seasons. Next on the list is Houston Rockets great Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946).
“It’s been a crazy ride, passing Big O. … It’s unbelievable,” Nowitzki said. “It kind of feels surreal still. … I knew how many points I needed, but I wasn’t trying to think about it. I was just trying to think about the next shot, how I can get open.”
Guard Monta Ellis scored 16 points for the Mavericks, while forward Shawn Marion, center Samuel Dalembert and guard Jose Calderon each chipped in 10 points.
Dallas cooled off from its blistering start but still shot 55.6 percent for the game. The Mavs cruised to a win despite scoring just 34 points in the second half.
“Give them a lot of credit. They shot the ball extremely well,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “They didn’t seem like they were missing any shots in that first quarter. After that, we did a better job of staying closer to them.”
Jazz center Derrick Favors scored 19 points, and backup big man Enes Kanter hauled in a season-high 19 rebounds and added 15 points.
Utah (24-54) lost for the 18th time in 20 games.
“They just made shots. I don’t think we just played awful defense,” Jazz point guard Trey Burke said. “They hit open shots. Dirk hit shots.”
The Jazz shot just 41.4 percent, including a rough 4-for-24 outing from beyond the 3-point arc.
Utah turned it on late with a 13-4 run. The Jazz pulled within 92-83 with 1:59 remaining on a three-point play by Favors, but they couldn’t get any closer.
After winning twice in Los Angeles — against the Lakers and Clippers — and beating the Sacramento Kings and Jazz, Dallas returns home for important home games against the San Antonio Spurs (Thursday) and Phoenix (Saturday). The Mavs finish the regular season next Wednesday at Memphis.