Looking back at Dallas Mavericks GOAT Dirk Nowitzki’s first 40-point game
The Dallas Mavericks ended a decade long playoff drought when they qualified in 2001. They had a budding superstar in 22-year-old Dirk Nowitzki. He was flanked by Steve Nash, Michael Finley, and Juwan Howard who were all just entering their primes.
The Mavs were not satisfied with making the playoffs. They upset the Utah Jazz in the first round. That meant a Western Conference Semifinal matchup against the rival San Antonio Spurs led by Tim Duncan and David Robinson.
The Spurs defeated the Mavericks four to one in that series, but something special happened in the final game. Dirk dropped 40 points for the first time. Looking back at that night.
Dallas Mavericks GOAT Dirk Nowitzki dropped 40 for the first time in ’01 playoffs
Nowitzki had five 30-point games in his second NBA season in 1999-2000. He took another step forward and flirted with 40 on a few occasions the following year. Dirk had a then career-high 38 against the Magic in Jan. of 2001.
The Spurs dominated the Mavericks in the first three games of their playoff series that year. They won by at least 14 in every game. The Mavs needed something special from Dirk. He delivered in game four with 30 points while leading Dallas to a victory.
The series shifted back to San Antonio for game five. It was a rough night for Dallas. They were down by 11 points at the end of the first quarter and never caught up. The Mavericks went on to lose 105-87 as the Spurs took the series.
The only player that could get a basket for the Mavs was Dirk Nowitzki. The GOAT would not be denied. He had 11 of Dallas’ 21 points in the first quarter. Nowitzki kept building until he finished with 42 points, 18 rebounds, and six steals in over 46 minutes of action. Fans can see Dirk’s best plays from that game below.
That night was the first of 27 40-point games in Dirk Nowitzki’s career. Mark Aguirre is the only Maverick to have more than ten and only 14 players have done it once in the team’s history which dates back to 1981.
Add it to the long list of reasons why Dirk Nowitzki is the Mavericks GOAT. Hopefully, he is enjoying his retirement. Wishing you all the best Dirk.