NBA

Dirk Nowitzki.

Dirk Nowitzki's joins Jordan, Kareem and Malone with unique achievement

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Dirk Nowitzki rolled back the years on Sunday night, scoring 40 points to help the Dallas Mavericks to a 132-120 overtime victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

It was a truly stunning performance by the 37-year-old star and, in fact, his high-scoring night saw him achieve something only three other players - all Hall of Famers - have done in NBA history.

As noted by Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo, Nowitzki became just the fourth player in the league to score 40 points in a game aged 37 or over.

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The illustrious group the German veteran joins? Only Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone - three of the best players ever to play the game.

Nowitzki finished last night's game having made 100-percent of his free throws (five-of-five), three of his five three-point attempts and was 16-of-26 from field goal range all told. It was the first time he had gone for 40 points since November 2014 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

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The fact he was able to repeat the trick just three months shy of his 38th birthday is a sign of Nowitzki's incredible longevity in the game. 

Consistent

In his 18th year in the NBA, the perennial All-Star remains incredibly consistent, averaging 18.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game and currently ranks sixth on the all-time scoring list with 29,320 points. 

Moreover, Sunday night's game was the eighth in a row in which Nowitzki has scored 20 or more points - his best such streak since early 2011.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Dallas Mavericks

The European star still has some way to go to surpass Jordan, Kareem and Malone when it comes to veteran scoring, however.

As noted by SB Nation, MJ achieved the '40 over 37' feat on eight separate occasions, while Abdul-Jabbar (four times) and Malone (twice) both did it more than once.

Humble

Despite his incredible achievement, Nowitzki himself was keen to avoid the limelight when speaking after Dallas' important win over Portland:

“D-Will set it all up with his aggressiveness and taking guys off the dribble,” Nowitzki told reporters. 

“He was in a great rhythm today. Salah really changed the game for us today. So I think this game has a couple of heroes.”

The German may be willing to play down his big night but, with the Mavericks desperately trying to hang on to one of the crucial playoff spots in the Western Conference, his 40-point night came at just the right time for the Texas franchise.

Given the way he is playing right now, you wouldn't bet against him repeating the feat in the weeks and months to come.

Topics:
Dirk Nowitzki
Dallas Mavericks
Southwest Division
Western Conference
NBA
Portland Trail Blazers
Northwest Division
Michael Jordan

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