There were only three NBA games Tuesday night, but all three provided us something to celebrate. Dirk Nowitzki scored his 30,000 career points, reminding us just how incredible his career has been.
The Phoenix Suns’ gorilla seemed to momentarily forget where he was.
Oh and Russell Westbrook? He does what he wants.
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Dirk Nowtizki scores his 30,000th point
We don’t really talk enough about how great Dirk Nowitzki is. He’s been one of the best players in the NBA for going on two decades, he’s made 13 All-Star teams, he’s got an MVP award and a championship ring. And as of Wednesday night, he’s got 30,000 career points.
THE SHOT HEARD AROUND THE AAC! CONGRATS ON 30K DIRK!! ?? pic.twitter.com/r8QoozVmxZ
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 8, 2017
In case you need some context on what 30,000 points means, that’s more than Shaq, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon or Moses Malone scored. It’s seventh most all-time, behind only Kareem, Karl Malone, Kobe, M.J., Wilt and Dr. J.
Dirk didn’t limp to 30,000 either. He did it in the midst of scoring 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while adding 11 rebounds good good measure. Oh and the Mavericks beat the Lakers 122-111.
After scoring that 30,000th point, on a classic Dirk fadeaway nonetheless, the Mavericks ran a touching tribute on the video board at the American Airlines Center.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) March 8, 2017
Meanwhile, Dirk’s longtime shooting coach was on the verge of tears.
You live for moments like this.
— NBA (@NBA) March 8, 2017
And LeBron James, who is likely to get to 30,000 some time next season, chimed in on his off day with a hearty congratulations.
— SLAM Magazine (@SLAMonline) March 8, 2017
Congrats to Dirk Nowitzki, who is truly one of the best basketball players of our time—and of all-time.
Russell Westbrook goes off in Thunder loss to Trail Blazers
Tuesday night’s Thunder-Blazers game likely served as a Rorschach Test for how you view Russell Westbrook.
If you think Westbrook is a viable MVP contender, you saw him put up 58 points in a 126-121 OKC loss to Portland and shook your head that his teammates couldn’t come through for him. If you think he’s an overrated ball hog, you lamented that all the stats in the world don’t mean anything in a loss.
But let’s just marvel at this stat line: 58 points, 21-of-39, 13-16 from the free-throw line. On the other hand, Westbrook had only nine assists, three rebounds, three steals and a block.
Westbrook’s 58 set a career high and tied the all-time Sonics/Thunder record.
Russell Westbrook sets a new career-high 56 points against the Trail Blazers. pic.twitter.com/cd2aAhyA0c
— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) March 8, 2017
This game was basically Westbrook’s MVP candidacy in a nutshell: The numbers were gaudy, but the team results weren’t there.
Even if you think Westbrook is overrated, despite the fact he’s averaging a freaking triple-double, you have to feel for him a little when you look at Tuesday’s box score. Twelve players got in the game for the Thunder, and only one besides Westbrook scored at least 12 points. No one grabbed double-digit rebounds. The team had 17 turnovers and only 16 assists and committed 25 personal fouls.
The Trail Blazers won with a balanced team effort. Six players scored in double figures and three (Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Allen Crabbe) put up at least 20.
It doesn’t look like Westbrook will win MVP—James Harden’s numbers are almost as crazy, and he’s on a better team—but we need to appreciate what an incredible season he is having.
– Now the moment you’ve been waiting for: What in holy hell was the Phoenix Suns’ gorilla mascot doing here?
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) March 8, 2017
– The World Baseball Classic rolled along Tuesday night (Wednesday in Tokyo), with Cuba beating China 6-0. One of the game’s stars was Yoenis Cespedes’ half-brother, Yoelkis.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 8, 2017
– Meanwhile, Team USA’s Chris Archer hopes the WBC will be a force for national unity. Good luck with that, Chris.
– Noah Syndergaard doesn’t mind bat-flipping. We need more pitchers with that attitude.
– Nike has developed a “Pro Hijab” for Muslim female athletes.
— Tom Woolf (@TJWoolf) March 7, 2017
– LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones is losing his job.
– Once known for its gimmicky “Dunk City” identity, Florida Gulf Coast is now somewhat of a powerhouse.
– Former Colts GM Bill Polian claims he had a first-round grade on Tom Brady. Of course, if that were actually the case, Brady wouldn’t have lasted until the sixth round.
– Defensive end Charles Johnson re-upped with the Carolina Panthers.
– Could Adrian Peterson sign with the Patriots?
– A five-year-old girl became the youngest ever National Spelling Bee contestant. What had you accomplished by age five?
One last moment of procrastination
Your lesson from last night: Never trust a guy in a gorilla suit.