Dirk Nowitzki has played for no other team but the Dallas Mavericks in a 19-year NBA career. Russell Westbrook has played for no other team but the Oklahoma City Thunder and is now in his ninth season.
On Tuesday night, Nowitzki scored 25 points in the Mavs’ 122-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, surpassing 30,000 career points. He’s only the sixth player to reach that stratospheric total and the third to score that many with one franchise (Kobe Bryant did it with the Lakers, Karl Malone did it with the Utah Jazz before sneaking in one final season with the Lakers).
Nowitzki, in his nearly two decades in Dallas, has led the Mavericks to 15 playoff berths, two NBA Finals berths and their only championship (in 2011). At 27-36, the Mavericks are two games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot and unlikely to duplicate any past glory.
Westbrook, the mercurial guard, scored 58 points on Tuesday night to tie the franchise record and couldn’t even squeeze a win out of it. The Thunder lost 126-121 to the Portland Trail Blazers, meaning Westbrook scored nearly half of his team’s points in a defeat. The Thunder, at 35-29, have lost four in a row and six of 10 while clinging now to the seventh playoff spot in the Western Conference. Westbrook’s career point total: 14,650. In 10 years he could possibly reach the same milestone as Nowitzki, who is 38 and may well play another year.
Great players make the impossible possible, doing the unimaginable. Nowitzki and Westbrook were both remarkable on Tuesday night, but one’s feat will long be remembered and the other’s will be a mere feat-note.
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman
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