On Wednesday night, the Dallas Mavericks honored Dirk Nowitzki by retiring his numb4r 41 jersey, but before that, a player who could also get his jersey retired one day, Luka Doncic, went to work against the team with the best record in the league, the Golden State Warriors(29-8).
Doncic had a game-high 26 points to go along with seven rebounds and a game-high eight assists as the Mavericks(20-18) defeated the Warriors 99-82 at American Airlines Center.
Dorian Finney-Smith added 17 points, nine rebounds, and two blocks, and Jalen Brunson extended his career-best double-figure scoring streak to 19 games with 15 points tonight.
Dallas, who held the Warriors to a season-low 82 points, has won four straight and five of their last six.
The Mavericks had a great defensive night and held Steph Curry to 14 points on 5/24 shooting.
“You know the Warriors are going to score. Steph [Curry] is going to make 3s,” Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd. “We just tried to make it as tough as possible and then, on the offensive end, take care of the ball. We felt our defense did a great job tonight and gave us a chance to win.”
Ironically, on the night Dirk Nowitzki’s number 41 was officially retired, Doncic’s point/rebound/assist stat line added up to 41.
“It was just an amazing night – one you will never forget,” Doncic said. “With the game – the Warriors are one of the best teams in the world right now, and we did an amazing job. And after that was even more special. To be there in the front row to see that was special.”
Doncic rolled his ankle near the end of the game, but according to him, he’s fine.
“I twisted it a little bit but not that bad,” he said. “I guess it will be OK. It just hurts a little bit, but I will be fine.”
It was a great night for the current Mavericks and a great night for Nowitzki, who is the only player in league history to play 21 seasons with the same franchise. In addition, the 14-time All-Star led the Mavericks to their only NBA championship in 2011 en route to being named Finals MVP.
Despite all the love, Nowitzki found a way to avoid shedding tears Wednesday night, but he was close.
“Yeah, some of the videos got me – which it’s a good thing I didn’t have to speak then and there,” Nowitzki said. “Super cool stuff, and I didn’t know we were doing a whole championship run and seeing some of those clips and the guys sitting there so proud – it was so cool. It’s funny. Yeah, it got me a little bit there, and Mark [Cuban] was speaking, and he got emotional, and that was a tough one.
“The kids said some really nice things when I had some tears in my eyes. But, my speech was finally good. I think I worked on it for weeks now, so in you’re head, you’re like, ‘what’s next? What’s next?’ and you’re kind of trying not to mess up, but then the fans got me just like the other day at the press conference, just thinking about the support. Like I mentioned the other day, [I appreciate] how many people have come up to me and said they appreciated what I did for the city [and] for this organization, and that always gets me.”
Overall, January 5, 2022, was a good day for the Dallas Mavericks.