Mar 22, 2016

    Nowitzki lifts Mavs with 40-point game

    GERMAN Dirk Nowitzki continues to pile up the years and the points.

    The NBA's sixth all-time leading scorer racked up a historic 40 points to carry the Dallas Mavericks past the Portland Trail Blazers 132-120 in overtime on Sunday at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

    The Mavericks (35-35) also halted a five-game home losing streak and clinched the season series against Portland (36-35) as both battle to make the play-offs.

    "We're still in the same position where we're fighting for our play-off lives," Nowitzki said after his 20th career 40-point game.

    "Our goal before the season was to make it into the play-offs.

    "We're still fighting for it.

    "We have a beast of a schedule coming up these last few weeks and we need every single game. This is a huge win for us against a team that's right there with us battling."

    The Blazers and Mavericks meet again tomorrow in Portland. Both teams are off until then.

    Nowitzki drilled a three-pointer to cap an 11-0 run to open the extra session.

    The 37-year-old former MVP hit 16-of-26 shots, including 3 of 5 from deep, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out four assists in 39 minutes.

    He became only the fourth player in NBA history to score at least 40 at age 37 or older. The others are Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.

    "Never underestimate greatness at any age; that's what I always say about guys like him," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said of Nowitzki.

    Portland coach Terry Stotts, a former Dallas assistant, was not surprised by the 40-point outburst.

    "Guarding Dirk in a pick-and-roll is difficult and it always has been," he said.

    "I know what a competitor he is and I know that he is someone who has these types of games."