When you think about Dallas sports, you probably first think about the Dallas Cowboys. But it’s Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki who has undoubtedly been the city’s most popular athlete during the 2000s. With his 7-foot frame, unique playing style and sometimes floppy hair, it’s hard not to notice the big man from Germany.
On December 2, 2004, he ensured that he had the attention of not just Dallas, but the entire NBA community.
Shortly after the tip-off against the Houston Rockets, Nowitzki got in his groove. He nailed four straight shots from mid-range and never looked back.
Whether it was spotting up behind the three-point line, finishing a contact lay-up inside or hitting his patented fadeaway jumper from the post, Nowitzki could not be stopped all night long. You’d think the Rockets would have started playing tighter defense on him, right? And that’s what they did, but it resulted in numerous fouls and Nowitzki free throws. He knocked down 21 of his 22 attempts from the charity stripe.
But the Rockets weren’t going down without a fight. Rockets guard Tracy McGrady had a big game himself and finished with 48 points. Nowitzki’s career night wouldn’t carry the same weight if the Mavs couldn’t also get the victory.
With Nowitzki and McGrady going back and forth, trading buckets all game, the two teams entered overtime with the score at 93-93. At the end of regulation, the Mavs’ 7-footer had 43 points.
Once in overtime, Nowitzki continued his dominance. He scored every point in a 10-0 run to start the extra period for the Mavs. The team would hold on to win 113-106.
Nowitzki finished the night with a franchise record of 53 points. While 53 obviously jumps out on the stat sheet, Mavs fans shouldn’t forget his additional 16 rebounds, 3 steals, and 4 blocks. The German dominated every aspect of the game that night and showed that he is one of the best scorers in NBA history.