HOUSTON -- So many times Monday night at the Toyota Center, Dallas Mavericks forward looked around and saw that the Houston Rockets were defending him one-on-one.
In Nowitzki's world, that usually means the opponent is at a huge disadvantage. And that turned out to be the case several times against the Rockets as Nowitzki poured in a game-high 31 points to lead the Mavs to a 111-104 triumph over Houston.
So why did the Rockets decide to leave their players on an island to try and defend Nowitzki one-on-one?
“They had a lot of respect for our shooting at that point,” said Nowitzki, who made 11-of-18 shots. “So they were a little hesitant to double me, and I've got to take advantage of the matchups when they play me with 6-7, 6-8 guys and can shoot over them.
"That’s what I’ve been doing my whole career.”
Nowitzki tallied 18 of his points in the second half and passed Alex English to become the No. 13th all-time leading scorer in NBA history. He also had his coach praising him over and over again.
“He’s the great Dirk Nowitzki,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s one of the great players in the history of the game.
"The guy has changed the game with the way he plays -- the game is not the same. He changed the power forward game forever and it’s reflected in the modern game now.”
-- Dwain Price
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