DALLAS -- Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki became the 13th player in NBA history Wednesday night to score as many as 26,000 career points.
But it was just a consolation prize as the Mavs dropped a 117-115 decision to the Houston Rockets at American Airlines Center.
Nowitzki came in needing just 16 points to join the exclusive 26,000-point club. He finished with 38 points and a season-high 17 rebounds, but was in no mood to bask in the glory of any individual accomplishments.
"I've always said numbers don't mean anything in a loss, so it really means nothing,'' Nowitzki said. "We should have found a way to kind of win this one.''
The Mavs loss, Nowitzki knows, because their defense basically took the night off.
"Our defense was horrible all night,'' Nowitzki said. "Every time down somebody (from the Rockets) was in the paint laying the ball up.
"If you give up 117 at the house you're going to lose.''
So how do the Mavs (26-21) make improvements on defense?
"You've got to have some pride and try to guard your man a little better and we've got to help,'' Nowitzki said. "We know we don't have the individual greatest defenders in this league, so we've got to make it five guys got to scramble and work together.''
-- Dwain Price
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