LAST HOME GAME FOR NOWITZKI, TRIPLE-DOUBLE FOR DONČIĆ
DALLAS -After 21 years playing for one team Dirk Nowitzki played his last game at American Airline Center on Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns. 40-year-old lead Dallas to a 120-109 victory and then announced his retirement. Nowitzki scored a season-high 30 points in almost 33 minutes and became the oldest NBA player to score 30 points.
“As you might expect,” Nowitzki told the sold-out crowd at American Airlines Center, “This was my last home game. This is obviously super, super emotional. Just too many people to really thank. I put you guys on a helluva ride with a lot of ups and downs, and you guys always stuck with me and supported me, so I appreciate it.”
All night the team tried to help Dirk to score, he took the first eight Dallas shots and scored his team’s first 10 points in the first three minutes. His final basket at home was his signature one-legged fadeaway from just above the free throw line in the final two minutes.
Nowitzki was surprised and overwhelmed when five of his childhood hoops heroes Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf walked out to midcourt and each delivered brief tribute messages. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and owner Mark Cuban also gave speeches honoring Nowitzki.
Nowitzki will play his last game on Wednesday in San Antonio.
Luka Dončić collected his eighth triple-double and saved the Mavs down the stretch with some key baskets. He finished the game with 21 points, a career-high tying 16 rebounds and 11 assists. “It was something special,” Dončić said. “He totally deserved it. I was emotional. I think the whole team was emotional, so I imagine he was. It was a great day. He deserves all of it.”