Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki's legendary NBA career took off during Oracle Arena debut

Dirk Nowitzki's legendary NBA career took off during Oracle Arena debut

On Tuesday night, the NBA said goodbye to one of its legends.

After 21 seasons, Dirk Nowitzki officially announced his retirement after pouring in 30 points in the Dallas Mavericks' win over the Phoenix Suns.

Nowitzki, a 14-time All-Star and the 2007 NBA MVP, was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks with the No. 9 pick in the 1998 NBA Draft but was sent to the Mavs in a multi-team trade that saw Dallas also land Steve Nash.

During his illustrious NBA career, Nowitzki took the Mavericks to 15 playoff appearances, including the franchise's first NBA Finals appearance in 2006 and its first title in 2011. He scored 31,540 career points, good for sixth all time and is widely regarded as one of the best power forwards to ever play the game.

Did we mention Dirk's legendary career got off the ground at Oracle Arena?

Nowitzki made his NBA debut on Feb. 5, 1999, against the Seattle Supersonics, scoring two points while going 0-for-5 from the floor.

His next game, at Oracle, was a different story.

Nowitzki's first NBA field goal was a baseline jumper over Warriors forward Jason Caffey that came off a pass from Mavs center Shawn Bradley. The young German prospect would go 6-for-10 from the field in his Oracle debut, tallying 16 points and 12 rebounds in 102-99 Mavericks win.

[RELATED: NBA playoff scenarios: Warriors' first-round opponent still undecided]

For 21 seasons, Nowitzki's patented one-legged fadeaway has been a staple of the NBA. He's endured heartbreaking losses (shoutout to the "We Believe Warriors" and Wade's 2006 Miami Heat), but it made his greatest triumph all the sweeter. During the 2011 NBA Finals, Nowitzki, surrounded by a team of talented role players that included J.J. Barea, Jason Terry, Shawn Marrion and an aging Peja Stojaković, went toe-to-toe with LeBron James, Wade and Chris Bosh's first "Heatles" team. Dirk vanquished them, averaging 26 points and 9.7 rebounds while earning NBA Finals MVP honors. 

In the era of the "Superteam," Dirk will likely be the last star to truly win a title without the help of other NBA legends.

It's fitting that in the same year the NBA says goodbye to Dirk, it also says goodbye to his biggest rival (Dwyane Wade) and the building that launched his Hall of Fame career.

Enjoy retirement, legend.

Warriors vs. Mavericks watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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AP

Warriors vs. Mavericks watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

OAKLAND – On Saturday afternoon, for one final time, Dirk Nowitzki will return to the scene of the crime.

Back in April 2007, Nowitzki was assaulted in public, right there on the floor of Oracle Arena. He and his Dallas Mavericks teammates were roughed up and kicked completely out of the playoffs by a marauding band of Warriors with more heart and fight than size and might.

Nearly 12 years later, Nowitzki will be making his final appearance at Oracle when the Mavericks, already eliminated from the playoffs, come upon the Warriors, who lead the Western Conference and stand 21.5 games ahead of Dallas in the standings.

Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 o’clock with Warriors Outsiders, followed by Warriors Pregame at 4:30, with tipoff scheduled for 5:30.

[RELATED: How to watch Mavericks-Warriors online and on MyTeams app]

Whereas the 2006-07 Warriors achieved one of the greatest upsets in NBA playoffs history, ousting top-seed Dallas with a 111-86 rout in Game 6 at Oracle, the current Warriors are heavily favored to not only beat the Mavericks but also make a fifth consecutive trip to The Finals.

The Warriors (49-22) have won four of their last five games and are showing signs of peaking for a postseason that begins in exactly three weeks, which half explains why Stephen Curry has been given a “rest night.”

The other half of the explanation is that Mavericks (28-44) are bound for the lottery, which isn’t the most fitting farewell for Nowitzki, who turns 41 in June and is expected to retire. Rookie sensation Luka Doncic is poised to inherit the torch in Dallas.

In any case, with the Warriors bound for Chase Center in October, it’s Dirk’s last dance at Oracle.

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F Kevin Durant
F Draymond Green
C DeMarcus Cousins
G Klay Thompson
G Quinn Cook

Mavericks

F Justin Jackson
F Maxi Kleber
C Dwight Powell
G Jalen Brunson
G Luka Doncic

 

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: C Andrew Bogut (rest), G Stephen Curry (rest), C Damian Jones (L pectoral surgery) and G Shaun Livingston (rest) are listed as out.

Mavericks: G J.J. Barea (R Achilles’ tendon surgery), Tim Hardaway Jr. (L tibia stress reaction) and F Kristaps Porzingis (L knee surgery rehab) are listed as out.

 

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: With Curry out, Cook is the most likely starter at PG. Kerr likes the idea of having at least three shooters on the floor and Cook qualifies. Starting him also would maintain the integrity of the rotation. It’s conceivable that rookie Jacob Evans III, summoned from Santa Cruz, could get a few minutes . . . Coach Steve Kerr’s decision to rest two PGs (Livingston being the other) is risky, as it leaves Andre Iguodala as the secondary playmaker. If Cook gets into foul trouble, Iguodala’s minutes could rise . . . With Bogut out, Kevon Looney and Jordan Bell likely will share minutes behind Cousins at C. PF Jonas Jerebko could see time at both PF and C . . . Durant is two 3-pointers away from surpassing Glen Rice (1,559) and moving into 25th place on the all-time list of triples . . . The Warriors have won 12 in a row over the Mavericks at Oracle.

Mavericks: Nowitzki is averaging 13.7 minutes per game and has exceeded 20 only once since March 2 . . . Doncic has won all four Rookie of the Month awards this season, making him the front-runner to be named Rookie of the Year . . . Now three weeks past his 20th birthday, he is showing signs of fatigue. He’s shot 37.8 percent, 23.1 percent from deep, over the past 10 games. His season percentages are 42.6 and 33.3 . . . Brunson, a rookie from Villanova, has four games with at least 20 points since the Feb. 14-20 All-Star break. He’s averaging 15.7 ppg and 30.3 mpg during since then . . . Powell also has benefitted from the post-break youth movement. His mpg have nearly doubled (18.5 to 32.2) as have his ppg (8.7 to 15.7) . . . The Warriors benefit from the absence of Barea, who has a tendency to play particularly well against them.

Officials: Eric Lewis (chief), Mark Ayotte, Matt Boland. 

Warriors vs. Mavericks live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

Warriors vs. Mavericks live stream: How to watch NBA game online, on TV

The Warriors look to keep their winning ways against the lottery-bound Mavericks, but it won't be easy. Golden State, clinging to the No. 1 seed in the West, will be resting Steph Curry, Shaun Livingston and Andrew Bogut against Dallas. 

After a mediocre stretch after the All-Star break, the Warriors have picked it up recently, winning four of the last five games. Without Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins will take on the bulk of the scoring responsibilities. 

The Mavericks come to Oakland in a free-fall, having lost 16 of their last 19 games. They are led by Rookie of the Year favorite Luka Doncic, who is averaging 21.0 points per game in his first season in the NBA.

This also likely will be Dirk Nowitzki's final game at Oracle Arena. After a 20-year career, the 40-year-old plans to retire after the season.

[RELATED: Draymond makes bold prediction about Warriors at Chase Center]

Here's how you can watch Warriors vs. Mavericks on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming online:

When: Saturday, March 23, at 5:30 p.m. PT (pregame at 4:30 p.m.)
TV channel: NBC Sports Bay Area
Live stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app