Evergreen forward Nowitzki continues to thrive at top level

Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:34pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Dirk Nowitzki may be in the twilight of a remarkable career but the 35-year-old German giant continues to put up statistics that reflect his stature as the best European to play in the National Basketball Association.

The 7-foot Dallas Mavericks forward has long been renowned for his shooting accuracy and unique one-legged fadeaway, and ranks 13th in the league's all-time scoring list with 25,882 career points.

Nowitzki scored a team-high 27 points for Dallas in a wild 129-127 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday and his fellow players expect him to be a significant and inspirational presence in the NBA for at least another four or five years.

"He really changes the game," backup forward Brandan Wright, 26, told Reuters about the influential German after scoring 13 points on six-of-seven shooting against the host Clippers at a packed Staples Center.

"He's seven foot and shooting the ball like that, he has to be accounted for. He can fill it up and score from anywhere on the court - from three-point range, going to the block and he can work the mid-range really well.

"When he's stroking it in with the (three-pointer) and the deep two-point shots, he's pretty much unguardable. And even better, he's a great teammate. Superstars can be a little different but he's a guy that you want to be around."

Asked how long he expected to see Nowitzki continuing to flourish as a top NBA player, Wright replied: "I think he can play to a high level for another four or five years.

"If he takes care of himself, I think he can play as long as he wants. Obviously Father Time catches up with all of us. He still has a nice chunk of career left if he wants it."   Continued...

January 15, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) attempts a three point basket against the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half at Staples Center. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports