NBA SOUTHWEST DIVISION REPORT
MEMPHIS — In the wake of the Golden State Warriors having carved out more history Tuesday night, among the NBA players who congratulated the world champs was Dallas Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki.
“They have a heckuva team,” Nowitzki, the 18-year veteran, told MemphiSport.com following the Mavs 110-96 loss at the Memphis Grizzlies. “I mean, they have everything you need. They have length. They have shooters. They have defenders. They’re really, really deep.”
Not to mention a team that erased a record that stood a little more than two decades.
With Tuesday’s 111-77 lopsided win against the Los Angeles Lakers in Oakland, the Warriors became the first team in NBA history to start the regular season by reeling off 16 consecutive wins, a feat that eclipsed 15-0 starts by the 1948-49 Washington Capitols the 1993-94 Houston Rockets.
What’s even more astounding is that the Warriors’ remarkable early-season display was highlighted by a 50-point drubbing of a Grizzlies team that has advanced to the postseason five consecutive seasons.
“You know, they’re a good team,” Nowitzki said. “Steph (Curry) is playing unbelievable basketball. But not only him. Like I said, they have a great, deep team and they defend. They have lineups to switch up everything.”
As for which team will pose as a threat and deal the Warriors their first regular season setback since a 103-100 loss April 7 at the New Orleans Pelicans capped a two-game winless streak is anybody’s guess.
That’s because four of Golden State’s next five games are against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year, meaning the team that could likely end the historic streak is the Toronto Raptors, who host the defending champs Dec. 5.
Still, whichever team manages to disrupt the Warriors’ impressive undefeated streak, it will have to play arguably its best game in some time against a team that plays this Run-N-Gun, high-powered brand of basketball the sports world hasn’t witnessed in some time.
“They can adjust to every stone that’s thrown at them,” Nowitzki said of the Warriors. “And that’s why they are the champs. They’re very deep and very good.”
DIRK REACHES ANOTHER MILESTONE
Even in the wake of the Mavs’ loss at Memphis Tuesday night in FedExForum that resulted in Dallas’ second straight defeat since reeling off a season-best five consecutive wins, Nowitzki had no idea he had added yet another milestone to his illustrious Hall of Fame career.
With 7:53 remaining in the fourth, a running 3-point jumper off an assist from Raymond Felton allowed Nowitzki to become the 17th player in NBA history to record 1,600 career three-pointers.
According to the 37-year-old German, he acknowledges such a feat comes during time in which he feels he’s playing efficient basketball.
Nowitzki, who entered Tuesday’s game leading the NBA in 3-point efficiency at 53.3 percent, connected on 2 of 5 from outside the arc against the Grizzlies.
“You know, it’s been a long ride,” Nowitzki, the Mavs all-time leading scorer, said of his latest accolade. “This is season 18 and, fortunately, I’ve been healthy. You know, there were actually years where I wasn’t shooting the ball as well as I wanted to. And this year, I’ve been having a decent rhythm and hopefully I can keep it up. You know, 1,600 threes, that’s a lot of threes, and hopefully there’s a few more to come.”
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.