This season was without question about Dirk and the masterful end to his historic career. The reflection shouldn’t just end there as the Mavericks unpredictability kept the entire NBA community guessing. The residue of an emotional season is still here even as round two of the playoffs approach.
With that in mind here are the Mavericks top ten most memorable moments of the 2018-2019 NBA regular season….
10. Luka Doncic introduces himself to the league
October 20, 2018 vs Minnesota Timberwolves
Still unproven the Slovenian teenager joined forces with Dennis Smith Jr. to secure an early season win versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. Doncic poured in a game-high 26 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists while Smith Jr. pitched in a healthy 19 points, 6 assist and 3 rebounds. The highly touted duo brought to fruition many of the predictions floating around NBA circles. The victory proved just how formidable they could be in only the second game of the season. This aided in establishing the expectations that would later cause the team to accelerate its rebuild; and with good reason.
Luka Doncic put up 26 PTS in his first home game with the @dallasmavs ? #NBARooks pic.twitter.com/0hYx5Zou8p
— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) October 21, 2018
9. Harrison Barnes traded mid-game?
February 6, 2018 vs Charlotte Hornets
Saying goodbye is never easy but even more difficult when done in the spotlight. Midway through the second half of the game, Harrison Barnes was pulled as news broke of his anticipated trade to the Sacramento Kings. As the salacious nature of many assumptions subsided it became clear HB knew a trade was possible as the trade deadline was the next day. Harrison however, elected to play anyway. This once again speaks to his professionalism and high character which bars none. A footnote of the season but a prime example of its unpredictability.
8. Dirk’s last All-Star game
February 7, 2019 – Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina
The gift that keeps on giving. Dirk once again took MFFL’s on a journey to All-Star weekend when Adam Silver named him an honorary All-Star participant. Maverick fans were able to remain engaged throughout the NBA season because of the loyalty, class, and respect Dirk receives and most importantly deserves.
7. Dirk & D. Wade jersey swap
March 28, 2019 vs Miami Heat
The fight for the ultimate prize will always describe the intertwined careers of these all-time greats. The battle in 06′ is still a touchy subject for most MFFL’s which makes the 2011 victory even more special. Without one another they both acknowledge they would have never reached the NBA pinnacle. In their final game together they exchanged jerseys a familiar custom making its way around the league.
6. Luka closes out conference rival in the 4th
December 8, 2018 vs Houston Rockets
As the season progressed the significance of Luka Doncics’ age became progressively smaller. The collective skills of LD make moving on from the franchise’s greatest player a bit easier and more paramount. Versus the Rockets the yet to be announced Rookie of the Year scored the teams final 11 points securing an eventual victory against a surging Rockets team. Against the top 3 backcourt, the kid was able to produce and deliver on the hype. Doncic ended the game with 21 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 assist.
5. Mavs Trade for Kristaps Porzingis & company
January 31, 2019, Dallas, Texas
The Mavericks made Kristaps Porzingis a franchise cornerstone by virtually rescuing him from New York. The 2017-2018 All-Star tore his ACL days after he was announced to the squad and never played in that game or the next season. The 7’3″ Porzingis, who was the No. 4 overall pick of the 2015 Draft, averaged 17.8 points and 7.1 rebounds in 2017-18 with the Knicks. He is expected to fully recover from his injury and return to All-Star form. The Mavs brain trust will make signing him its number one priority this off-season. Accompanying KP were NBA veterans Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke. Their additions help sure up an aging backcourt that will also be addressed in the coming months.
4. Luka finishes season third All-Time among Rookie triple-doubles
April 9, 2019 vs. Phoenix Suns
There is no understating the importance of being a part of history. On this date Luka Doncic once again proved his ultimate value by recording his final triple-double of the season, eighth in total (21 points, 11 assist, 16 rebounds). He ends the season behind Ben Simmons and Oscar Robertson for the most triple-doubles recorded by a NBA rookie. To say NBA fans are excited about the future of Doncic is an understatement.
3. Luka wins Rookie of the Month, every Month of the season
As the season began the hype surrounding the former Euroleague MVP was minimal however the noise grew louder as his performances became more and more ridiculous. Buzzer beaters and triple-doubles filled NBA fans heads as we watched LD drain each step back three. The potential is apparent but what so many misses is the maturity of his game. Sporadic and inconsistent minutes at point guard never deterred his ability to control the flow of the game which is why Luka was awarded Western Conference Rookie of the Month every month of the season. If that’s not the Rookie of the Year I’m not sure what other criteria is needed. Believe me, we’ve gone over this before “Reassurance: Explaining What Should Be Understood”
2. Dirk passes Wilt Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list
March 18, 2019 vs New Orleans Pelicans
In an eventual overtime loss to the Pelicans, Dirk drained a 20-foot jump shot in the first quarter to pass Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA’s career scoring list. He concludes his historic career ranked 6th All-Time. The franchise’s best player did not disappoint giving MFFL’s a reason to cheer night in and night out.
1. Dirk’s last home game
April 9, 2019 vs Phoenix Suns
The memories are too many to count but we are here. The courageous and trend-setting career of Dirk Nowitzki has come to an end. In his final game, the former MVP put on a performance that can only be described as legendary. He leads the team to victory pouring in 30 points while snagging 8 boards. The performances didn’t stop them as he was peppered with praise from not just fans but his basketball mount Rushmore; Shawn Kemp, Charles Barkley, Detlef Schrempf, Scottie Pippen and Larry Bird. It was a well-deserved kings send off and the clear apex of the season. Once again Dirk: THANK YOU!!
Twitter: @NBADraft, @hbarnes YouTube: House of Highlights, Bleacher Report Stats: www.basketball-reference.com Photos: www.Mavs.com