Should Tim Duncan be classified as a power forward or a center?
There is no question that Nowitzki's name appears near the top of any list of all-time great power forwards.
As the two future Hall of Famers prepare to face each other in a playoff series for the sixth time, let’s take a look at how they stack up against each other statistically.
Games: Duncan 1,254; Nowitzki 1,188
Points: Nowitzki 26,786; Duncan 24,904
Points per game: Nowitzki 22.5; Duncan 19.9
Rebounds: Duncan 13,940; Nowitzki 9,594
Rebounds per game: Duncan 11.1; Nowitzki 8.1
Assists: Duncan 3,832; Nowitzki 3,139
Assists per game: Duncan 3.1; Nowitzki 2.6
Blocks: Duncan 2,715; Nowitzki 1,095
Blocks per game: Duncan 2.2; Nowitzki 0.9
Steals: Nowitzki 1,037; Duncan 915
Steals per game: Nowitzki 0.9; Duncan 0.7
Field goal percentage: Duncan 50.6; Nowitzki 47.6
3-point percentage: Nowitzki 38.3; Duncan 17.6
Games: Duncan 211; Nowitzki 128
Titles: Duncan 4; Nowitzki 1
NBA Finals appearances: Duncan 5; Nowitzki 2
Points: Duncan 4,614; Nowitzki 3,321
Points per game: Nowitzki 25.9; Duncan 21.9
Rebounds: Duncan 2,522; Nowitzki 1,314
Rebounds per game: Duncan 12.0; Nowitzki 10.3
Assists: Duncan 682; Nowitzki 329
Assists per game: Duncan 3.2; Nowitzki 2.6
Blocks: Duncan 516; Nowitzki 118
Blocks per game: Duncan 2.4; Nowitzki 0.9
Steals: Duncan 150; Nowitzki 139
Steals per game: Nowitzki 1.1; Duncan 0.7
Field goal percentage: Duncan 49.9; Nowitzki 46.3
3-point percentage: Nowitzki 38.0; Duncan 15.6
Games: Nowitzki 80; Duncan 74
Minutes per game: Nowitzki 32.9; Duncan 29.2
Points per game: Nowitzki 21.7; Duncan 15.1
Rebounds per game: Duncan 9.7; Nowitzki 6.2
Assists per game: Duncan 3.0; Nowitzki 2.7
Blocks per game: Duncan 1.9; Nowitzki 0.6
Steals per game: Nowitzki 0.9; Duncan 0.6
Field goal percentage: Nowitzki 49.7; Duncan 49.0
3-point percentage: Nowitzki 39.8; Duncan 0.0
All-Star appearances: Duncan 14; Nowitzki 12
MVP: Duncan 2; Nowitzki 1
Finals MVP: Duncan 3; Nowitzki 1
Rookie of the year: Duncan 1; Nowitzki 0
All-Defensive team: Duncan 14 (eight first team); Nowitzki 0
All-NBA: Duncan 14 (10 first team); Nowitzki 12 (four first team)
Player of the week: Duncan 22; Nowitzki 16
Player of the month: Nowitzki 6; Duncan 3
Regular season head-to-head
Points per game: Duncan 21.6; Nowitzki 21.3
Rebounds per game: Duncan 11.3; Nowitzki 8.3
Assists per game: Duncan 3.0; Nowitzki 2.4
Blocks per game: Duncan 1.8; Nowitzki 1.0
Steals per game: Nowitzki 0.8; Duncan 0.6
Field-goal percentage: Duncan 51.3; Nowitzki 45.6
3-point percentage: Duncan 40.0; Nowitzki 37.5
Wins: Duncan 31; Nowitzki 21
Points per game: Duncan 26.0; Nowitzki 24.5
Rebounds per game: Duncan 12.3; Nowitzki 10.1
Assists per game: Duncan 3.6; Nowitzki 2.3
Blocks per game: Duncan 1.9; Nowitzki 0.6
Steals per game: Nowitzki 1.3; Duncan 0.8
Field-goal percentage: Duncan 53.9; Nowitzki 49.8
3-point percentage: Nowitzki 22.9; Duncan 0.0
Wins: Duncan 14; Nowitzki 12
The Dallas Mavericks meeting the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs means we get the treat of watching living legends Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan compete against each other.
They don't necessarily match up against each other most of the time when the Mavs and Spurs play, but this is a historic occasion that should be appreciated by basketball fans around the world, not just up and down Interstate 35.
"It’s a showcase for two of the 12 greatest players of all time," Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. "Both of those guys have been more than 10-time All-Stars, league MVP and Finals MVP. There’s only a dozen guys that have done that and you got two of them. They still play like they’re in their prime, both those guys.
"So this is a treat for people who appreciate NBA basketball and the history of the game. You got two guys whose love and respect for the game is so high and their work ethic and standards are so high that they’ve kept it going in their mid-30s as well as anybody I’ve ever seen."
This will make a half-dozen times Dirk Nowitzki has seen the San Antonio Spurs in the playoffs. He’s felt some agony and some ecstasy in the previous five series against the Mavericks’ Interstate 35 rival, a four-time title-winning franchise that served as a roadblock on Dallas’ route through the West for years.
They are unforgettable highs and lows from those series from the Spurs, memories that are engrained in the minds of Mavs fans, as well as the face of the franchise.
This is how Nowitzki remembers those Mavs-Spurs series, as shared with ESPNDallas.com a day before he departs to start another series in San Antonio:
Series: West semifinals
Outcome: Spurs in five
Nowitzki’s numbers: 23.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 44.6 FG%
Down Memory Lane with Dirk: “We had no chance.
“We had just beaten Utah in the first round after being down 0-2. I remember when [Karl] Malone missed that last shot in Game 5, we were running around on the court like we won the championship. I mean, it was insane. I was lapping around the arena like twice. It was insane. So just for us to beat those guys, that’s how much respect we had for Utah and Malone and [John] Stockton.
“We lost the first two down there. I remember we went straight from Utah to San Antonio for the first one. It was pretty much over with. The second one, we were kind of around, but not really. And if you want to make a series of it, you’ve got to win Game 3. I remember I was sick. I had food poisoning that game, and then we’re down 0-3. That was basically it.
“We played hard in Game 4 and were able to steal one. The game we stole here, I came back in [after getting a tooth knocked out by a Terry Porter elbow] and we won the game. Then in Game 5, they were just so good defensively. Whatever we tried, they had counters. They were long in there with those two 7-footers. I mean, they were good.”
Series: West finals
Outcome: Spurs in six
Nowitzki’s numbers: 25.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 43.1 FG% in three games
Down Memory Lane with Dirk: “I remember we stole Game 1, which was amazing. We were 49-of-50 from the free throw line. That was an amazing, amazing game for us. Game 2, we lost and then here in Game 3 is a big game. Obviously, you want to hold home court, and that’s the game I got hurt.
“But looking back on my career now, it probably was the right decision. Nellie didn’t want me to play. I was young at the time. At this stage of my career, it probably would have made sense to play. I’m old, but then, even I felt it sometimes getting up in timeouts and stuff. It just wasn’t right, just didn’t feel right. Probably looking back on it now, it was the right decision, but it was tough.
“We go down there [for Game 5] and we’re thinking they might close us out. We steal that game. It’s 3-2 and we have a chance here to force Game 7. We were up  in the fourth.
“Nellie played small ball. We played Walt Williams at the 4 and just spread it out and let Nick [Van Exel] and Steve [Nash] drive, and it worked great. Then they subbed in Steve Kerr and he made like three or four 3s in that fourth quarter. They came back, and that was that.
“I don’t know, I might have tried to play in Game 7. You never know, but that was disappointing.”
Series: West semifinals
Outcome: Mavs in seven
Nowitzki’s numbers: 27.1 ppg, 13.3 rpg, 52.7 FG%
Down Memory Lane with Dirk: “Maybe the best over the course of seven games, the best series I’ve had in my career.
“Just felt locked in, felt in my prime and felt whatever coverage they’re doing, I can score on it. That’s how confident I was. What a great series.
“We win both home games here and went up 3-1, but that’s just how good they are. They just keep coming. They win down there and it’s 3-2. We try to close out here, and they just keep coming. They make it 3-3. Jet [Jason Terry] was suspended for one of those games for a little [groin] clip, so that was tough.
“I always remember Jet leaving Ginobili on the wing when Duncan was posting up on me, and he pulled the trigger. I looked when it was in the air -- boom! Bottoms! The place went absolutely nuts.
“Down three and I remember we had [32.9 seconds left], and I was thinking we were kind of in a similar situation in Game 6. We were down three and I shot a bad 3. I was thinking to myself and Avery even said it: ‘In this situation, don’t hoist a bad 3. Make sure you get to the basket. Anything can happen.’
“So I just spun and put my head down on [Bruce] Bowen and said, ‘I’m going to lay this in.’ We can foul again and at least extend the game. And Ginobili just left [Jerry Stackhouse] in the corner and came over and wanted to block it. I was able to kind of luckily muscle it over a little bit. It hit the rim and bounced in. That was probably one of the biggest plays of my career. Made the free throw.
“I don’t think I scored again in overtime. [He actually hit two free throws to put the Mavs up eight with 9.9 seconds left, giving him 37 points for the game.] The boys were great. We subbed in Gana [Diop] and he made some big stops on Duncan. He had one or two big offensive rebounds. Stack made two pull-ups, I remember.
“Yeah, that was a fun game, fun series for me. I mean, to win a Game 7 in that building is about as sweet as it gets for me.”
Series: West first round
Outcome: Mavs in five
Nowitzki’s numbers: 19.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg, .493 FG%
Down Memory Lane with Dirk: “Ginobili was hurt and they really never had enough weapons to beat us that year. I don’t think they had enough weapons without him.
“We tried to take Duncan and [Tony] Parker out as much as we could, and it worked really well. With them without Ginobili, it made it a little easier.”
Series: West first round
Outcome: Spurs in six
Nowitzki’s numbers: 26.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 54.7 FG%
Down Memory Lane with Dirk: “It was a little messed up, because we’d just traded for Caron [Butler] and DeShawn [Stevenson] and [Brendan] Haywood and we were actually the No. 2 seed. They played without Ginobili most of the season, and right at the right time he gets healthy. They’re the 7 seed, we’re the 2 seed.
“That’s obviously a tough matchup for any 2 seed, to run into the Spurs healthy at the right time.
“We made some mistakes, but they were good. They were healthy at the right time.
“We wanted to win and force it here and at least force it to a Game 7. I remember we were so good on the road after we traded for these guys, and we just needed to win one road game. We lost all three games down there and that ultimately sealed it. They stole Game 2 up here and we figured we’ve got three chances to steal a game down there, because we’re pretty good on the road. They won all three down there, and that’s what ultimately lost us that series.”
That’s a fact the Mavs are trying to forget.
Shawn Marion said. “Don’t nobody have a victory in the postseason yet. So that’s our objective: Go out there and win the first game.”
Marion, the Mavs’ stopper, went into shutdown defense mode when the media attempted to delve into the specific challenges presented by a San Antonio squad that had the NBA’s best regular-season record.
“All I know is we play Sunday at 12 o’clock,” Marion said. “Y’all going to be there? Sounds good to me. I’m not saying nothing else. It’s a new season. That’s all that really matters. And we’re ready.”
There’s no denying that the Spurs have dominated Dallas recently, rolling to those nine straight wins by an average margin of almost 15 points. But there’s no point in the Mavs dwelling on just how slim their odds seem to be of winning this series.
Jose Calderon vs. Tony Parker: This is the biggest mismatch of the series. Calderon, a subpar defender, struggles to guard a lot of point guards. He really gets exploited by Parker, who averaged 23.3 points on 54.2 percent shooting in three games against the Mavs this season. That was Parker's highest scoring average against any team he faced more than once this season. Parker loves pushing the pace and running pick-and-rolls, both of which present major problems for Calderon, whose plus-minus was minus-40 in the Mavs' four losses to the Spurs, including minus-25 in 86 minutes with Parker on the floor. If Calderon isn't lighting it up from long range, coach Rick Carlisle should seriously consider giving Devin Harris a bigger share of the minutes.
Monta Ellis vs. Danny Green: On paper, this is the Mavs' best matchup. It hasn't worked out that way on the floor, however. Green is a lethal 3-point shooter who has especially lit it up against the Mavs, going 12-of-20 from long distance against Dallas this season. The numbers indicate he has also done a good job defending Ellis, who has shot only 38.9 percent from the field when Green is in the game. The Mavs have been outscored by 60 points in the 81 minutes in which Ellis and Green have both been on the court. The Mavs probably wouldn't be in the playoffs without Ellis, a better fit than the Dallas front office believed even when they signed him to a three-year, $25 million deal. They'll need a huge series from Ellis -- who seems to thrive under pressure -- to have a chance to pull off a stunning upset over the Spurs.
Shawn Marion vs. Kawhi Leonard: Leonard looks a lot like a young Marion -- a freakish, 6-foot-7 athlete who is a versatile defender and efficient offensive weapon. That's an awfully tough matchup for the 35-year-old version of "The Matrix." Leonard gets overshadowed by the Spurs' living legends on the roster, but he's a 22-year-old rising star. His all-around skills were on full display during the Spurs' recent trip to Dallas, on which Leonard stuffed the box score for 16 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. By comparison, Marion had a total of 21 points, 13 rebounds and two assists in three games against San Antonio this season.
Dirk Nowitzki vs. Tim Duncan: The two all-time greats don't actually match up with each other much these days, but it will be a treat to watch a pair of surefire Hall of Famers compete in a playoff series for the sixth time in their careers. The 37-year-old Duncan's numbers have dipped in recent seasons, but that's primarily because the priority for him is being as fresh as possible for the playoffs. He's still a dominant defensive presence and capable of putting up a 20-point, 15-rebound line, the way he did in the Spurs' last win over the Mavs. Nowitzki, an All-Star again this season after a one-year, injury-related hiatus, remains one of the most distinct and effective offensive threats in the league. However, Nowitzki has averaged only 15.4 points against the Spurs in the past three seasons, during which San Antonio has won 10 of 12 meetings.
We all know it.
The Spurs had the NBA's best record, and they've beaten the Mavs nine straight times. And know this: They were ahead by at least 15 points in seven of those nine wins.
The Spurs have the NBA's best coach, and they don't have the kind of defensive lapses and mental miscues the Mavs have at the end of games that often turn near victories into close losses.
The beauty of sport is the Mavs get an opportunity to prove me wrong ... and you, too.
The Mavs were the first No. 1 seed in NBA history to lose to a No. 8 seed in a best-of-seven playoff series, when the Golden State Warriors beat them in 2007.
Wouldn't it be ironic if the Mavs could pull off a similar upset over the Spurs? Now don't go wager a River Walk dinner at Boudro's bistro over the series outcome or place a legal wager on the Mavs to win.
But as my dad often says, "There's a reason why you play the game."
He's talking about Texas Western's upset over Kentucky in the 1966 NCAA hoops title game. The New York Jets over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team over Soviet Union.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban considers the sale price of approximately $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks to be a bargain, suggesting the true value of NBA franchises is north of $1 billion.
Longtime Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced Wednesday that he had reached an agreement to sell the team to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry, a deal subject to approval by the NBA and its board of governors.
"I think they got off cheap," Cuban said. "I think that was a bargain. I think it's worth a lot more. I think it's worth a lot more than that. I think someone got a bargain. You can't look backwards. You've got to look forward. You don't value teams based off what happened in the past."
In January, Forbes valued the Bucks at $405 million, the lowest among the NBA's 30 teams.
But Cuban, who paid a then-record $285 million for the Mavericks in 2000, believes the NBA is in the midst of a business boom. Asked whether the league should consider adding an expansion team, Cuban said he would be on board, as long as the price was steep.
"I'm not opposed to it," Cuban said. "This is just me talking, but we'd be crazy to sell it for under a billion dollars."
After that comment, Cuban grinned and did a Dr. Evil impersonation, sticking the tip of his pinkie finger in the corner of his mouth. However, he's completely serious about the subject.
"Let's just say I'm bullish on the NBA," Cuban said. "Call it the NBAIX, the NBA index. I think it's underpriced right now. I'd invest money in that ETF."
According to Forbes, the New York Knicks
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The battle for seventh place in the Western Conference went down to the wire, with five extra minutes needed to decide the fight between the Memphis Grizzlies and Dallas Mavericks.
Monta Ellis' wide-open 18-footer at the buzzer bounced off the back iron and off the rim, sending yellow and gold streamers down from the FedExForum ceiling and sentencing the Mavs to a first-round series against the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
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This time, however, the home team celebrated once the buzzer sounded.
Ellis missed a wide-open 18-footer in the final second of overtime, landing the Dallas Mavericks in the West's 8-seed after a 106-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Mavs ran the same play as they did when Ellis drilled a buzzer-beater to beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Dec. 7, just from the opposite sideline.
Once again, Ellis came off a pick and got wide open in the middle of the floor. It was the shot the Mavs wanted by the hot hand they hoped could win the game for them after Ellis had drilled a clutch 3 to tie it with 13 seconds remaining in regulation, then scored seven points in the extra frame.
"It was a great shot," Ellis said. "It just didn’t go down."
That came as quite a surprise to Ellis, who never lacks for confidence. That was quite clear by the way he knocked down that 3 from the right wing to tie it up late in regulation.
Up to that point, Ellis had a horrible shooting night, missing 11 of his first 15 field goal attempts. But a short-term memory is required for any player who embraces the responsibility of taking clutch shots.
That description definitely fits Ellis, whose 151 clutch points (defined as coming in the final five minutes, score within five points) ranked behind only MVP front-runner Kevin Durant and LeBron James this season.
"Hey, he’s an attacker," coach Rick Carlisle said. "I encourage all our guys to stay process-oriented, stay aggressive, step into shots that are there. He had a lot of good shots that were near-misses that were just in and out. The last one’s a great example."
After Ellis drilled the tying 3 late in regulation, he got hot in overtime, taking over the game for a stretch to help the Mavs build a four-point lead. Within a span of 109 seconds, Ellis hit a long 2, another 3 from the right wing and a driving layup.
But Ellis missed his last two shots in the final seven seconds, much to the surprise of the Mavs, particularly on the wide-open buzzer-beater.
"The way he’d been shooting it, I really thought it was going to go in," Carlisle said. "He played with such courage in the fourth quarter. I doubt we’d be in the position we were in with a chance to win it if it hadn’t [been] for him. He’s just got to keep hoisting those up, because he’s going to make more than he misses."
The protected first-round pick the Mavs gave up in the trade, which has since been shipped from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Houston Rockets to the Oklahoma City Thunder, is officially OKC’s property in this draft.
The pick was top-20 protected through 2017, so the Mavs had to finish with one of the NBA’s top 10 records to unload the pick this season. With the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls both losing their regular-season finales, the 49-33 Mavs have the league’s 10th-best record, giving the pick to Oklahoma City.
Had the Bulls or Raptors won, there would have been a random drawing to break the tie with the Mavs and determine the draft order. If the Mavs won the drawing, they wouldn’t have lost the pick this year.
It was the Mavs’ preference to part with the pick this season.
“I’d rather just get it over with,” owner Mark Cuban said before the Mavs’ loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. “I’m fine just getting it out of the way so it’s no longer over our head or an issue.”
The Mavs owing Oklahoma City a protected pick prevented Dallas from discussing giving up future first-round picks in trade talks. An NBA rule prevent teams from trading first-round picks in consecutive years, so the earliest first-rounder the Mavs can deal now would be their 2016 pick.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett at Mavericks media day to discuss his expectations for the upcoming season.
Play Podcast Mark Cuban joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Mavericks' new GM Gersson Rosas and much more.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mark Cuban's comments from Las Vegas about the Mavericks' offseason, how he sees the team without Dwight Howard and more.
Play Podcast Marc Stein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why the Mavericks didn't want to match Cleveland's offer to Andrew Bynum, what's next for the Mavs and the possibility of Dirk Nowitzki ending his career elsewhere.
Play Podcast Jeff Platt fires quick-hitters at Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon in the weekly sports standoff about Andrew Bynum, the Mavs' current backcourt, a potential Nelson Cruz suspension and more.
Play Podcast ESPN Los Angeles' Ramona Shelburne joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why she thinks Andrew Bynum got a bad rap in Los Angeles and how he would fit in with the Mavericks.
Play Podcast Buy, sell or hold? If Dwight Howard goes to another team, what are the Mavs' options? The guys take a look at a list of potential fallback options.
Play Podcast ESPN's Marc Stein joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the latest news on the Mavericks' meeting with Dwight Howard.