Tweet of the Day: Dirk Nowitzki Grateful For Encouragement

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Tuesday night Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki moved past Oscar Robertson on the NBA career scoring list with an 19-foot jump shot at the start of the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz en route to a 95-83 victory.

Nowitizki scored 21 points, moving him to 10th among the all-time scorers’ list with 26,714 points thus far in his career.

Many players took time to congratulate Dirk on his career accomplishment last night.

One player who didn’t get the chance to congratulate him Tuesday night was Miami Heat superstar LeBron James, who was busy in a losing effort to the Brooklyn Nets.

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Bernucca: Who Is On Your Team’s Mount Rushmore?

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rushmoreThis past week, NBA TV released excerpts of an extended interview with LeBron James (airing in its entirety Monday night) in which Steve Smith asked “The King” to name his Mount Rushmore of basketball.

James offered a quartet of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson. But it’s really an unfair question, because in addition to those four players, there are at least three more – centers Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell – who are in the “best ever” conversation. And that group doesn’t include active players who eventually will join the conversation as well, like Kobe Bryant and James himself.

A better exercise might be establishing a Mount Rushmore for each team.

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Tweet of the Day: Portland Trail Blazers

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What was for most of the season all but an inevitability is now a reality.

Portland Trail Blazers rookie point guard Damian Lillard is the Kia Rookie of the Year.

The Bernucca List – Edition 37

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Following an unannounced week off for the holidays, The Bernucca List is back.

First, let’s tidy up old business. The previous list was “active players who are all-time scoring leaders for a franchise.”

Newcomer Ody P. nailed the right answer less than an hour after publication and now has a win on his ledger. Brian Rivel leads the horde with three correct answers, one more than Brian C.

OK, on to new business and another test of your obscure NBA knowledge with this week’s list, which is after the jump.

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News, Notes, and Rumors from around the NBA: April 19, 2012.

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NEWS

If any doubt remained, the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash established his bona fides as one of the organization’s all-time greats on Feb. 1, when he blew past Kevin Johnson as the franchise’s all-time leader in career assists. (Nash also holds team records for three-pointers made and attempted, as well as three-point and free throw shooting percentages.) Now, he’s on the cusp of passing an NBA icon.

With Phoenix set to host the Los Angeles Clippers tonight on TNT (10:30 p.m. ET) and the Suns only one-half game behind the Utah Jazz for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, the two-time MVP needs 10 assists to pass Oscar Robertson (9,887) for fifth place on the all-time assist list; assuming it’s accomplished, it will leave Nash behind only all-time leader John Stockton (15,806), active leader Jason Kidd (11,838), Mark Jackson (10,323), and Magic Johnson (10,141).

In his 16th season, the 38-year-old Nash shows no signs of slowing down. Nash is averaging 10.8 assists, trailing only Boston’s Rajon Rondo (11.6 apg), who turned 26 this season. One of the league’s top marksmen, Nash ranks tied for eighth in the NBA in field goal percentage (.534); those ahead of him are all frontcourt players. He also is shooting .402 from three-point range. Hall of Famers Chris Mullin (1996-97) and Stockton (1994-95) are the only players in NBA history to shoot at least 54 percent from the field and 40 percent from three in the same season. One of the all-time great free throw shooters, Nash this season is shooting .894 from the charity stripe. Nash has shot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three, and 90 percent from the line in a season four times. Amazingly, it’s been accomplished only a total of nine times in league annals: Larry Bird did it twice, while Reggie Miller, Dirk Nowitzki, and Mark Price each did it once.

Advanced metrics back up the more traditional stats in confirming Nash’s dominance. According to NBA.com/Stats, Nash’s True Shooting Percentage, which calculates shooting percentage adjusting for the value of free throws and three-point field goals, is .624. That ranks seventh among players who have appeared in at least 50 games. His Player Impact Estimate (PIE), which measures a player’s overall statistical contribution against the total statistics in games he’s played in, is 15.0 percent, which ranks 15th overall. Perhaps most indicative, Nash ranks second to Rondo in AST%, the percentage of field goals a player assisted when he was on the floor. Rondo, 12 years Nash’s junior, is at 49.3 while Nash is at 49.2.

Stats & Stuff:

 

  • Dallas’ Vince Carter needs two three-pointers made to become the 18th player in NBA history with at least 1,500 treys. Carter’s teammates, Jason Kidd (1,870) and Jason Terry (1,783), are among the 17 others who have reached the milestone.
  • Since a four-game stretch in mid-March in which they had no more than four thefts, the Indiana Pacers have had at least eight steals in nine of their last 18 games.
  • Memphis’ Mike Conley is on pace to set a franchise record for steals per game (career-high 2.25). That mark ranks second in the NBA this season (L.A. Clippers’ Chris Paul, 2.47 spy).
  • Utah has played six overtime games this season. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Utah is the third team to complete the “OT cycle” in a season: playing at least one one-, two-, three-, and four- overtime game. The other teams to do this were the 1952-1953 Indianapolis Olympians in their final season (eight total, including five single-OT games), and the 1997-1998 Phoenix Suns (five total including two single-OT games).

Today’s Quote
ERIK SPOELSTRA, on LeBron James’ physical fitness:
“He keeps himself in superior condition and always is spending extra time in the building doing something … Everything to try and maintain his body. It’s a year-round job for him. All the work he does before the season prepares him for a long grind. You also have to be lucky, quite frankly.”
Sun Sentinel April 19, 2012