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Utah Jazz notes: Dallas' Nowitzki still going strong

Published March 11, 2014 1:46 pm

Notes • He may be slower, but Utah still wary of "crafty" star.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Dirk Nowitzki keeps rolling along.

Now in his 16th NBA season, Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks make their first visit of the year to Utah on Wednesday night.

Nowitzki averages 21.3 points and six rebounds per game this season. He shoots 39 percent from the 3-point line.

Not bad for a guy who turns 36 on June 16 and has played 42,000 regular-season minutes in the NBA.

"I've always been a fan of Dirk's — always," said Utah's Marvin Williams. "I've always loved to watch him play — just his ability to make his teammates better."

Since being the No. 9 overall pick in the 1998 draft, Nowitzki has established himself as one of the best players in NBA history.

With 26,383 points prior to Tuesday night's game at Golden State, he could finish the season as one of the league's top-10 scorers.

"I've got a lot of respect for the guy," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. "At this age, he's changed his game to be effective. He's not as mobile as he once was, but he's crafty."

Led by Nowitzki, Dallas is battling for a playoff berth in the rugged Western Conference. With a scorching finish, the Mavericks could finish as high as fifth or sixth.

"They play fast at times," Corbin said. "But they are a veteran team, so they slow it down, too. And when they slow it down and execute in the halfcourt, they take advantage of any mistake you make. They pass the ball very well [and] do a great job of reading each other."

Along with Monta Ellis, Nowitzki remains the key to the Mavericks' offense.

"Dirk's always going to have a guy close to him," Corbin said, "so you put those guys together in a pick-and-roll and you pick your poison. …

"One of those guys is going to get something good. Either Monta is going to get down the lane or, if you jump at him, Dirk is going to step back for an open [jump] shot."

March Madness

The Jazz don't play Thursday night, so Corbin is planning a quick trip to Las Vegas to watch his son play in the Western Athletic Conference tournament.

Tyrell Corbin is a junior point guard at Cal State-Bakersfield. The Roadrunners are the WAC's No. 6 seed and play Chicago State in the opening round.

"They are going to have to win it to go to the [NCAA] Tournament," Tyrone Corbin said. "But it's pretty exciting."

As a college player at DePaul, Corbin didn't have much luck during March Madness.

• In 1982, the Blue Demons were the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional. After a first-round bye, they lost to Boston College, 82-75.

• In 1983, DePaul didn't qualify for the NCAA Tournament, but reached the finals of the NIT, where it lost to Fresno State, 69-60.

• In 1984, the Blue Demons were the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional. But after beating Illinois State, they lost to Wake Forest in legendary coach Ray Meyer's final game.

• In 1985, DePaul was the No. 10 seed in the East and lost in the opening round to Syracuse, 70-65.

luhm@sltrib.com

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