The Mavericks traveled to Boston in a matchup versus one of the best Eastern Conference teams, the 22-15 Celtics.
The main storyline centered not around the young Luka Doncic, or playoff aspirations, but around Dirk Nowitzki. Specifically, the interest around Dirk — aside from the possible goodbye tour aspect — was that he trailed Kobe Bryant by one point for most points scored in Boston as a Western Conference player.
The Boston fans, to their credit, were obviously very aware of this milestone and from the moment Dirk checked in to the game with 1:07 left in the first quarter, the crowd let Dirk and the Mavericks know how they felt about him — they cheered.
And the cheers kept coming with every Mavericks possession that featured Dirk in the lineup. Surely Dirk would hit one soon to take that lead over Kobe Bean Bryant (maybe Boston fans don’t like a guy with Bean as his middle name as the points leader here by a Western Conference player, I can only surmise).
Dirk wasn’t shy about shooting tonight, but the shooting woes that plagued the Mavericks in tonight’s 114-93 loss definitely extended to him as well. If ever there was a live-by-the-three-ball-and-die-by-the-three-ball game, this was most assuredly it. The Celtics connected on 21-45 from three-land while the Mavericks were a paltry 11-44.
Deep in the fourth quarter, with the Celtics up by 18+ points, the Boston fans turned their attention to the history waiting to be made before their eyes. They knew Dirk was chasing history but sometimes history isn’t meant to be changed.
Dirk heaved shot after shot including 8 three-pointers and each shot clanged off the rim or the backboard and each miss resulted in a massive groan from the Boston crowd. Dirk, at one point realizing the magnitude of this historical chase, could only smile and clap his hands as time ran out and he finished 0-10.
“It’s sweet when not just your home fans but the fans on the road appreciate what you’ve done in the last two decades”, Dirk said in a postgame comment. “I appreciate the fans in Boston and unfortunately I’m really disappointed I couldn't even make one, you know.”
Dirk, in his postgame comments, appeared somber about the Mavericks losing but he definitely lit up when acknowledging the Boston fans cheering him on throughout the game.
If this season is indeed Dirk’s last season, the fact that he went 0-10 versus Boston will surely be lost to history because history will only record the cheers Celtics fans rained down on one of the greatest to ever play the game.
And that’s a 10-10.