NBA

Doc Rivers uses timeout to give touching tribute to Dirk Nowitzki

"I just felt he deserved that."

Doc Rivers Dirk Nowitzki
Doc Rivers shakes hands with Dirk Nowitzki during the first half. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (AP) — With nine seconds to go in Monday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks, Clippers coach Doc Rivers grabbed the public address announcer’s mic to salute Mavs veteran Dirk Nowitzki, who received a standing ovation.

“I just felt he deserved that,” Rivers said.

Nowitzki called the gesture “sweet,” “humbling,” and “emotional.”

“I was very appreciative,” he said. “At first, I was like, ‘Why is Doc calling a timeout? What is he doing with six seconds to go? What’s he up to?'”

Against the Clippers, Nowitzki scored 12 points on 3-of-10 shooting in his 1,500th career game.

“I got the game ball,” he said. “Coming in 20 years ago, my first year struggling like that, I never thought I’m getting to 1,500 NBA games. It’s been a great rollercoaster career with a lot of ups and downs.”

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The 14-time All-Star hasn’t announced that he’s retiring, saying only that he’ll wait to make the decision based on how his body feels at season’s end.

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki acknowledges an ovation from the crowd.

The Mavericks came up short in Los Angeles, as Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell, fully recovered from a stomach bug that slowed him a day earlier, brought his trademark energy. Harrell scored a career-high 32 points and Lou Williams added 21 en route to a 121-112 victory. Harrell also had eight dunks, rattling the rim with one- and two-handed jams, including five in the first half.

With the win, the Clippers moved into the seventh spot in the Western Conference playoff picture.

“The win, that’s what it’s about right now,” Harrell said. “That’s more important than those stats.”

Rookie Luka Doncic returned, after missing two games with a sore right ankle, to post his fourth triple-double for the Mavericks, who lost their fifth in a row. Doncic had 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. He also had nine turnovers, something coach Rick Carlisle says he’s prone to because he gets trapped every game.

“He thinks he can thread any needle and throw the ball through one guy’s nose and out his rear end,” Carlisle said. “You just can’t do that in this league on a consistent basis.”

West can’t wait

Clippers consultant Jerry West says he “can’t wait for summer to get here.” That’s when the Clippers are expected to be a major player in the free agent market. West told a pre-game gathering of select Clippers fans that he’s “shocked” in a good way by the team’s 34-28 record.

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“We have guys with no ego on this team. The future is bright,” West said.

Tip-ins

Mavericks: Doncic turns 20 on Thursday. He visited with boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. after the game. “He said he play like me,” Doncic said. “I said I want to see it live.”… They fell to 2-17 against the West on the road. … Split the season series with LA 2-2.

Clippers: Harrell had 30 points at Memphis last Friday. … They improved to 5-6 overall and 1-3 at home in the second game of a back-to-back, having lost at Denver on Sunday.

Up next

Mavericks: Host Indiana on Wednesday.

Clippers: Visit Utah on Wednesday.