Nowitzki's 48-point game by the numbers

Nowitzki's 48-point game by the numbers

Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Posted: 1:49 p.m.
By Reuben FrankCSNPhilly.com

Unless you got frustrated by another lackluster Phillies offensive effort and changed over to the NBA playoffs Tuesday night, you missed one of the most uniquely spectacular performances in NBA history.

Spectacular because Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 48 points.

Unique because he needed only 15 shots to do it.

We rounded up the By the Numbers staff from vacation to take a closer look at Nowitzkis remarkable evening in the Mavs 121-112 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their Western Conference finals series.

Heres what we learned:

Nowitzkis 48 points are the most in NBA history on 15 or fewer shots playoffs or otherwise. The most points anybody had ever scored in the playoffs on 15 or fewer shots was 40 that was Portlands Terry Porter, who was 12 for 14 from the field, 4 for 5 from three and 13 for 14 from the line for 41 points in a win over Utah in 1992. The regular season record was Alonzo Mournings 43 points on 13 for 14 from the field and 17 for 24 from the line in the Heats win over the Nets in 2000.

Nowitzki needed 11 fewer field goal attempts than anybody in NBA history to score 48 points in a playoff game. The previous fewest shots by a player scoring 48 or more points in the postseason was 26 by ... Nowitzki in a 50-point game against Phoenix in 2006. So nobody else in NBA history has scored 48 points in the playoffs on fewer than 27 shots. And Nowitzki has done it twice.

Nowitzki is only the third player in the last 20 years to score 45 or more points in a regular-season or postseason game while shooting 80 percent or better from the field. Dana Barros of the Sixers and Amare Stoudemire of the Suns did it in the regular season Barros in 1995 against the Rockets on 81 percent for 50 points (21 for 26, 6 for 8, 2 for 2) and Stoudemire on 81 percent for 49 points against the Pacers in 2008 (17 for 21, 0 for 2, 15 for 15).

Nowitzki who has attempted more than 3,000 three-pointers in his career became the first NBA player in 11 years to score 45 points in a playoff game without attempting a single three-pointer. The last was Shaq, who had 46-point playoff games in 1997 and 2000 without attempting a three.

Nowitzkis 24 free throws without a miss are the most ever in a regular season or playoff game. The most foul shots anybody had ever made without a miss in the playoffs was 21 Paul Pierce of the Celtics was 21 for 21 against the Pacers in 2003. Dominique Wilkins of the Hawks had the regular-season mark at 23 for 23 against the Bulls in 1992.

Lets not forget OKCs Kevin Durant, who had a pretty amazing game himself with 40 points on 10 for 18 shooting from the field, 2 for 5 from the field and 18 for 19 (95 percent) from the foul line. In the previous seven years, nobody had scored 40 points in a postseason game while shooting 95 percent from the line. Tuesday night, two guys did it in the same game.

Durants 40 points on just 18 shots is pretty amazing in itself. It had been 10 years since any NBA player scored 40 points in a playoff game while taking fewer than 20 shots then Nowitzki and Durant did it in the same game. So Durant has the second-lowest shot total by a 40-point scorer in the playoffs in the last decade, even though Nowitzki scored more points on fewer points in the same game.

The last time two guys scored 40 points in a playoff game Nowitzki was also involved. He had 44 and Carmelo Anthony then with Denver scored 41 in the Mavs 119-117 win on May 11, 2009.

Durant already has three 40-point games during the 2011 postseason. Nobody in NBA history has had more 40-point games before his 23rd birthday than Durant. LeBron James and Stoudemire also had three.

In the last 20 years, only Ray Allen, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan have scored more points in a playoff game than Nowitzki after their 32nd birthday. Allen had a 51-point game at 33, Malone scored 50 for Utah at 36 and Jordan had a 50-point game when he was 36 and a 55-point game when he was 34.
E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

Warriors complete comeback, oust Thunder in Game 7

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The Associated Press

Warriors complete comeback, oust Thunder in Game 7

OAKLAND – They beat the odds, clobbering them into submission.

Facing a 3-1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals, the Warriors rallied to take three successive games over Oklahoma City, finishing the epic comeback with a 96-88 victory in Game 7 Monday night before a delirious sellout crowd at Oracle Arena.

Stephen Curry scored 36 points and Klay Thompson fired in 21, as the Warriors become the 10th team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the NBA playoffs – and the first to do so in the West finals.

Draymond Green added 11 points and also had a team-high nine rebounds, as the Warriors battled the bigger Thunder nearly even on the glass, 47-46.

Curry splashed 32 3-pointers in the series, the most ever for a player in a seven-game playoff series.

Ratcheting up the defense, the Warriors overcome a 42-point first half, their lowest total at home all season. They trailed by as much as 13 before storming back.

Kevin Durant scored 27 points to lead the Thunder. Russell Westbrook added 19.

STANDOUT PERFORMER

When his team needed him most, Curry was at his MVP best.

Curry’s line: 36 points (13-of-24 shooting from the field, 7-of-12 from beyond the arc), eight assists and five rebounds. He played 40 minutes and finished plus-18 for the game.

TURNING POINT

After OKC took a 54-48 lead on a Durant fadeaway with 8:15 left in the third quarter, the Warriors responded with a 23-4 run to go up 71-58 on an Anderson Varejao floater with 58.3 seconds left in the quarter.

Six different Warriors scored during the run, lead by Curry with six points. They held the Thunder to 2-of-11 shooting, with three turnovers, during the run.

The Warriors outscored the Thunder 29-12 for the quarter.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Warriors on Thursday play host to Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Tipoff is scheduled for 6pm.

P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

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P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

Thirty-five years is more than enough time to get a sense of who a person is and how they do their job. That is how long Brett Brown has known P.J. Carlesimo, which made it easy for the Sixers' head coach to have interest in adding him to the staff. 

With Mike D’Antoni leaving to coach the Rockets, the Sixers had a vacancy at the associate head coach position. On Sunday, though, Carlesimo decided not to join the Sixers’ staff and remain a television analyst.

“He was a natural fit for me,” Brown said Monday following a pre-draft workout. “For family reasons, he just couldn’t do it. We talked a lot and it was an emotional thing from P.J.’s perspective. 

“P.J. is a very close friend of mine and he made that decision for family reasons and I understand it. The phone call really didn’t surprise me knowing what I know of him and how he views his family, having to travel across the country the whole time.”

Like D’Antoni, Carlesimo has a lengthy résumé on the NBA sidelines. He was a head coach for parts of nine seasons and worked five as an assistant coach. Brown called working with D’Antoni “a real learning experience,” and an ideal candidate would have similar experience to help both the staff and the young roster.

“That role will be filled with maybe that type of flavor,” Brown said. “I know this, we are still in a complete development mode. We still have a bunch of 20-year-olds, guys that could be with us for a long time, but they’re not old, that we have to make sure that the city and me, we remember that. We still need people and teachers that can teach and coach and establish relationships. 

“So you tick boxes on relationships, teaching, development, those still rule the day. If you can do that with some veteran wisdom and some type of experiences like Mike’s, say, or P.J. had, well then you’re really knocking it out of the park.”

Coaching vacancies are coveted at this level. With the No. 1 pick in the draft, a revamped front office, and a 125,000-square foot training facility under construction, the Sixers have enhanced the appeal of the role. 

"My phone is very active, as you can imagine," Brown said. "I think it’s a highly attractive position. … Like our draft picks, I too spend a lot of time studying who will be the best fit for me and our program."

NBA draft profile: Kentucky G Jamal Murray

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NBA draft profile: Kentucky G Jamal Murray

Jamal Murray

Position: Guard

Height: 6-5

Weight: 210

School: Kentucky

It's tough for a Kentucky star freshman to fly under the radar, but that's exactly what Murray did last season. While Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram, Buddy Hield and Denzel Valentine dominated the spotlight, Murray was quietly as good as anyone in the country for the second half of the season.

In Kentucky's final 14 games, Murray averaged just under 24 points and shot better than 46 percent from three-point range. For the season, he averaged an even 20 points and connected on 41 percent of his three-point attempts. He also chipped in an impressive 5.2 rebounds. 

Kentucky lost some games early and fell toward the bottom of the Top 25 rankings. But Murray continued to produce and played his best basketball down the stretch, lifting the Wildcats to 27 wins and SEC regular season and tournament titles. 

As good as he was during his only college season, Murray projects to be an even better pro. He's the best guard prospect in the 2016 NBA Draft. 

Strengths
Shooting the ball. He has the best shooting stroke of any prospect in this year's draft. Murray's form on his jump shot is textbook with the results to match. He's able to get his shot off quickly and has range well beyond the NBA three-point line. Murray's outside shot is his greatest asset. Shooters are always in high demand and have never been more valuable in the NBA. The defending champion Warriors offer all the proof you need of that.

However Murray isn't a one-dimensional player. He can get to the basket off the dribble and is a terrific finisher around the basket. He also developed a polished mid-range game during his time at Kentucky. Murray also plays hard — a characteristic that NBA executives monitor closely. He rarely takes a possession off and competes hard on the glass for a perimeter player, as evidenced by his five rebounds per game last season.

Weaknesses
Murray doesn't have a defined position on the NBA level. He's not a true point guard and isn't quite big enough to be considered a prototypical shooting guard. While NBA talent evaluators are concerned by this, I don't necessarily view it as a weakness. Murray projects as a combo guard, capable of playing point guard but also comfortable away from the ball. He's similar to the Trail Blazers' C.J. McCollum in that regard.

Murray isn't an elite-level athlete and by no means is he a great defender. He'll struggle to stay in front of the more dynamic perimeter players in the NBA. But he has a very good work ethic and should be able to improve defensively.

How he'd fit with the Sixers
Extremely well. The 76ers need shooters. That need will only become exaggerated if and when they draft Ben Simmons with the No. 1 pick. With Simmons, Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid, the Sixers have a significantly frontcourt-heavy nucleus. They need quality guards to balance out their lineup.

The much-discussed hypothetical trade that would send Okafor to the Celtics for the No. 3 pick makes a ton of sense for the 76ers. They could clear out space in their frontcourt rotation as well as acquire Murray with that third pick. Murray would flourish playing alongside Simmons, knocking down the open jump shots that Simmons creates.    

NBA comparison
I see a mix of Bradley Beal and Eric Gordon in Murray's game. Beal and Gordon have similar builds to Murray and both entered the NBA as exceptional shooters. All three are natural scorers who have no problem getting their own shot on the NBA level.

Draft projection
Murray will be a high-end lottery pick. He could go as high as No. 3 to the Celtics and shouldn't fall any lower than No. 6 to the Pelicans.