May 17 – Dirk Nowitzki played 21 seasons for the Dallas Mavericks and gave myriad sparkling performances.

But few shine brighter than the show Nowitzki put on in the opening game of the Western Conference finals on May 17, 2011. Nowitzki mixed in a few drives and cuts to the basket with his signature high-arcing fade away shot as he scored 48 points to the delight of the American Airlines Center crowd.

In doing so, the power forward led Dallas to a 121-112 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on the Mavs’ way to the world championship.

Dirk Nowitzki

Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki flies to the basket for two of his 48 points in the Mavs playoff victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on May 17, 2011.

Nowitzki started hot as he hit eight of nine shots in the first half. He finished the contest at an outstanding shooting clip of 12 of 15 from the field and 24 of 24 from the free-throw line.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 40 points, but it wasn’t enough to keep up.

This day in Texas sports history is a daily feature by Trib staff writer Chad Conine, paraphrased from his book “Texas Sports: Unforgettable Stories for Every Day of the Year” (University of Texas Press, 2017).

Recommended for you

Load comments