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Tuesday NBA grades: Dirk Nowitzki, Steve Nash cement legend status

Apr 9, 2014, 3:26 AM EDT

Dirk Nowitzki, Jeremy Evans Dirk Nowitzki, Jeremy Evans

Our quick look around the NBA, or what you missed while wondering if you really should cross a goat and a sheep

source:  Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks. When you pass Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson on a list, you are entering rarified air. With a catch-and-shoot 17 foot jumper from the elbow area early in the fourth quarter, Dirk Nowitzki passed Robertson for 10th on the NBA’s all time scoring list. Nowitzki now has 26,714 points in his career after his 21 on Tuesday. The German machine will go down as one of the great scorers to ever play the game — a 7-footer with three point range, an ability to stay balanced in awkward situations, and he has that ridiculous one-legged faraway. He’s a future Hall of Famer, the greatest European player ever in the NBA. When he’s gone in a few years the league will just feel a little emptier.

source:  Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers. With a smart little outlet pass late in the first half that led to a Jodie Meeks dunk, Steve Nash passed Mark Jackson for third on the NBA’s all time assists list — Nash now has 10,335. He did not get to that number thanks to his incredible physical gifts, rather he did it with hard work and an almost psychic feel for the game. He made himself a good shooter so teams just couldn’t lay off him and dare him to shoot. Nash is one of the best ever at just keeping his dribble alive, probing and once he sees an opening making the defense pay. For a guy whose career is ending on a literally painful note it is good to see Nash securing is spot in history.

source:  Atlanta Hawks. They lost to the Pistons, who recently lost to the Sixers. Yet Atlanta is still almost certain to make the playoffs — thanks again Eastern Conference. Even after this ugly loss the Hawks have a 1.5 game lead over the Knicks. The Hawks magic number is still three (combination of their wins and Knicks losses). The Hawks four games left are a back-to-back with Boston and Brooklyn, then they close out with Miami and Orlando, you’d thick there are three wins in there but who knows with this team. Yet they will make the playoffs and in the first round and likely face the Heat (for Miami that will be kind of like when Florida State football program’s home opener is against The Citadel, it’s just a glorified practice round).

source:  James Harden, Houston Rockets. Yes, it still counts if you do it against the Lakers “defense.” Harden had 33 points — 18 of those in the third quarter when the Rockets pulled away — on just 15 shots, plus he dished out 12 assists as the Rockets get the win. Houston put up 140 points on 57.7 percent shooting, and Harden was the focal point of that. The Beard looks playoff ready.

  1. notinmyhouse56 - Apr 9, 2014 at 4:01 AM

    Why does not anybody consider the Nets as a real threat for Miami in the offseason? I mean, c’mon guys, they are 4-0 in the season series and they have Pierce and Garnett, motivated for revenge.

    • bucrightoff - Apr 9, 2014 at 8:08 AM

      They also have two point guards better than anyone the Heat has, more depth, more than 2 guys who can take shots in crunch time, the coaching matchup is a wash and Brooklyn is much mentally and physically tougher. Miami fans badly want Chicago (or Toronto) to take them out round 1. They want no part of Brooklyn.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:21 AM

      Notinmyhouse and buc, the Heat (this same team) has lost the regular season series to the Celtics and the Bulls and came back and beat both of them in the play-offs. Just about every team the Heat plays has either a better center or point guard (sometimes, both) but Wade will be a factor in the play-offs. I will say this, with the way the Pacers and the Nets are playing, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Heat and the Nets played for the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat will be playing in their fourth NBA Finals, however (no matter who they play).

      • bucrightoff - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:09 AM

        Except odds are the Heat will be the 1 seed and Brooklyn will be the 4/5 seed, meaning no shot they play in the ECF. This is why Heat fans will be Bulls fans in round 1. Chicago is a much easier out for the Heat than Brooklyn. And this isn’t losing the regular season series. This is getting swept in the regular season. Brooklyn is just a bad matchup for Miami. Miami and its fans would prefer Chicago, no doubt about it.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

        As a Heat fan, I really don’t fear any teams in the playoffs until the Heat lose. With that said, the Bulls seems to play the Heat well – and they provide similar match up problems. But who are we kidding, any team with a larger front line presents problems for the Heat. However, they still find a way to win and exploit their strengths. Again, the Heat lost by 1 last night and Wade nor Haslem were playing (and Haslem has been money of late), not to mention Andersen has back issues. Those 3 players would have been the difference last night (especially Haslem and a healthy Birdman due to their size) – and will be in the playoffs.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:00 PM

        And I don’t see how there’s “no shot” they play each other, regardless of seeding. The Nets appear to be the second best team in the East right now, they should get past their opponents in the playoffs…

      • bucrightoff - Apr 9, 2014 at 12:16 PM

        Right…but there’s no chance they play for the Eastern Finals, as you suggested. NBA doens’t reseed, so if they both win their first round series, based of their current seeding, they’ll play each other in the 2nd round.

      • fanofthegame79 - Apr 9, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        Gotcha, thanks for pointing that out. The point I was trying to make was that they would still play each other (or could still play each other) in the playoffs. And if Miami went through both the Nets and the Pacers to reach the Finals, that may quiet some of the nay-sayers about the “easy path” the Heat took to reach the Finals.

  2. tuberippin - Apr 9, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    The NBA will have a different feel to it when the Old Guard (TD, Dirk, Nash, KG, Kobe, Pierce, Allen, Billups) retire.

    Really pleased to see Nash make it back this season. Playing for the love of the game at this point.

    • tomasekradek - Apr 9, 2014 at 10:09 AM

      Pistons fan?

  3. moseskkim - Apr 9, 2014 at 11:54 AM

    youd think theres 3 wins for the hawks out of 4 games? who thinks that? boston and orlando arent that much worse than atl but fine ill give you 2. you almost expect them to beat the nets or heat? hmm

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