NEW YORK, December 24-Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki passed Shaquille O’Neal for sixth place on the NBA all-time scoring list Wednesday, scoring 22 points to help defeat host Brooklyn 119-118 in overtime.
The 37-year-old German sank a jumper over Andrea Bargnani 2:09 into the second quarter to push past the 10 points he needed to overtake O’Neal, who finished with 28,596 points.
“He’s probably the most dominant big man to ever play this game so it’s kind of surreal that I’m up there amongst these all-time greats,” said Nowitzki, after reaching 28,609 points for his career.
“For a kid leaving Germany over 18 years ago who didn’t know what to expect, it has been an amazing ride.”
Nowitzki, who passed Moses Malone for seventh on the list last year at Brooklyn, could challenge Wilt Chamberlain’s fifth-place total of 31,419 points if he returns to the NBA next season.
JJ Barea scored 32 points and had a game-high 11 assists to lead Dallas while Thaddeus Young paced the Nets with 29 and a game-high 10 rebounds.
At Cleveland, LeBron James scored 24 points, grabbed nine rebounds and added five assists while Kevin Love had 23 points and 13 rebounds to power the Cavaliers over the visiting New York Knicks 91-84.
The Cavaliers, 19-7 after their sixth win in a row, squandered an 11-point lead but finished with an 11-2 run for the victory.
James scored nine points in the fourth quarter. He is averaging an NBA-best 8.7 points in the fourth quarter this season with Stephen Curry and Anthony Davis second at 7.7 a game in the last 12 minutes of regulation time.
At Golden State, the defending champion Warriors tuned up for their Friday showdown with Cleveland by routing Utah 103-85.
Klay Thompson scored 20 points and Curry added 16 as the Warriors improved the NBA’s best record to 27-1 and boosted their perfect home mark to 13-0.
Aussie Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 13 rebounds for Golden State while Derrick Favors scored 17 to lead the Jazz, who fell to 12-15.
– Sixers fall –
Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo made his first 11 shots and scored 22 points while Khris Middleton added 21 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks over Philadelphia 113-100.
The 76ers fell to 1-30 with their 12th loss in a row and remained winless on the road after 18 such starts.
At New Orleans, Anthony Davis scored 28 points and pulled down 12 rebounds to spark the host Pelicans past Portland 115-89.
San Antonio stretched its win streak to seven games with a 108-83 victory at Minnesota.
Kawhi Leonard netted 19 points to lead six double-figure scorers for the Spurs, who also had 14 points from French guard Tony Parker and 13 from reserve David West.
The Spurs, with the NBA’s second-best record at 25-5, have outscored foes by 408 points over 30 games, the second-largest margin so deep into a season in league history.
Randy Foye scored 31 points to lead the Denver Nuggets over host Phoenix 104-96. Brandon Knight led the Suns with 21 points.
Kelly Olynyk scored 20 points and Jae Crowder added 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead Boston to a 102-89 triumph at Charlotte while John Wall had 14 points and 14 assists in Washington’s 100-91 home victory over Memphis.
– Thunder rip Lakers –
At Los Angeles, the Oklahoma City Thunder scored the first 17 points of the third quarter for a 74-46 lead on the way to a 120-85 triumph over the host Lakers.
Russell Westbrook scored 23 points and Kevin Durant added 21 as every player scored for the Thunder (20-9). Kobe Bryant scored 19 points to lead the Lakers (5-24).
DeMarcus Cousins scored 25 points and grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds while Darren Collison added a season-high 24 points as Sacramento defeated host Indiana 108-106. Cousins sank two free throws for the winning points and Paul George missed a jumper at the buzzer to force over-time.
Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic scored 21 points to lead six double-figure scorers in a 104-101 victory over visiting Houston, which had 31 points from James Harden.
Jeff Teague scored 23 points and Paul Millsap added 18 to lead the Atlanta Hawks over visiting Detroit 107-100.