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Dirk, 35, having a good season

Updated: 2013-12-25 07:04
( China Daily)

Dirk Nowitzki scoffed at the notion he is playing as well now as he did when he led the Dallas Mavericks to a title in 2011.

He will, however, concede at age 35 he is having a pretty good season.

Nowitzki scored 31 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to lead the Mavericks to a 111-104 win over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.

He joked his big night was simply luck before getting serious and discussing the work he puts in off the court.

"Hopefully I can light it up a couple of more years and then slowly fade away," he said, breaking into a huge smile.

Dallas coach Rick Carlisle isn't surprised at what Nowitzki, who is averaging 21.5 points a game, is doing this season.

"He's the great Dirk Nowitzki," Carlisle said. "He's one of the great players in the history of the game."

Nowitzki missed the first 27 games of last season after knee surgery and the Mavericks missed the playoffs for the first time since the 1999-2000 season.

He feels like his game is good now him, but he wants to do more.

"Driving (with) the ball is what's missing a little now," he said. "I do a lot of one or two dribbles and then up, but I want to get back to driving some more to the basket and get to the foul line. I don't think I'm in the same shape as 2011, but compared to the last two years I feel a lot better. The right knee is great."

Nowitzki's performance on Monday night gave him 25,629 career points, which moved him past Alex English into 13th place in all-time NBA scoring.

- Associated Press

(China Daily 12/25/2013 page23)