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Paul, Gordon Praise Nowitzki Before Likely Final Game in Houston

Eric Gordon says Nowitzki "changed the game"

February 11, 2019 - 11:56 am

By Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane)

HOUSTON (SportsRadio 610)- While growing up in Clemmons, North Carolina Rockets guard Chris Paul used to imitate Dirk Nowitzki.

“Dirk was my favorite player when I was in high school,” Paul said before Rockets practice Sunday. “I used to try to shoot like him and land like him.”

Though no announcement has been made, all signs point to this season being Nowitzki’s last in the NBA, so when he and the Dallas Mavericks visit Toyota Center Monday night, he’ll likely be doing so for the final time.

“I had an opportunity to play in a number of All Star games with him, and Dirk is tough, and it’s gonna be crazy to see him go,” Paul said.

In his 21stNBA season, all with Dallas, Nowitzki’s averaging just 4.4 points in 10.8 minutes while appearing in just 24 games after missing the start of the season due to ankle surgery. 

“It’s crazy the way this league goes,” Paul said. “Some people remember this Dirk, but for us that played in the league, and that championship run that they had that’s the Dirk that I remember.”

“You just never seen this big man who could shoot like that,” Rockets guard Eric Gordon said. “Seven-foot guy, all those fadeaways, and three-pointers over people. That high arcing shot that he makes all the time, stuff like that never gets old to watch. He changed the game in that perspective.”

Gordon also said Nowitzki was one of his favorite players growing up in Indianapolis, and started laughing when asked if he remembered the first time one of those patented fadeaways found that bottom of the net after being launched over him.

“Oh, he made some over me, that’s for sure. He’s so tall, man. He’s shooting over everybody, so I’ve never seen too many people really ever block his shot.”

Standing more than a foot shorter, Paul was never going to block one of Nowitzki’s shots, but he did says he did have success defending him.

“He hit a lot of tough (shot), but I used to stop that, you can go check the footage too. Dirk knew that when I was guarding him he couldn’t put the ball on the floor. That turnaround jumper though, was probably one of the most unstoppable shots the league has ever seen.”

To go along with his 2007 MVP and 2011 Finals MVP, Nowitzki will play in his 14thAll Star Game Sunday in Charlotte. He’s seventh on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, less than 130 points behind Wilt Chamberlain for sixth, and as his career winds down, Gordon says Dirk Nowitzki won’t soon be forgotten.

“He’s made a major impact. He’s changed the game.”