The Dallas Mavericks went 42-40 (.512) in 2015-2016, marking their 16th straight season with at least a .500 record. Dirk Nowitzki passed Shaquille O'Neal (28,596) for sixth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list at Brooklyn (12/23/15). The 18-year forward also became the sixth player in NBA history to eclipse the 29,000-point plateau against Philadelphia (2/21/16). At age 37, Nowitzki averaged a team-high 18.3 points per game, leading Dallas in scoring average for the 15th time in the last 16 years. What's more, Nowitzki became the fifth player in NBA history to average at least 18 points per game at age 37 or older. Rick Carlisle became the winningest coach in Mavericks history with a 103-93 victory at the L.A. Lakers on 11/1/15, passing Don Nelson (339) with his 340th win with the franchise. Carlisle also passed the late Flip Saunders (654) for 20th place on the NBA's all-time wins list with a 97-88 victory at Denver on 3/28/16 (career win No. 655). Dallas won seven of its final nine games to clinch a playoff spot for the 15th time in the last 16 years. The Mavericks' 42 wins earned them the sixth seed in the Western Conference and a matchup with No. 3 seed Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. Dallas fought hard in the series despite enduring injuries to several key players. The Thunder went on to defeat the Mavericks in five games.
DIRK MOVES INTO SIXTH PLACE ON NBA'S ALL-TIME SCORING LIST
Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, who has racked up 29,491 points in his career, moved into sixth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list in 2015-2016. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292) and Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) are not the only players in NBA history with more career points than the big German. Nowitzki passed Shaquille O'Neal (28,596) for sixth place on the NBA's all-time scoring list with a 17-foot baseline jumper over Andrea Bargnani at the 9:51 mark of the second quarter at Brooklyn on 12/23/15 (the basket gave him 10 points for the game and 28,597 for his career). He was assisted by J.J. Barea on the play. Through 12/23/15, there had been 4043 players who had appeared in an NBA game (and Nowitzki ranked sixth among those 4043). Nowitzki finished with 22 points in 37 minutes at Brooklyn (12/23/15) and made the game-sinning layup with 19.2 seconds left in overtime (Dallas won 119-118). Nowitzki became the sixth player in NBA history to eclipse the 29,000-point plateau with a 3-pointer at the 10;22 mark of the third quarter against Philadelphia on 2/21/16 (the triple game him 12 points for the game and 29,002 for his career). He also became one of four players in NBA history to score 29,000 points with one franchise, joining Malone (Jazz), Bryant (Lakers) and Jordan (Bulls). Malone and Bryant are the only two players in league history that have scored 30,000 points with one team (Nowitzki needs 509 points to become the third). With Bryant announcing that the 2015-2016 season would be his last, Nowitzki, who was already the NBA's top foreign-born scorer of all-time, also becomes the league's active leading scorer.