Dallas Mavericks

This Date in NBA History (Dec. 2): Dirk Nowitzki explodes for career-high 53 points in epic duel with Tracy McGrady

On Dec. 2, 2004, Dirk Nowitzki had one of the greatest games of his career.

In a matchup with the Houston Rockets, Nowitzki scored a career-high 53 points, helping the Dallas Mavericks win the overtime contest by outdueling Tracy McGrady, who had a season-high 48 points. The German sharpshooter scored 31 of his 53 points after the first half, and 10 in the crucial extra period as the Mavericks outscored the Rockets 20-13 to come away with the win.

Playing 50 out of a possible 53 minutes, Nowitzki shot 15-for-32 from the field and 21-for-22 from the free throw line. He also recorded 16 rebounds, four blocks, three steals and two assists.

This performance helped Nowitzki record the first of three 50-point games of his career.

It's also a franchise record, breaking the previous record of 50 held by Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn.

Other notable events on Dec. 2

  • In 1954, Frank Selvy of the Milwaukee Hawks hit 24 of 26 free throws in a game against the Minneapolis Lakers. Both those tallies are still NBA records for free throws made and attempted in a game by a rookie.
  • In 1986, the Washington Bullets defeated the Boston Celtics 117-109, snapping the Celtics' 38-game home win streak. Even though the game was played at Hartford Civic Center instead of the Boston Garden, it still counted as a home contest for Boston. Their 38-game run is the fifth-best home winning streak in NBA history.
  • In 1996, Clyde Drexler reached the career landmark of 2,000 steals, becoming the fifth player in NBA history (at that time) to reach that tally. He would finish his career with 2,207 steals, currently ranking him 7th all-time.

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