LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki have had countless matchups against one another over the past 10 years. Many, including a Finals matchup, featured some great performances from the two legends and future Hall Of Famers. In honor of the two playing one another tonight, here are the top 5 greatest moments between LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki.
5. LeBron James vs. Dirk Nowitzki, Part 1
LeBron and Dirk faced off for the first time on February 18, 2004 in Cleveland’s Gund Arena, now Quicken Loans Arena. Dirk got the better of LeBron, scoring 18 points, with 10 rebounds, four assists, and two steals. LeBron scored 16 points, brought down four rebounds, and added nine assists. Dirk’s Mavs blew LeBron’s Cavs out 114-98. This matchup was just the first of many.
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4. LeBron Gets His First Win
It took him three times, but LeBron James finally defeated Dirk and the Mavs 100-80 for the first time in his career on April 3, 2005. James scored 37 points with 10 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals in the home victory, while Dirk Nowitzki finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, three assists, and two blocks.
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3. Playoff Clinching Victory
LeBron James came up big for the Cavaliers with 46 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals as his Cavaliers defeated the Mavericks 107-94 to ensure James’ first ever appearance in the playoffs and end the eight-year playoff drought for the Cavaliers, who hadn’t made the playoffs since the 1997-98 season. Dirk played respectably well with 29 points, five rebounds, three assists, and two steals, but it came in a losing effort.
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2. 2011 NBA Finals
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Dirk Nowitzki got one on LeBron James. In the 2011 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat, Nowitzki averaged 26 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists. LeBron seemed to play his game, averaging 17.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists, and 1.7 steals, but shot an uncharacteristic 47.8% after shooting 51% during the regular season. Dirk would win his first NBA Championship in Game 6 on Miami’s home floor. This would serve as a major wake up call for LeBron, who became a different basketball beast after that Finals loss.
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1. LeBron Undefeated Against Mavs Since 2011
After losing to the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals, LeBron has seen Dirk and the Mavs six times in the regular season. With the exclusion the Cavs loss to the Mavericks earlier this season as James sat out with an injury, he has won all six of those matchups by an average of 12.3 points per game, including a 21 point Christmas Day victory in the first matchup following the Finals. LeBron has averaged 32.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game in those games as Dallas always brings the best out of LeBron James.