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Dallas Mavericks to retire Dirk Nowitzki’s No. 41 on Jan. 5

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DALLAS — The Mavericks are retiring Dirk Nowitzki’s No. 41 when Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors visit in January.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is expected to attend the Jan. 5 ceremony honoring the only player in league history to play 21 seasons with the same team. The ceremony will be held after the game.

The 43-year-old Nowitzki is the franchise leader in points, games, starts, minutes, rebounds, 3-pointers, free throws and blocks. The 14-time All-Star is the highest-scoring foreign-born player in NBA history. Nowitzki is sixth on the all-time list with 31,560 points.

Nowitzki retired at age 40 in 2019, eight years after leading Dallas to the only championship in franchise history. Jason Kidd, the point guard on that team, is now coach of the Mavericks.

Three other Dallas players have had their numbers retired, all of them guards in Brad Davis (10), Rolando Blackman (22) and Derek Harper (12).

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Warriors’ Stephen Curry doesn’t rule out hitting 16 3s in next game to break Ray Allen’s career record

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SAN FRANCISCO — Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry now sits just 16 3-pointers away from breaking Ray Allen’s career 3-point record after knocking down seven more treys in a 126-95 win over the Orlando Magic on Monday night.

When asked if he thought he could break the record of 2,973 during Wednesday’s home game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Curry smiled.

“Anything is possible,” he said.

Part of the reason the smile came so easily for the two-time MVP is because he knew what it would also entail — breaking teammate Klay Thompson‘s single-game record of 14 3-pointers, which came in October 2018 and knocked off Curry’s previous record of 13.

“What is it, 15?” Curry said of tying Allen’s mark. “That’s funny because I know what that means is Klay’s record and all that, too. So we will see. … If you’ve seen the way I’ve played, especially recently, I’m not shy about shooting the ball, so the game will dictate what that looks like. I’m not coming out with that as the true goal of how I play, but crazier things have happened.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr also acknowledged he thought breaking the record is a possibility for Wednesday.

“I’m fully aware he’s 15 away,” Kerr said. “I’m guessing he’s going to shoot a lot against Portland on Wednesday. He’s Steph Curry — so anything’s possible.”

Curry’s teammates can feel the excitement as well.

“That’s going to be crazy,” Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins said. “But who else to do it but Steph? He deserves it, all the hard work he put in. He’s one of the most influential basketball players of all time. Helped change the game. So no one deserves it more than him.”

Curry said he can remember the “dope moment” when Allen moved past Indiana Pacers great Reggie Miller on the all-time list and how the pair embraced as Miller called the game courtside for Turner Sports.

“I remember watching it on TV and just feeling the energy in there,” Curry said. “So I think any basketball fan will appreciate when it happens. … But I like the anticipation of being in the moment and just enjoying all that’s gone into it.”

While Curry was open about the fact he knows how close he is to the mark, he preferred to wait before putting the achievement into context and what it would mean to him.

“I’ll talk about it when it happens,” Curry said. “You’re going to make me cry up here, bro.”

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Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler aggravates tailbone injury after hard fall

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Miami Heat star Jimmy Butler aggravated a tailbone injury that had kept him out four games in his return to the court on Monday, a 105-90 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Butler favored his back after a hard fall on a missed driving layup early in the first quarter. He scored just 10 points on 13 shots before heading to the locker room midway through the third quarter. He did not return.

“He drew contact and got shoved and landed on his tailbone again,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game. “There could not have been a worst scenario for us to start the game. It is a contact sport. It’s an unpredictable thing. Insult to injury, we didn’t get the call on that either.

“But he definitely re-aggravated it. You can tell from that point on he was not his usual self. So we’ll reevaluate him [Tuesday] and see where we are.”

Injuries have plagued the Heat this season with All-Star big man Bam Adabayo expected to miss six weeks after surgery on his thumb. Markieff Morris has also missed 15 consecutive games with a neck injury but did participate in warm-ups before Monday’s game.

The Heat next host the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 27 on 27th birthday as Bucks beat Cavaliers

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MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo came back from a two-game absence and scored 27 points on his 27th birthday to help the Milwaukee Bucks defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-104 on Monday night.

The two-time MVP also had 12 rebounds in his return from a sore right calf as the Bucks won for the 10th time in 11 games. Milwaukee split the two games it played without Antetokounmpo, losing 97-93 at Toronto and rolling to a 124-102 home victory over Miami.

Milwaukee broke a 29-all tie with seven straight points early in the second quarter and stayed ahead the rest of the way, though Cleveland made the Bucks work for it.

After trailing by as many as 13, the Cavaliers got the margin down to two in the fourth quarter. Cedi Osman missed a 3-point attempt with 6:14 left that would have given Cleveland its first lead since late in the first quarter.

Jrue Holiday then hit a 3-pointer on the other end to extend the Bucks’ lead to 101-96 with 6:04 remaining.

Milwaukee’s lead didn’t drop below five the rest of the way.

Holiday had 20 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Khris Middleton provided 21 points and eight assists. Pat Connaughton scored 12, and Bobby Portis had 10 points and 16 rebounds.

The Bucks are undefeated this season when Antetokounmpo, Middleton and Holiday are all in the lineup.

Jarrett Allen led the Cavaliers with 25 points and nine rebounds while shooting 10 of 12. Lauri Markkanen scored 20, Kevin Love 15, Evan Mobley 12 and Darius Garland 10.

Milwaukee has beaten the Cavaliers eight straight times. The Bucks are 43-4 against Central Division opponents since Mike Budenholzer took over as coach in 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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