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Dirk Nowitzki Passes Gary Payton On All-Time Scoring List

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Dirk Nowitzki returned to action for the Mavericks for the first time in nine games on Saturday night and Nowitzki wasted little time moving up on the NBA's all-time scoring list. Nowitzki passed Gary Payton in the second quarter, moving up to 24th on the league's all-time scoring list. Payton amassed 21,813 points in his 17 year career, playing in 1,335 games. Nowitzki passed Payton in just his 950th game. Nowitzki has awhile to go in passing Payton in assists, though as Payton has 6,431 more than Dirk.

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Clyde Drexler is next on the list at No. 23 with 22,195 points scored. Kevin Garnett, obviously still active, is 22nd on the list. 

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Nowitzki's return couldn't have come at a better time for the Mavericks as well, who have gone 2-7 without him. Nowitzki injured his knee on December 27 in a win against the Thunder. The Mavs have also lost four in a row coming into tonight's contest against Memphis, putting them seven games behind the Spurs in the Southwest division. 

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.