It was a curious moment, one that left Dirk Nowitzki a little baffled at first. Why on earth was Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers calling a timeout with 9.4 seconds left and his team holding a nine-point lead?

The answer was simple: Rivers stopped time to make sure that the Staples Center fans appreciated what they were seeing. He grabbed the microphone and urged fans to stand and applaud the Dallas Mavericks forward, who may have been making the final L.A. appearance of his 21-year career. The Mavericks lost for the fifth straight time, falling six games out of landing the final Western Conference postseason spot, and the Mavs have no more games against the Lakers.

“Dirk Nowitzki,” Rivers shouted as he took the mic, clearing up the mystery and urging fans to stand. “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go. One of greatest of all time, Dirk Nowitzki.” Rivers, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer, players and fans gave Nowitzki extended applause.

Nowitzki admitted that he had no clue what was going on at first. “I didn’t really understand much,” Nowitzki said. “It was really, really humbling. It was an emotional moment, and I’m really appreciative.”

With his 1,500th game, Nowitzki, 41, moved into fourth place on the all-time list, trailing Robert Parish (1,611), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,560) and John Stockton (1,504). He finished Monday’s game with 12 points and five rebounds.

Nowitzki hasn’t officially said that he will retire after the season but joked, “They’re making the decision for me, I guess.”

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