Dirk Nowitzki closes in on another milestone

NEW YORK -- Dirk Nowitzki is set to hit yet another career scoring milestone tonight. He needs 13 points to become just the 24th player in NBA history to record 22,000 points.

He'll likely do it at the most hallowed venue in the NBA, Madison Square Garden, where the Mavs face the New York Knicks and seek a sixth consecutive victory. It would rank as their second-longest of the season (12 from Nov. 20 - Dec. 11).

Nowitzki, averaging 23.1 points, passed Larry Bird and then Gary Payton in December to move up to 24th on the league's all-time scoring list. Next up is Clyde Drexler with 22,195 points. Nowitzki could possibly overtake Drexler before All-Star Weekend. He'd likely have already secured 23rd on the all-time list if Nowitzki had not missed nine games with a sprained right knee.

Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, who the Mavs will visit Friday, ranks 22nd on the all-time scoring list with 22,852 points.

Nowitzki’s point total, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, ranks him fourth in league history among players born outside of the 50 states. The top five: Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946, born in Nigeria), Dominique Wilkins (26,668, France), Patrick Ewing(24,815, Jamaica), Nowitzki (21,987, West Germany) and Tim Duncan (21,294, Virgin Islands).