Opening Tip: Havlicek next on list for Nowitzki

OAKLAND, Calif. -- In all likelihood, Dirk Nowitzki will take another step up the NBA’s all-time scoring ladder Tuesday night.

Nowitzki, who has 26,383 career points, needs only 13 points to move past Boston Celtics great John Havlicek into 12th place among the league’s all-time scorers. Considering that Nowitzki is averaging 21.5 points per game this season, it’s a pretty safe bet that he’ll pass Havlicek during Tuesday night’s game against the Golden State Warriors.

It’s also a safe bet that Havlicek will have no hard feelings about being bumped down a notch due to his great respect for Nowitzki, according to Mavs coach Rick Carlisle.

“I got to know Havlicek pretty well in Boston,” said Carlisle, who began his NBA career in Boston. “One thing I can tell you for sure is John Havlicek is a huge fan of Dirk Nowitzki and what he’s done in his career, not only individually, but from a team standpoint and a competitive standpoint and wanting to take on the responsibility of winning and losing.

“John was the guy for them for a lot of years. So he understands what that’s all about.”

Havlicek will be the fifth player passed by Nowitzki on the scoring list this season, joining Jerry West, Reggie Miller, Kevin Garnett and Alex English. Dominique Wilkins and Oscar Robertson are within Nowitzki’s reach before the end of the season.