Dirk Nowitzki has made a habit of setting records while facing the Lakers.
Luke Walton knows that firsthand, as he was a Lakers player when Nowitzki scored his 20,000th point on Jan. 13, 2010. Walton got another taste of Nowitzki's success Tuesday night, this time as coach of the Lakers, as he watched Nowitzki score his 30,000th point in Dallas in the Lakers' 122-111 loss.
Walton, perhaps in a nostalgic mood, channeled another former Lakers coach, Byron Scott, calling his team "soft." Scott had called the Lakers soft in 2015 after a loss to the Clippers.
"Teams feel like when they play us right now, we're kind of a soft team that they can come in to get their offensive numbers against," Walton said after the game. "That's got to be up to us to change that."
Walton just might be tired of seeing Nowitzki, who scored most of the points he needed to set the record -- 18 of 20 -- in the first quarter.
"You're upset it happens against you as a team," Walton said. "That looked like young Dirk. Those balls weren't even touching the rim. He's got 30,000 points for a reason."
Nowitzki's record-setting shot had been guarded by the Lakers' Larry Nance. Nowitzki hit a step-back baseline jumper over Nance with just under 11 minutes left in the second quarter. Nance said after the game that Dirk's setting that record shouldn't be a surprise.
"I'm not worried about it. I played solid defense," Nance said. "But Dirk is Dirk. There's a reason he has 30,000 points. He's a 7-footer leaning back that can shoot. Good luck."
Nowitzki, meanwhile, is the first international member added to a menagerie of Hall of Famers to reach this accomplishment, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. He finished with a team-high 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting for the Mavs.
In 2015, then-coach Scott had challenged his team by calling it "soft," while Bryant echoed those sentiments.
"We were soft," Scott said after a big loss to the Clippers. "[I have] a lot of respect for that team over there. They're a good team. I don't consider them a physical basketball team, but they came out and punched us, and we were soft, period. ... I told them to man up, basically," he said.
But it's not all bad news for the Lakers, Walton said Tuesday. He believes his team will get there, but he'd already resigned himself to the fact that Nowitzki's record was likely to be set during this game.
Lakers power forward Julius Randle took issue with being called soft but said the team must be more aggressive.
"It [ticks] me off. We're not soft," Randle said. "But we're not the aggressor. When we're the aggressive team, we give ourselves chances to win. When we're not the aggressors, teams have confidence."