On Tuesday, the Dallas Mavericks (25-21) arrive in Southern California to take on the Los Angeles Lakers (9-37), as Kobe Bryant's losing Lakers host Dirk Nowitzki's Mavericks at Staples Center in the final meeting between the NBA stalwarts.
While 37-year-old Bryant has drawn a great deal of attention for his final season in the NBA, 37-year-old Nowitzki continues going strong in his 18th NBA season. The long German forward leads his team in averaging 17.7 points per game to go along with 6.7 rebounds per game, and he's doing that in only 30.7 minutes per game.
Bryant still leads the Lakers in scoring with 15.8 points per game, too, but that average is falling sharply. The 2016 NBA All-Star forward has only managed to score in double figures in two of his past seven games with his recent high at 15 points.
Bryant's shot attempts have dropped, but the 20-year professional is back to shooting at a highly inefficient rate, especially from long range. For the month of January, no. 24 is shooting 18.9 percent from beyond the three-point line, and about a third of his shot attempts have come from long distance in the new year.
On Saturday in Portland, Bryant shot 55.6 percent from the field in a rare strong shooting performance, and not coincidentally, he only attempted one three-pointer. He missed that shot, too.
In sharp contrast, the Dallas' "flying Deutschman" is shooting 40.0 percent from three-point land, which is better than his career average. Like Bryant, Nowitzki is averaging notably more long range attempts per game than he has averaged for his career. The German, unlike the American, ranks in the top 20 in the NBA for three-point percentage. Bryant ranks last on that list, and his sore shoulder and sore Achilles don't plan on helping him get off the bottom.
On Tuesday, Nowitzki's mature Mavericks come to town as a playoff team, while Bryant's baby Lakers remain a lottery team. Tip-off for the final duel between Bryant and Nowitzki will be at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time.