Rivers called a timeout with 9.4 seconds remaining in the Clippers' 121-112 win against the Mavericks on Monday in Los Angeles. He took a microphone from a public address announcer and encouraged the crowd to get to its feet and salute the possibly retiring NBA legend.
"Let's go. Let's go," Rivers instructed the crowd of nearly 20,000 attending the game.
Nowitzki had 12 points and five rebounds in the loss. Luka Doncic paced the Mavericks with 28 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Montrezl Harrell scored a game-high 32 points for Los Angeles.
"I just felt like he deserved that," Rivers told reporters.
"I wasn't going to let that happen again so I just did it."
Nowitzki, 40, has played his entire 21-year career with the Mavericks. The No. 9 overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft has averaged 20.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game during his NBA tenure, while shooting 38 percent from 3-point range. Nowitzki is a 14-time All-Star, 12-time All-NBA selection, NBA champion and was the 2006-2007 NBA MVP.
"That was sweet," Nowitzki told reporters."I'm really appreciative. First I was like 'why is Doc calling a timeout? What's he doing with six seconds to go. What's he up to?' He grabbed the mic and I didn't really understand much, but it was really humbling and it was an emotional moment and I'm really appreciative."
Clippers players also congratulated Nowitzki after the game. Despite many believing Nowitzki is on his way out of the league, the Mavericks star has yet to officially announce this as his final season.