Phoenix trailed by 30 at halftime (68-38) but got within four in the fourth quarter before back-to-back 3-pointers from Luka Doncic and Justin Jackson pushed the lead back to 10.
The reaction was so visceral that Spalding, the polite and affable rookie who happened to begin the season with the Dallas Mavericks, brought it up inside the postgame locker room as he changed from Suns uniform to street clothes for the final time in the 2018-19 season.
Nowitzki then went out and showed flashes of his old self and showed why he's one of the greatest to ever play the game. He made 11, was 5 of 14 from 3-point range, grabbed eight rebounds and matched a season high with three assists.
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The final bucket at home of his likely Hall of Fame career was his signature one-legged fadeaway from just above the free throw line - yes, there was a tribute video for that too, starring Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Barkley added, "It's been an honor and a privilege to watch you - enjoy the rest of your life".
Nowitzki will likely stick around Dallas after he retires; he's spent his entire career with the Mavericks, and owner Mark Cuban has gone on record saying he can have whatever job he wants after his playing days.
He broke Kobe Bryant's record of 20 seasons with the Lakers.
Last game of the season, why not go out with a bang?
"This is my new home", Nowitzki said.
"It's been a long time coming, struggling this year with my foot", Nowitzki said. "But physically, the foot is just not quite there".