Dirk Nowitzki said his sluggish start wasn’t deserving of an 11th consecutive All-Star selection. Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle and the majority of his Western Conference counterparts disagreed with the reigning Finals MVP.
Despite posting some of his lowest numbers since his rookie season while being hobbled by a sore right knee, Nowitzki was announced Thursday as one of seven reserves for the West squad and will be the lone representative for the defending champs.
The Mavs avoided the distinction of becoming the first reigning champion in NBA history not to be represented in the mid-season showcase. The first All-Star game was played in 1951 and no team without an All-Star selection has ever gone on to win the championship.
Head coaches picked seven reserves from their respective conferences. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and Portland Trailblazers forward and Dallas native LaMarcus Aldridge were selected as expected. Nowitzki nipped All-Star hopefuls Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay and Paul Millsap.
They’ll join Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Kevin Durant and power dunker Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers. They won the fan vote and will start the Feb. 26 game in Orlando, likely the first of a long All-Star run as a starting tandem.
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