Light All-Star night for Dirk Nowitzki
February, 26, 2012
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com
Mark Cuban was hoping for, oh, three minutes for his superstar, but he'll be happy with the 14 minutes Dirk Nowitzki logged jogging up and down Dwight Howard's home floor -- tick, tick, tick -- in Sunday night's All-Star Game.
In his 11th consecutive appearance as a West reserve, Nowitzki put up seven points on 3-of-8 shooting in the West's hang-on, 152-149 victory. True to his regular season, he wasn't feeling it from 3-point range, banging in just one of five attempts from downtown. He missed his first two in the first quarter, when he logged nearly half his total time.
Nowitzki would not be seen again until midway through the third quarter. He nailed his only 3-point attempt of the period and fed Tony Parker for a reverse layup, his lone assist of the game. He also finished with four rebounds, including two offensive boards.
Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant took home MVP honors having scored 36 points and his coach, West coach Scott Brooks, wasn't shy about playing his superstar, leaving him in for a game-high 37 minutes.
And Dirk seemed perfectly content playing what he did and cheering on his fellow All-Stars. After all, if Charles Barkley is right, Dirk doesn't have many of these left. Still, he was clearly enjoying himself if you couldn't tell by his towel-waving after Blake Griffin's monster dunk late in the fourth.
He enjoyed it enough to even share a postgame embrace with -- cough, cough -- Dwyane Wade, who recorded only the third triple-double in All-Star history.
Parker, Marc Gasol, Steve Nash, starting center Andrew Bynum and first-timer LaMarcus Aldridge all played fewer minutes than Nowitzki as the other four starters and reserve guard Russell Westbrook, one of Brooks' OKC boys, took on the heavy minutes.
Nowitzki heads back to Dallas for a 2:30 p.m. practice Monday as the Mavs begin the final 32 games of the season at home Tuesday against the New Jersey Nets.