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Thursday, January 17, 2013
Dirk Nowitzki 'disappointed' All-Star streak will end

By Tim MacMahon

It’s a near certainty that Dirk Nowitzki won’t hear his name when the All-Star Game reserves are announced a week from today.

Nowitzki knows he isn’t putting up anything close to All-Star-caliber numbers, averaging 13.7 points and 5.2 rebounds after missing the first 27 games while recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. After 11 consecutive All-Star appearances, he fully expects to spend that extended weekend at home.

Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett (13 each) are the only active players who have been invited to more All-Star games.

“It’s obviously a disappointing streak to end, but it is what it is,” Nowitzki said. “I had fun representing the Mavs all these years, but it was a tough year for me with injuries. I guess those four days I’m going to enjoy and get a good amount of work in as well and get recharged for the second half of the season.

Nowitzki’s streak could have ended last season, when he got off to a slow start and admitted that other power forwards in the West were more deserving, but the coaches voted in him in large part due to their immense respect for his career accomplishments. He ended the season averaging 21.6 points per game, so that All-Star appearance doesn’t look inappropriate.

Nowitzki, a 15-year veteran, has actually participated in every All-Star weekend since he arrived in the league. The NBA didn’t have an All-Star weekend in his lockout-shortened rookie season, and he took part in the 3-point shootouts the next two years before his All-Star streak started.

Of course, there’s always a chance Nowitzki could head to Houston for the 3-point shootout next month. Right, Dirk?

“Uhhhh,” he said with a grin, “no.”