Dirk's lead evaporated in final weeks

Updated: January 29, 2010, 12:01 PM ET
By Jeff Caplan | ESPNDallas.com

If only Tim Duncan would follow Kevin Garnett to the Eastern Conference, or just take his four championship rings and retire, maybe then Dirk Nowitzki could finally start a darn All-Star Game.

Duncan and Garnett -- who both might have been centers instead of forwards in a different era -- have continually kept Nowitzki coming off the All-Star bench, not that there's any shame in that. But this time around it all seemed to be coming together for the Mavs' 7-footer.

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