Final fan balloting for next month’s NBA All-Star Game ends Monday night.
Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said forward Dirk Nowitzki and guard Monta Ellis should be in the midseason classic, set for Feb. 16 in New Orleans.
Barring a mad rush to the computer where fans can vote multiple times, neither Nowitzki or Ellis will be voted in as a starter for the Western Conference All-Stars. But when the coaches vote for the seven reserves, Nelson thinks Nowitzki and Ellis should have their tickets punched to New Orleans.
“For Monta, it’s time,” Nelson said. “He’s had just a breakout-type season.
“He’s proven to be a very great running mate with Dirk and that’s something that we haven’t had here in a very long time, so he’s certainly deserving. I think when it comes down to the coach’s vote I really think that he’s put himself in a great position.”
As the Mavs (24-18) prepare to play Cleveland (15-25) at noon Monday at Quicken Loans Arena, Ellis comes in averaging 20 points, 5.9 assists and 1.83 steals per game. The nine-year veteran has never played in an All-Star game.
That could change this year.
“He’s put himself in a great position,” Nelson said. “And I think [coach] Rick [Carlisle] has additionally put himself in that spot where he absolutely needs to be.”
While Ellis is chasing his first All-Star berth, Nowitzki is seeking his 12th. The 16-year veteran played in 11 consecutive All-Star games, starting in 2002. Last season, arthroscopic right knee surgery cost him 27 contests and a possible All-Star appearance.
Nelson pointed out that Nowitzki has regained his All-Star form. The numbers back up Nelson’s claim, with Nowitzki averaging 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and shooting 40.1 percent from 3-point range and 90.5 percent from the free-throw line.
“Dirk never ceases to amaze all of us within the locker room and around the league,” Nelson said. “He, first of all, is one of the most competitive guys I’ve ever been around, and that’s why he and Monta are really two birds of a feather.
“There’s no reason why he can’t continue to do this for several years to come. So they both deserve to be in the All-Star game.”
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are among the social media places where fans can vote for this year’s All-Stars.
Nowitzki ranks 10th in the latest voting for the three Western Conference frontcourt spots, while Ellis didn’t crack the top 10 in the backcourt voting.
He asked for it
It’s no surprise that the NBA fined Mavs owner Mark Cuban $100,000 on Saturday for some indiscretions he committed after Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Nearly all season Cuban let it known that he would be fined one more time before NBA Commissioner David Stern retired on Feb. 1. The NBA slapped him with that $100,000 fine after Cuban confronted the referees and used inappropriate language following his team’s 129-127 loss to the Clippers.
Two days after the incident in Los Angeles, Cuban wondered why he hadn’t heard from the NBA.
“I already tried to get fined on that [Clippers] game,” Cuban said before Friday’s game in Phoenix. “So you already know what I felt about it.”