The clock is ticking once again on Dirk Nowitzki’s bid to make the NBA All-Star team.
The seven reserves from each conference, voted in by the coaches, will be announced Thursday night on TNT. Meanwhile, Nowitzki will be able to rest peacefully with the results whether he makes the team or not.
“I always had fun going even though probably over the last couple of years when I made it I didn’t really play that much anymore,” Nowitzki said after Tuesday’s practice at American Airlines Center. “It wasn’t even really my type of game when I was young, so it definitely is not my type of game when I’m old. But I still have fun going there. It’s always been an honor.”
The last time Nowitzki played significant minutes in the All-Star game was in 2010 when the exhibition was held at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Starting in place of the injured Kobe Bryant, Nowitzki played 28 minutes and finished with 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting.
In the 2011 All-Star game, Nowitzki played just 14 minutes and collected six points on 3-of-8 shooting, and in the 2012 edition, he again played 14 minutes and had seven points on 3-of-8 shooting.
Coach Rick Carlisle already acknowledged that, by his estimation, Nowitzki is a virtual lock to be one of the seven reserves named to this year’s Western Conference All-Star team.
“He’ll make it,” said Carlisle, whose team hosts the Houston Rockets at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. “I just have a feeling that he will. But if he doesn’t, it’s great because he’ll have rest.”
Nowitzki always felt participating in the All-Star game was not only an honor for him but also for the Mavs’ organization and for the fans, who have sold out the AAC for 495 consecutive games.
Nowitzki made the All-Star team 11 straight years from 2002-12. He had surgery on his right knee on Oct. 19, 2012, and missed 29 games, crippling any chances he had at being included on last year’s All-Star team.
Nevertheless, Nowitzki admits it would be gratifying to be chosen among the game’s elite players after all the struggles he’s encountered with his knee, especially at the age of 35.
“It kind of would show me that the work I put in this summer, starting in May already, kind of paid off,” Nowitzki said. “I guess I know that already without making the All-Star game.”
A win over the Rockets Wednesday night would give the Mavs a 3-1 season series win over Houston.
That will be good news for the Mavs, who are 0-1 against Oklahoma City, 0-2 against San Antonio and 0-2 against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Mavs are 1-1 against Portland, Golden State and Phoenix, the other three teams ahead of Dallas in the West standings.
As far as the East goes, the Mavs have yet to play top-seeded Indiana. But they’re 0-1 against Miami, 0-2 against Toronto and blew a 17-point lead while dropping to 1-1 against Atlanta.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit against teams that are above us or even in the Eastern Conference that have a better record,” Nowitzki said. “So any game that we can win against those teams is big as a confidence builder. It would be another huge win for us to get the tiebreaker.”