Mavs' Nowitzki gets last-minute nod for 13th All-Star game
DALLAS (AP) Dirk Nowitzki was planning to take a trip and rest his 36-year-old legs during the All-Star break.
Then the Dallas superstar found out he was being rerouted to New York.
Nowitzki was named late Wednesday night as a last-minute replacement for injured New Orleans forward Anthony Davis, giving him his 13th All-Star appearance for a franchise that doesn't have another player with more than four.
The downside for Nowitzki is that he was relishing a chance to relax in his 17th season. The upside is that he gets to go back to one of his favorite arenas, Madison Square Garden.
Davis opted not to play because he's been sidelined since straining his right shoulder in a loss to Chicago on Saturday.
''This year it threw a little bit of a wrench into my plans, but I am very excited,'' Nowitzki said in a news release. ''Even though it was unexpected, I am looking forward to being a part of the festivities in New York.''
Nowitzki, who is averaging 18.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, went to 11 straight All-Star games before missing in 2013 after he sat out the first 27 games recovering from right knee surgery. He went again last year.
Earlier this season, Nowitzki joined Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan as the only players to score 27,000 points with one franchise.
The 7-footer from Germany, up to seventh on the NBA career list and the highest-scoring foreign-born player in league history, is in his 17th season.
''He's compiling one of the great resumes in NBA history,'' coach Rick Carlisle said in a second meeting with reporters after Dallas went into the break with an 87-82 victory over Utah on Wednesday night. ''It's a little disappointing that he can't just kind of disappear and enjoy some real off time, but this is one of the responsibilities that comes with greatness. And he understands that.''
Monta Ellis, who is likely to end Nowitzki's 14-year run as Dallas' leading scorer if he stays healthy, was another strong candidate as an All-Star replacement before injuring his left hip Monday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Ellis' streak of 218 consecutive games was in jeopardy, but he extended it by playing against the Jazz, although he was limited to seven points and just six shots.