MVP Dream Eludes Dirk: Record Crowd at Cowboys Stadium Sees East Win NBA All-Star Game
by Mike Fisher
Mon, Feb 15, 2010, 07:19 AM
Dirk Nowitzki is NBA royalty when it comes to game-winning shots. And there were times in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game at Cowboys Stadium when it was clear the West was attempting to favor The UberMan for more glory.
But it was another local hero, Deron Williams, who botched part of the plan. And then it was Carmelo Anthony who benefitted from the favoritism of his Denver coach, George Karl, that got in the way of Dirk’s final-possession opportunity.
Final score, East 141, West 139 … and some good-natured frustration from the Mavs contingent over Dirk not getting one more opportunity.
“It would’ve been sweet,’’ said Mavs owner Mark Cuban. “But everybody in the building knew the ball was going to be going to Dirk. So that’s what (the East defense) tried to take away.’’
Nowitzki, playing in a ninth All-Star Game and capping a weekend during which he served as North Texas’ Ambassador to Basketball, did score 22. And he was given plenty of minutes to do his thing and to build his candidacy for an MVP trophy that Kobe Bryant predicted he’d capture. The first two possessions of the game went to him (he made two jumpers). And the second-to-last possession went to him; he was fouled while lining up for a potential game-winning 3, and made his two free throws to tie. But on the play before that Deron took it upon himself to create – and then on the defensive end, committed a silly foul to give the East a boost.
And then came the final possession for Dirk’s West squad. Williams was still on the floor, and was the in-bounder. And then there were Dirk (the crowd favorite) and ‘Melo (the coach’s favorite).
Coach and ‘Melo won the opportunity … but when Anthony shot an improbable off-balance 3-pointer, he airballed it and the West lost the game.
The West ran a pet Nuggets play: Anthony starting in the low-block, coming off a down-screen, and then receiving the ball at the top of the key. Everybody in the building? That’d be a basketball-record 108,713 people who knew something that I don’t believe agrees with George Karl’s view.
“When it didn’t go to Dirk,’’ Cuban joked, “I was so mad I almost ran out on that court!’’
So Dwyane Wade wins the MVP with 28 points. (A sight to re-sicken any Mavs fan.)
"I've had a little luck in Dallas,'' Wade said,
Carmelo Anthony gets to be featured by his coach and gets 27. Another local kid, the East's Chris Bosh, was terrific with 23 points and 10 rebounds, right there with the spectacular LeBron James and his 25.
Said Nowitzki: "It was amazing how many people came out to support us and see this game and be a part of history. So I'm glad I was part of this whole weekend, especially my new hometown. It was great, and just needed that win at the end kind of to top the whole thing off."