Nowitzki to start in Kobe's place

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nowitzki.jpgGeorge Karl didn’t waste any time — and he made a decision that will be very popular with the home crowd in Dallas.

Reports are that the Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki will start in place of Kobe Bryant for the West in the All-Star Game Sunday at Cowboy Stadium. Nowitzki had been selected by the coaches as a reserve for the team and is having another stellar year, scoring 24.6 points and averaging 7.7 rebounds a game.

This will make the starters for the West heavy on forwards — Steve Nash is the guard, with Nowitzki, Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan all as forwards, plus Amar’e Stoudemire at center, and he is really a power forward. Still, that is a team of combo guys who can shoot inside or post, and can run the floor, which in the defenseless All-Star Game could be entertaining.

The move by Karl reunites Nash and Nowitzki on the court in Dallas, where starting in 2000 and for four seasons they led the Mavericks to at least 50 wins and made it as far as the Western Conference Finals with what was one of the most entertaining and efficient offenses the league has ever seen. Hopefully we’ll get to see a little of that old magic.

Stan Van Gundy, the coach for the East, has not announced who will replace Allen Iverson as a starter, but his Magic team had a Thursday night game for him to focus on.