NEWARK, N.J. — So now, Timberwolves forward Kevin Love and every other remaining All-Star Game hopeful waits for NBA coaches to cast their ballots for the Feb. 26 game's reserves to be announced Thursday night on TNT.
In this strange, condensed season, there's a very good chance Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki won't be invited and Memphis' Marc Gasol or Utah's Paul Millsap will.
"I think you're going to have to take everything into consideration because it's a different year," New Jersey coach Avery Johnson said before Friday's 108-105 loss to the Wolves. "You don't have as many games to evaluate. It's going to a combination of what they've done this year, and I'm assuming coaches also are going to take into consideration a player's body of work."
Wolves coach Rick Adelman will consider such matters before his ballot is due Tuesday.
"That's something I hadn't started thinking about until the starters were announced [on Thursday], and now you've got to make a decision," he said. "It's a hard one because some of these guys have been at a high level for so long, but you can't overlook a guy who's having a great year, especially if their team is having success.
"In your mind, Dirk's always been an All-Star. I have to look at the other people, go out and make decisions based on that."Risk vs. reward
Wolves center Darko Milicic made Deadspin the other day when the sports gossip website picked up a blog posting from former Memphis Grizzlies teammate Casey Jacobsen, who wrote that Milicic once told him he doesn't believe in investing all those millions of dollars he has made.
Milicic confirmed some of that notion before Friday's game.
"Better to spend your money on something or somebody who needs it than lose it," said Milicic, who has paid for Serbian children to travel to China for stem-cell treatment to combat Batten's disease.The video doesn't lie
Count Johnson, a former point guard, as another admirer impressed by Wolves rookie Ricky Rubio.
The Nets coach says Rubio is one of few players -- Utah Jazz great John Stockton was another -- who caused him to rewind the game tape to make sure he saw what he thought he just saw.
"Just an extraordinary passer," Johnson said before seeing Rubio record 10 points, 10 assists and six steals Friday night. "I wouldn't dare say he's Magic Johnson, but just that type of court vision, OK? I didn't say he was Magic. I don't want you to tweet that."Imprisoned?
If you follow Wolves rookie Derrick Williams on Twitter (@RealDwill7), you would swear he has joined the "Free Derrick Williams" movement that is forming there among fans who want to see the No. 2 overall pick play more than just a little bit.
"I get tweets all day, a lot of people are saying that, but I'm still happy I'm here," said Williams, who played only six minutes Friday, scoring four points. "It's hard, it's a little frustrating, but at the same time we're winning. It's not like we're 2-18 or 3-10. We're about .500, we're winning, everybody's playing great.
"Whenever I'm in the game, I've got to produce and make the most of what I'm given."Etc.
• Milicic started Friday's game despite missing Thursday's practice because of a bruised thigh, but he played only eight minutes after Nikola Pekovic came on and delivered his third double-double in the past five games (27 points, 11 rebounds). Pekovic started the second half.
• Forward Anthony Randolph was a healthy scratch for the second game in a row. With everyone but rookie Malcolm Lee healthy now, Adelman must designate one other player to be inactive. He says he will do so nightly based on matchups.
• Forward Anthony Tolliver played a handful of minutes for only the second time in five games because of an injured wrist and a full, healthy roster.