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Dirk Nowitzki drops to 4th in final AS voting

Dirk Nowitzki never had a chance to make the All-Star game as a starter. Fans quickly decided that Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant and rising force Blake Griffin would represent the Western Conference squad as the starting forwards.

Nowitzki had maintained a grip on third place until this final week. Perhaps his surprisingly sluggish start to the season is why, or maybe Spanish voters stuffed the ballot box. Whichever, Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers surpassed Nowitzki for third by a mere 1,918 votes.

Remarkably, both 7-footers beat out fifth-place vote-getter Kevin Love, whose 25-point, 14-rebound average makes him a lock to make the team as a reserve.

Coaches vote for seven reserves in their respective conferences. It will be interesting to see if either Gasol or Nowitzki makes the team. If Nowitzki is left off, a real possibility considering the season he's having and a lively crop of forwards to choose from, it would end his 10-year All-Star run. Reserves will be announced next Thursday night.

Lamar Odom finished eighth among forwards and Jason Kidd finished ninth among guards. Shawn Marion and Jason Terry did not place in the top 10 at their respective positions.

Here's the final voting. The top two vote-getters at guard and forward and the top vote-getter at center will start the All-Star Game in Orlando on Feb. 26.

Western Conference

Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 1,345,566; Blake Griffin (LAC) 876,451; Pau Gasol (LAL) 470,353; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 468,435; Kevin Love (Min) 373,880; LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 279,500; Tim Duncan (SA) 185,069; Lamar Odom (Dal) 142,830; Danilo Gallinari (Den) 110,245; Rudy Gay (Mem) 95,228.

Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,555,479; Chris Paul (LAC) 1,138,743; Ricky Rubio (Min) 397,456; Steve Nash (Pho) 276,268; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 262,186; Kyle Lowry (Hou) 185,584; Monta Ellis (GS) 156,603; Chauncey Billups (LAC) 120,961; Jason Kidd (Dal) 114,924; Manu Ginobili (SA) 111,273.

Centers: Andrew Bynum (LAL) 1,051,945; DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 322,056; Marc Gasol (Mem) 285,525; NenĂª (Den) 207,102; Marcin Gortat (Pho) 136,168; Kendrick Perkins (OKC) 99,811.

Eastern Conference

Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 1,360,680; Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 1,041,290; Amar'e Stoudemire (NYK) 383,734; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 367,914; Chris Bosh (Mia) 324,605; Luol Deng (Chi) 276,205; Paul Pierce (Bos) 215,020; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 175,828; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 152,362; Josh Smith (Atl) 119,638.

Guards: Derrick Rose (Chi) 1,514,723; Dwyane Wade (Mia) 1,334,223; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 547,110; Ray Allen (Bos) 382,147; Deron Williams (NJN) 208,697; Jose Calderon (Tor) 132,167; Richard Hamilton (Chi) 111,368; John Wall (Was) 96,606; Kyrie Irving (Cle) 96,346; Joe Johnson (Atl) 66,145.

Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,600,390; Joakim Noah (Chi) 236,497; Tyson Chandler (NYK) 163,077; Joel Anthony (Mia) 101,307; JaVale McGee (Was) 63,765; Al Horford (Atl) 50,396.