3-pointer: Dirk Nowitzki gets All-Star break

DALLAS – Dirk Nowitzki is due for some midseason rest and relaxation.

It feels a little odd for Nowitzki not to be headed to the All-Star weekend. There wasn’t one during his lockout-compressed rookie season, and Nowitzki has been part of the last 13 – as a 3-point shootout participant in two before his 11-year All-Star streak.

Nowitzki didn’t merit that honor during this injury-marred season, so he’ll head to a beach instead.

“My whole career, that’s the only thing I know is going to the All-Star game, so this is something different,” Nowitzki said after the Mavs’ rout of the Kings. “I’m sure I’m going to enjoy it, as well.

“I always said the last couple of years I’m fine either way. I love to represent the Mavericks down there, and if that’s not the case I’m going to have some fun somewhere else.”

Nowitzki will lift weights and get some cardio work in during his vacation, but he doesn’t plan to touch a basketball until the Mavs practice Monday afternoon.

Nowitzki heads into the break in a nice little groove. He followed up his 24-point, seven-rebound performance in Monday’s loss to Atlanta with a 17-point, eight-rebound, six-assist, three-steal night. Nowitzki is 14-of-23 from the floor in the last two games.

“I’ve felt better,” Nowitzki said. “I’ve said it all the time – I’ve got to keep working. It was ugly there for a while. My stamina, I feel like my legs are getting better and better. I feel good.”

A few more notes from the Mavs’ blowout over the Kings:

1. Collison keeps it up: Darren Collison claims he hadn’t heard about the Mavericks’ reported interest in Milwaukee point guard Brandon Jennings.

Collison insists he doesn’t care about things such as trade rumors that are out of his control.

“I can’t predict the future, so I can’t really comment on what trade rumors are out there,” Collison said. “All I can do is just play my game.”

Collison played his game awfully well Wednesday night, dropping 18 points and nine dimes in the Mavs’ rout of the Sacramento Kings. Collison established the fast tempo coach Rick Carlisle wanted and was extremely efficient, hitting 7-of-12 shots from the floor and committing only two turnovers.

“He’s an improved player and he’s improving game by game,” Carlisle said.

The Mavs might be hesitant to commit to Collison as a long-term solution, but the fact of the matter is that he’s been a solid starter ever since Derek Fisher decided to return to his rocking chair.

In 24 games since regaining his starting job, Collison has averaged 14.2 points, 6.0 assists, 1.4 steals and only 2.0 turnovers per game. He’s been an alarmingly accurate shooter during that span, hitting 51.4 percent of his shots from the floor, 50.0 percent of his 3-point attempts and 95.6 percent of his free throws.

“I just think coach is doing a good job just letting me play,” said Collison, who averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 assists during the Mavs’ 3-1 homestand. “I’m just going out there and playing my game.”

2. Courting Cousins: There is a mutual admiration between the Dallas decision-makers and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

Carlisle has raved about Cousins’ game several times, and the Mavs’ front office has made its feelings about the talented 6-foot-11, 270-pound 22-year-old known by trying to convince the Kings to trade him.

What’s Cousins think about the Mavs?

“I think it’s a well-run organization, definitely one of the top organizations in the league,” Cousins said after scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in a losing effort.

Cousins, who is scheduled to be a restricted free agent after the 2013-14 season, clearly isn’t thrilled with his current team. He has butted heads with coach Keith Smart and said Wednesday that “a realistic goal is to win more than 25 games.”

3. Sad Sacramento: The worst defensive team in the NBA brings out the best in the Mavs’ offense.

Three of the Mavs’ four highest-scoring games of the season came against the Kings. Their 123 points Wednesday were the most this season other than a 126-point outburst against Charlotte in the third game of the season. The Mavs had 119 and 117 in their previous two wins over the Kings.