DALLAS -- For more than a decade, Dallas Mavericks fans could take a couple of things to the bank.
Dirk Nowitzki would be an All-Star, and the Mavs would make the playoffs.
Well, Nowitzki will spend his All-Star weekend relaxing on a beach. Realistically, it looks like his schedule in late April will be wide open, too.
Dirk can deal with his streak of 11 straight All-Star selections being snapped. It will be much tougher for him to stomach a run of a dozen consecutive playoff berths ending if the Mavs fail to pull off a miraculous rally in the final 30 games of the season.
"It is a long time, obviously," Nowitzki said. "It'd be really disappointing to see it end, obviously. Only missed it my first two years and then always had fun. Obviously, playoffs is where I want to be.
"It starts getting warm out and that's my time of the year. Every game is big. The adjustments, all that stuff, the atmosphere -- it's fun to be in the playoffs. It'd be tough to see that end, so we're going to keep on pushing."
Never mind the numbers that indicate it's close to impossible for the Mavs to make a playoff push.
The Mavs are well aware that they sit in 11th place in the Western Conference standings, 4 ½ games out of the final playoff seed. If they've crunched the numbers, they know they need to go 18-12 just to get back to .500 and shave off their beards, much less leapfrog the Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets to punch their postseason ticket.