Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce overcame slow starts to return to the All-Star game, while lengthy runs ended for Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.
Nowitzki was chosen Thursday to his 11th straight All-Star game, despite his lowest scoring average since his second NBA season. Pierce has come on after a slow start caused by a foot injury and was picked for the 10th time.
But Garnett wasn't chosen after 14 consecutive selections, and Duncan was left out after 13 in a row. Other All-Star regulars such as Ray Allen and Amare Stoudemire will be home, giving way to five first-timers: Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol of Memphis, Andre Iguodala of Philadelphia, Indiana's Roy Hibbert and Chicago's Luol Deng.
Coaches voted for the reserves, and they had a tough task in this lockout-shortened season, when they were given only about 25 games to evaluate players. That threatened to make it tough for Nowitzki and Pierce, whose bodies weren't ready to go after the lengthy off-season and brief training camps, and have played below their usual standards.
"I think it's too early. I'm sitting on my couch when they announced the rosters and I'm floored. I didn't even know they had started the voting," Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said.
But the coaches picked Nowitzki, the NBA Finals MVP, even though his average of 17.6 points is his worst since he scored 17.5 per game in the 1999-00 season. Even he wondered recently whether his streak would continue, given the depth of players in his position in the West.
Pierce has been a little better, winning last week's East player of the week award and lifting his average to 18.4 per game, but he acknowledged during an interview on TNT before the Celtics played the Lakers that he was a little surprised to be picked.
Lakers 88, Celtics 87 (OT): Pau Gasol blocked Ray Allen's putback attempt at the buzzer in overtime and Los Angeles held on to win at Boston.
Gasol finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum had 16 points and 17 rebounds to help the Lakers snap a two-game losing streak.
Allen scored 22 points and Kevin Garnett had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Boston, which had won five in a row and nine of its previous 10 games. But Garnett was 6-for-23 from the field and Paul Pierce was 7-for-18, including a clean-look jumper at the end of overtime.
It rimmed out and Allen tried to push the rebound in, but Gasol got his fingertips on it and it floated away as the buzzer sounded.
Lin a hit in Asia
Jeremy Lin is making the Knicks must-see TV in Asia. The NBA said Thursday its Asian TV partners have added Knicks games to their broadcast schedules following the emergence of Lin, the first American-born NBA player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent.
Sina in China will show Friday's game against the Lakers, while stations in Taiwan will televise Knicks games this month against Toronto, Sacramento, New Orleans, New Jersey and Atlanta. ESPN Philippines also added the Feb. 17 Hornets game in New York.
Lin, an undrafted guard from Harvard, has led the Knicks to three straight wins, scoring more than 20 points in each game.
Around the league
Hawks: Short-handed at center following injuries to Al Horford and Jason Collins, Atlanta signed 15-year veteran center Erick Dampier to a 10-day contract on Thursday. Dampier, 36, bolsters the team's roster for a tough stretch that begins with a game against Dwight Howard and the Magic on Friday night. The challenges continue with a game against the Heat on Sunday and a visit to the Lakers on Tuesday.
Cavaliers: Rookie point guard Kyrie Irving remains day to day with a concussion that sidelined him for one game and could keep him out a few more. Irving was evaluated at the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday, one day after he was diagnosed with a concussion. Irving was accidentally kneed in the head during Tuesday's game in Miami.