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Bogut again bounced from All-Star game
James Dampney
17:57 AEST Fri Feb 4 2011
Andrew Bogut again bounced from the All-Star game.
Andrew Bogut has again fallen short in his bid to become Australia's first NBA All-Star.

Andrew Bogut has again fallen short in his bid to become Australia's first NBA All-Star.

The Milwaukee centre is leading the NBA in blocked shorts and is fifth in rebounds and was considered a chance to nab a bench spot when the reserves were announced on Friday.

But for the second straight year Bogut missed out to Atlanta forward/centre Al Horford as the back-up to Orlando superstar Dwight Howard.

The Victorian received plenty of support from the NBA coaches, who pick the All-Star benches, but the Bucks' poor 19-29 record was seen as his biggest obstacle.

Horford's Hawks are 31-18 and fourth in the Eastern Conference.

A philosophical Bogut wasn't surprised to miss out, believing it was also harder to attract attention playing in decidedly un-sexy Milwaukee, rather than New York, Los Angeles or Chicago.

"It's just the way it is," Bogut said. "We've got to play really well as a team to have an All-Star.

"And it's magnified playing in a small market.

"I know a lot of coaches out there think I'm a pretty good player.

"But when it counts, I wasn't. It's more motivation in the summer to rehab and get better."

Bogut has struggled offensively since his sickening arm injury last year, but has still produced 13.4 points, 11.7 boards and 2.8 blocks per game. Horford's numbers are 16.1, 9.9 and 1.1

"The thing (Bogut) doesn't have going for him is they haven't won," Washington coach Flip Saunders said recently.

"Does he deserve it? I think he's right there. He's had some monster games. He's leading the league in blocked shots. He's rebounded well.

"Unfortunately their team hasn't won a lot.

"When it comes down to it, a lot of coaches are going to vote that way, because Atlanta has had a solid year."

The Bucks have not had an All-Star since guard Michael Redd in 2004.

The Celtics got four players onto the East bench - Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.

Miami's Chris Bosh also made it, while in the West the likes of Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki and LA Clippers rookie Blake Griffin made the cut.

Bogut, a clear defensive player of the year contender, will need to pick up his offensive game and lead the Bucks to more wins if he is to achieve one of his career goals.

But there's no doubt the former No.1 draft pick has plenty of support around the NBA.

"He's always a guy that I view as an underrated big man in our league," Atlanta coach Larry Drew said.

"When guys do fight the injury bug, parts of their games do suffer.

"But he's always recognised, at least in my eyes, as one of the players in the league who has played his position extremely well."

Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins is also an admirer.

"He's the anchor of their defence," Collins said.

"He's been slowed by injuries along the way, but definitely I think he's an All-Star calibre player, no question."

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