Carmelo Anthony has jumped over Pau Gasol in NBA All-Star voting, the league announced in its Thursday release of the second set of balloting. The Lakers' Gasol had led Nuggets star Anthony by 21,000 votes two weeks ago. But in the latest results, 'Melo has opened up a 5,000-vote over Pau for the second West starting forward spot. Kevin Durant of the Thunder leads Anthony by 133,000 votes for the first Western forward slot.
Voting ends Jan. 23. The starting line-ups will be announced on TNT on Jan. 27.
The other hotly contested battle -- between the Celtics' Rajon Rondo and the Bulls' Derrick Rose -- has tightened. Rondo was ahead by 73,000 votes in the first round of results, but Rose has pulled to within 56,000. That seems like a mammoth gap, but it can be made up, especially if Rondo continues to sit due to injury. The Heat's Dwyane Wade leads both with 938,402 votes.
If voting ended today, these would be the All-Star starting line-ups:
- G: Dwyane Wade (938,402)
- G; Rajon Rondo (777,310)
- F: LeBron James (969,459)
- F: Kevin Garnett (712,555)
- C: Dwight Howard (988,572)
- G: Kobe Bryant (1,153,694)
- G: Chris Paul (585,690)
- F; Kevin Durant (735,521)
- F: Carmelo Anthony (602,516)
- C: Yao Ming (637,527)
Yao presents a problem, as he won't play again this season. Andrew Bynum of the Lakers trails Yao by about 260,000 votes. If Yao wins the voting, the league will be in a tough position deciding how to fill his starting spot. The most sensible resolution would be to allow Gasol to start at center (where he played for the first quarter of the season for L.A.) and fill the center spots on the roster with tall forwards like Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki.