Kevin Love Added To NBA All-Star Game In Place Of Injured Yao Ming

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Kevin Love Named To West's NBA All-Star Reserves In Place Of Yao Ming

Kevin Love will replace Yao Ming on the Western Conference's NBA All-Star team, the league announced late Friday. Commissioner David Stern had the option of choosing any player from the West -- not just a big man. But the Minnesota Timberwolves' Love was most frequently mentioned as the All-Star Game's biggest snub after the league announced coaches' reserve choices on Thursday. Love lost out to Tim Duncan, Blake Griffin and Russell Westbrook in coach voting.

Love, a third-year power forward, leads the NBA in rebounding with 15.5 per game. He's on pace to become the first player since Moses Malone to average 20 points and 15 rebounds per game, and he's tallied 34 consecutive double-doubles.

Other options for Stern included Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Suns guard Steve Nash, Lakers forward Lamar Odom and Hornets forward David West. Nash and West have been All-Stars before; Aldridge and Odom, like Love, had never gotten the nod before.

TNT analysts (and Hall of Fame power forwards*) Charles Barkley and Chris Webber stumped vociferously for Love after the NBA's All-Star announcement on Thursday. Stern could get another replacement choice or two: Deron Williams is struggling to get back on the court due to a sprained wrist, and Carmelo Anthony trade rumors remain all the rage. If 'Melo were traded to an Eastern Conference team, Stern would need to name a replacement for the West squad. The East would then carry 13 players.

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Kevin Love Snubbed In Coaches' Choice Of NBA All-Star Reserves

Kevin Love was the most surprising absence from the NBA All-Star reserves announced Thursday. The Minnesota Timberwolves forward was left off the Western All-Stars; in his place, the West's coaches chose Clippers rookie Blake Griffin, Spurs legend Tim Duncan, Lakers forward Pau Gasol, Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki and whichever reserve guard (Manu Ginobili, Russell Westbrook or Deron Williams) rated lowest and thus took a wild card spot.

Love is averaging 21.4 points and a league-best 15.5 rebounds. He's tallied 34 straight double-doubles, he has a True Shooting percentage of .593, is No. 6 in the league in PER, No. 5 in Win Shares (despite a team in the bottom five in wins) and is on pace to be the first player since Moses Malone to average 20 and 15 in a season.

TNT analyst and former high-rebound power forward Charles Barkley stumped vociferously for Love during the cable network's announcement of the picks, at one point saying that there are so many bad teams in the NBA because coaches "don't know what the hell they're doing." He then went on to talk about the size of Kim Kardashian's ass.

Commissioner David Stern will soon select a replacement for injured All-Star starter Yao Ming, and Love figures to be a top candidate, along with Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Suns point guard and two-time MVP Steve Nash and Lakers forward Lamar Odom, who might receive a bit more consideration given that the All-Star Game will be played in L.A.

A Carmelo Anthony trade to the Eastern Conference before the Feb. 20 All-Star Game could open up another spot, too.

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Chris Bosh, Four Celtics Chosen As NBA All-Star Reserves In East

Chris Bosh and four members of the Boston Celtics have been chosen as NBA All-Star reserves for the Eastern Conference, Yahoo! Sports reported on Thursday. The NBA was set to announce the reserves, as voted by the head coaches of the Eastern Conference, at 7 PM ET, but the results leaked early.

Joining the Miami Heat's Bosh in the frontcourt will be Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce of the East-leading Celtics, as well as Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks. Boston guards Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen and the Atlanta Hawks' Joe Johnson make up the bench backcourt. The East All-Stars' starting five includes LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Amar'e Stoudemire, Derrick Rose and Dwight Howard. Boston's Doc Rivers will coach the team.

There are no real snubs to speak of, though the fact that the Heat received three All-Star nods while the Bulls -- tied with Miami in the standings -- received just one will receive some attention. Carlos Boozer, who missed a third of the Bulls' season due to injury, had been mentioned as a potential selection, and Luol Deng was a subversive choice among those who enjoy defense and a good mid-range jumper. The New York Knicks' Raymond Felton was also considered a possibility over Allen at guard.

The NBA All-Star Game will be held Feb. 20 in Los Angeles.

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Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol Among Those Named NBA All-Star Reserves In West

Blake Griffin and Pau Gasol were among the NBA All-Star reserves chosen by Western coaches, Yahoo! Sports reported on Thursday. The NBA was set to announce the All-Star rosters at 7 PM ET on TNT, but per usual the names were leaked a little early.

Griffin and Gasol are joined in the frontcourt by Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan, surprisingly leaving Kevin Love, who is on pace to be the first player since Moses Malone to average 20 points and 15 rebounds per game for the season, on the outside. The guards chosen to be All-Star reserves were Manu Ginobili, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook. 

The reserves join West All-Star starters Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. Yao Ming was also voted to the starting five, but he's out for the season. Commissioner David Stern will select his replacement -- likely Love -- in the coming days, and San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich will then select a replacement starter from his All-Star bench. Gasol would be the favorite for that spot.

The NBA All-Star Game will be held on Feb. 20 in Los Angeles.

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NBA All-Star Reserves Should Include Four Celtics, Argues Doc Rivers

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers thinks the Eastern Conference's NBA All-Star reserves should include four of his players. It's not surprising that a coach would stump for his own player or players. In fact, Rivers may have the best case of all: Rondo is clearly one of the three best guards in the conference, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce are living legends have great seasons for the East's best team and Ray Allen has produced as well as any contender for the second reserve guard spot.

That Rivers happens to be in line to coach the East All-Stars probably helps. The last team to land four All-Stars was the 2006 Detroit Pistons (Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace). Much ado was made about those four playing together in the All-Star Game with Dwyane Wade, who could have been a Piston had Joe Dumars reconsidered his Darko Milicic pick in the 2003 draft.

So who would Doc put in the game with his four All-Stars, should they make it? From WEEI's Mike Petraglia:

"Whoever is closest to free agency just so they can see how it would feel. I think it should happen. It's clear. It'd be nice. You look at the four guys, all of them have really sacrificed their individual numbers for team wins and sometimes that's held against them and I hope it's not in this case."

The East All-Star starter closest to free agency is Magic center Dwight Howard. Bar the doors, Otis.

For more on the C's, check out CelticsBlog and SB Nation Boston.

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Will Blake Griffin Join NBA All-Star Reserves? He Has At Least One Vote

Blake Griffin is among the hundred or so West forwards hoping to be named to the NBA All-Star reserves. The official announcement will land at 7 PM ET on TNT. The L.A. Clippers' rookie is fighting for one of the maximum five big man All-Star slots out West with Pau Gasol, Kevin Love, Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge, David West and Lamar Odom.

Gasol and Nowitzki are locks, and Duncan -- whose Spurs have the league's best record and no All-Star starters -- seems a likely addition. Love is certainly deserving of a spot. That doesn't leave much room for Griffin, the most electric rookie since Kevin Durant, or perhaps even LeBron James.

Well, we know Griffin received at least one vote. Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry told FoxSports Southwest this week that he indeed voted for Griffin.

"He's the best athlete in the league right now," Gentry said. "I don't think people realize how hard he plays and how competitive he is."

If Griffin isn't voted as an All-Star reserve by Western Conference coaches, who must select two forwards but also have two ballot slots for players at any position, he could still make the game as an injury replacement. The West All-Star will have at least one replacement slot due to Yao Ming's fan vote win as the starting center. Commissioner David Stern does not have to pick a center to replace Yao; Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who will lead the West All-Stars into battle, will select a new starter from among his reserves.

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Rajon Rondo Named To NBA All-Star East Team, According To Report

Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics has been named to the East's NBA All-Star team, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The point guard finished third in fan voting for the Eastern Conference team, trailing just Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade and Chicago Bulls lead guard Derrick Rose. Rondo actually had a lead on Rose for the second guard spot in early voting, but Rose, mentioned in MVP discussions this season, moved ahead.

Head coaches (or, more likely, their teams' PR units) select seven All-Star reserves from their own conference. They must select at least two guards, two forwards and a center, though there is some latitude on how "center" is defined.

Rondo is expected to be joined in the All-Star Game by Celtics teammates Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Boston's Ray Allen is expected to battle with the Atlanta Hawks' Joe Johnson for the second East guard spot. Rondo is averaging a league-high 12.5 assists per game, the NBA's highest individual average since John Stockton's 13.7 in 1992.

Follow this StoryStream for All-Star team updates throughout Thursday. The league officially announces the All-Star rosters at 7 PM ET on TNT.

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NBA All-Star Starters Announced: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant Lead Conferences Into Battle

The NBA on Thursday announced the final voting results to name the starters for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game, scheduled for Feb. 20 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Carmelo Anthony held off Lakers star Pau Gasol to earn a starting spot in the West, while Derrick Rose claimed a contested East guard spot over the Celtics' Rajon Rondo.

Amar'e Stoudemire held off Boston's Kevin Garnett to become the first Knick to be voted into an All-Star starting lineup since 1992 (Patrick Ewing). The last time any Knicks made the All-Star roster was 2001 (Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell).

Here are the full starting line-ups for each conference.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  • Guard: Derrick Rose, Bulls
  • Guard: Dwyane Wade, Heat
  • Forward: LeBron James, Heat
  • Forward: Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks
  • Center: Dwight Howard, Magic

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  • Guard: Kobe Bryant, Lakers
  • Guard: Chris Paul, Hornets
  • Forward: Kevin Durant, Thunder
  • Forward: Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets
  • Center: Yao Ming, Rockets

Given that Yao is out for the season, commissioner David Stern will choose an injury replacement to add to the West roster. But according to the league, that replacement won't be made until after coaches select reserves.

NBA head coaches (or their designated PR flacks) will now vote on seven reserve spots in each conference. Coaches aren't allowed to vote for their own players, and must include at least one center, two forwards and two guards on their ballots. Once the reserves are named, Stern will announce a replacement for Yao and any other players who pull out of the game. Gregg Popovich, who will coach the West All-Stars, will select one of his reserves to take Yao's starting spot. Gasol, who played center during Andrew Bynum's injury, would be a likely choice, as would Pop's own big man Tim Duncan.

In the event 'Melo is traded before the All-Star Game, he'd play for the East team, and a replacement would be named to the West starters.

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NBA All-Star Voting: Amare Stoudemire, Derrick Rose Looking Like Starters

As the votes for the 2011 NBA All-Star game continue to pour in, the usual suspects top the list in the Eastern and Western Conferences, but a pair of new faces are gaining steam in the East.

In the NBA's final balloting update before the starters are announced on Jan. 27, the Knicks' Amare Stoudemire has surged past Kevin Garnett with 1,493,391 votes (vs. KG's 1,049,544), while Chicago's Derrick Rose looks like the front-runner to start at point guard now that he's overtaken another Celtic, Rajon Rondo, with 1,225,575 votes (to Rondo's 1,171,311).

So, in the East, that leaves us with the following line-up:

  • C - Dwight Howard
  • PF - Amare Stoudemire
  • SF - LeBron James
  • SG - Dwyane Wade
  • PG - Derrick Rose

At the moment, Howard leads all Eastern Conference players with nearly 1.6 million votes, but LeBron James remains within striking distance, trailing Howard by less than 20,000 votes. As for the Western Conference, Kobe Bryant leads all vote-getters with more than 1.75 million votes, and Kevin Durant tops out among the forwards with close to 1.3 million. Beyond that, the current lineup looks like this:

  • C - Yao Ming (injured), Andrew Bynum
  • PF - Carmelo Anthony
  • SF - Kevin Durant
  • SG - Kobe Bryant
  • PG - Chris Paul

And even putting aside the obvious hole at center (starring two injury-plagued disappointments), comparing the two lineups leaves you asking: When did the East become this much better than the West?

The Lakers have won two straight titles, and for nearly a decade, the West has been considered the deeper, more talented conference. But looking at the new blood in the East next to the lineup for the West, you have to wonder whether the tables have finally turned in the East's favor.

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NBA All-Star Voting: Amare Stoudemire, Derrick Rose Close Gaps On Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo

When the last NBA All-Star voting results were released, Amare Stoudemire was trailing Kevin Garnett by over 75,000 votes. It seemed improbable that the biggest star to play in New York in a decade would not be named an All-Star starter, so this was a surprise. However, it appears Stoudemire is closing the gap.

Stoudemire still trails Garnett in the latest NBA All-Star voting results, but now trails by just 24,059 votes for the second Eastern Conference forward spot. Garnett has a total of 850,687 votes, with Stoudemire not far behind with 826,628. Both trail LeBron James for the top spot, as James has 1,194,091 votes.

This isn't the only position that's hotly contested. The battle for the second Eastern Conferece starting guard spot between Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo has tightened. Rondo still leads, but only by 12,028 votes. Rose trailed by 56,000 votes last time. Out West, Carmelo Anthony has increased his lead over Pau Gasol for the second forward spot, and now leads by 39,425 votes.

Here are the starting lineups for the game as of today:

EAST:

  • G: Dwyane Wade (1,167,649 votes)
  • G: Rajon Rondo (929,781)
  • F: LeBron James (1,194,091)
  • F: Kevin Garnett (850,687)
  • C: Dwight Howard (1,205,159)
WEST:
  • G: Kobe Bryant (1,391,597)
  • G: Chris Paul (724,605)
  • F: Kevin Durant (945,944)
  • F: Carmelo Anthony (724,284)
  • C: Yao Ming (754,583)
Yao is obviously out for the season with an injury, so the NBA will need to find a replacement for him. Lakers center Andrew Bynum is currently second in the voting. 
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NBA All-Star Voting: Carmelo Anthony Leaps Pau Gasol, Rajon Rondo Holds Off Derrick Rose

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:

EAST:

WEST:

  • 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.

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