NBA All-Star Game 2014: James Harden to replace Kobe Bryant as Western Conference starter

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Harden's old coach selected him to replace the injured Bryant as a West starter.

SB Nation 2014 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Coverage

Houston Rockets guard James Harden will replace injured Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant as a Western Conference All-Star starter, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears.

Bryant was voted in as an All-Star starter despite playing in just six games this season. The Lakers star is still recovering from a knee injury suffered on Dec. 17 and won't play in the All-Star Game.

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, who's coaching the West All-Stars, made the choice of Harden over other candidates such as Chris Paul. Considering Harden used to play for Brooks and helped the Thunder reach an NBA Finals, the selection isn't all that surprising.

Harden has helped lead the Houston Rockets to a 36-17 record at the break, good for the No. 3 seed in the West. The 24-year-old is averaging 23.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds on the season.

Harden joins Golden State Warriors sharpshooter Stephen Curry in the West starting lineup.

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