Jan 23, 2014, 7:25 PM EDT
You voted for them, so here they are — your 2014 NBA All-Star Game starters:
Backcourt: Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Frontcourt: Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)
When the votes were last released Love was more than 26,000 votes behind ofDwight Howard and 18,000 back of Griffin, but somehow Howard just dropped off the map.
To that, I say well done fans — it’s not that Howard has been bad, but Love has been better. Love deserved this starting nod. More than that, the removal of Howard could free up a frontcourt reserve spot (voted on by the coaches and announced next week) for DeMarcus Cousins and/or Anthony Davis (as well as LaMarcus Aldridge), both of whom have been more deserving based on their play the first half of the season. Although most likely the coaches will pick Howard.
Kobe’s play the first half of the season didn’t earn him a spot — he’s been in six games between his Achilles and knee injuries — and while the fans voted him in reaction was he didn’t want to go.
Kobe says he appreciates being voted an All-Star but "with all due respect" doesn't want to play in the game.—
Mike Bresnahan (@Mike_Bresnahan) January 24, 2014
If Kobe is healthy enough to play for the Lakers prior to the All-Star Game he would have to get a special waiver from the NBA to skip the All-Star game, and that’s not likely. Not impossible, but this is a showcase event for the league and they want to give the fans what they want. And they want Kobe. That said, if he is out it could free up a spot for someone such as Goran Dragic or Mike Conley, who have played very well the first half of the season and deserve recognition (Damian Lillard is a lock to be chosen by the coaches as a reserve, along with Chris Paul).
Fan votes determine the All-Star Game starters LeBron was the top vote getter with 1,416,419 votes, followed closely by Durant with 1,396,294 votes.
We got four first time starters this year. Curry went from the guy snubbed last year to a starter, getting more votes than Chris Paul and vault into a starter’s spot. Love’s late charge makes him a first time starter. Out east, Paul George and Kyrie Irving will get the start.
Errors? There were a couple in my book. We discussed Kobe, he would not have had my vote. I would argue you could start John Wall over Irving, or LaMarcus Aldridge over Griffin, but at least all the guys who got the fan votes are playing well there.
Now the voting switches to the coaches (or, more accurately, whomever the coaches delegate the task to) to pick the reserves. Those will be announced.
The All-Star Game is Sunday Feb. 16 in New Orleans — be ready for lots of Pierre the Pelican in your grill. The Friday before is the Rising Stars challenge, then on Saturday comes the Dunk Contest, Skills Contest and the rest of that fun.
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