James Harden will start in the backcourt for the Western Conference All-Star team, replacing Kobe Bryant, who will sit out the game Sunday with a knee injury.
West coach Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City Thunder) made his selection on Friday, picking his former guard Harden, who spent three seasons with the Thunder before a 2012 trade to the Houston Rockets.
Bryant was injured on Dec. 17 in Memphis, suffering a fracture of his lateral tibial plateau in his left knee.
After missing the start of the season while recovering from an Achilles tear, Bryant got through just six games before suffering another injury.
Nevertheless, fans voted for the popular Bryant to start in the All-Star game.
Bryant’ s knee injury will be evaluated after the All-Star break. The Lakers have a 18-35 record this season and are tied with Sacramento for last place in the West.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver selected New Orleans Pelicans forward/center Anthony Davis to replace Bryant on the Western Conference All-Star roster.
Harden was voted in as an All-Star reserve by the Western Conference coaches. Through 45 games this season, Harden is averaging 23.9 points, 5.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds.