Stephen Curry won a tiebreaker to join Golden State teammate Kevin Durant in the starting lineup, while LeBron James and Kyrie Irving also gave Cleveland two starters in the NBA All-Star game.
Toronto guard DeMar DeRozan also won a tiebreaker to earn a spot in the East’s lineup for the game Feb. 19 in New Orleans. He beat out Boston’s Isaiah Thomas for the spot.
Curry and Houston’s James Harden beat out Russell Westbrook for the two Western Conference backcourt spots in the new voting system that included players and media for the first time this season.
They will join frontcourt choices Durant, Anthony Davis of New Orleans and Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio.
The rest of the East lineup is Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee and Jimmy Butler of Chicago in the frontcourt.
Fan voting accounted for 50% in the new system, while current players and a media panel each made up 25%.
James is the leading scorer in All-Star Game history and is set to become just the fifth player to start at least 13 games. He said it meant something extra being the leading vote-getter among fans with nearly 1.9 million votes.
“I think from the standpoint of people enjoy the way I play the game, they respect the way I play the game and at this point in my career I’m still doing something right,” he said. “Makes me proud, makes my family proud and my support system so it’s cool in that sense.”
James and Durant had the highest possible scores across all three voting groups, but the new process eliminated Chicago’s Dwyane Wade, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Golden State’s Zaza Pachulia, who would have been elected by fans under the old format.
But they didn’t rank high enough to hold onto spots when player and media votes were counted, though Curry did.
Fan voting served as the tiebreaker, and the two-time MVP’s 1.8 million votes trailed only James. So even though he ranked third behind MVP candidates Harden and Westbrook in the other categories and ended up with the same weighted score as them, he got one spot and Harden the other after earning nearly 200,000 more fan votes than his former teammate.
DeRozan edged Thomas by about 41,000 votes among fans, which gave him the tiebreaker to join Irving, the MVP of the 2014 All-Star game, which was also in New Orleans.
Perennial East starters such as Wade and Carmelo Anthony missed out, leaving James surrounded by Irving and three players voted as starters for the first time. Antetokounmpo became Milwaukee’s first All-Star since Michael Redd in 2003-04.
The NBA’s mid-season spectacle will be a big night for the little guys, with most of the starters coming from outside the league’s biggest markets. More than 38 million votes were cast by fans, a 146% increase from last season.
The reserves will be announced next Thursday after voting by head coaches in each conference.
Spurs’ Gasol breaks finger
San Antonio Spurs center Pau Gasol broke a finger during pregame warmups and is not playing against the Denver Nuggets. The team said there is no timeline for Gasol’s return.
Gasol was scheduled to start but left the court clutching his left hand before the national anthem. He had X-rays, which revealed a fractured finger. It was unclear how Gasol got hurt.
San Antonio also was without point guard Tony Parker, a late scratch from the starting lineup as well. Parker was in uniform and on the bench, but sat out because of a sprained left foot.
It was the first game Gasol missed due to injury this season. He sat out two games previously for rest. The 7-foot center from Spain is in his 16th season, but first with the Spurs after signing as a free agent following two seasons in Chicago. He is averaging 11.7 points and 7.9 rebounds in 39 games.
Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay will need season-ending surgery to repair a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon. The Kings said an MRI exam confirmed that Gay had a full rupture of the tendon and will undergo surgery in the coming days. Gay got hurt in the third quarter Wednesday night against Indiana. … Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is still having back issues and will not play Thursday night against Phoenix. Love expected to be in the lineup despite injuring his back in the first half of Monday night’s blowout loss to Golden State. However, he was unable to make it completely through the morning shootaround and the Cavs are giving him another day to rest. …
Kristaps Porzingis is back for the New York Knicks’ game against Washington, while Joakim Noah remains out. Both starters had MRI exams for nagging injuries. No structural damage was found to Porzingis’ sore left Achilles’ tendon, while Noah’s confirmed a sprained left ankle. Porzingis has missed four consecutive and seven of the last 11 games. Noah was out for the second straight night.