Kobe Bryant, LeBron James headline 2013 All-Star starting lineups
By Ben Golliver
The starting lineups for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game, as determined by a fan vote, were revealed on Thursday, with 10 players getting the call for Feb. 17′s showcase game at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
The Eastern Conference’s starting lineup includes Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, Heat guard Dwyane Wade, Heat forward LeBron James, Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony and Celtics forward/center Kevin Garnett.
The Western Conference’s starting lineup features Clippers guard Chris Paul, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Thunder forward Kevin Durant, Clippers forward Blake Griffin and Lakers center Dwight Howard.
Bryant was the overall leading vote-getter with 1,591,437, earning an NBA record 15th consecutive All-Star start. Prior to this selection, Bryant, the leading scorer in the history of the All-Star Game, was tied with Shaquille O’Neal, Jerry West and Karl Malone with 14 consecutive starting nods.
Durant received 1,504,047 votes, Howard received 922,070, Paul received 929,155 and Griffin received 863,832.
James led the East with 1,583,646 votes received. Anthony received 1,460,950, Wade received 1,052,310, Rondo received 924,180 and Garnett received 553,222.
The only two players in a real fight to keep their spots after three rounds of publicly released voting results were Garnett and Paul. Garnett held off Heat forward Chris Bosh by just 25,208 votes while Paul beat out Rockets guard Jeremy Lin by 45,346 votes.
Fans were asked to select two “backcourt” players and three “frontcourt” players from each conference, as this year’s ballot did not differentiate between “forwards” and “centers” as it has in past years. This year’s voting process also extended onto social networking sites. The league’s coaches will fill out the seven reserve roster spots for each conference. Coaches will select two backcourt players, three frontcourt players and two “wild cards,” who can play any position. The reserves will be announced on Jan. 24.
How did the fans do? Click here for a rundown of all 10 selections, ranked from most worthy to least worthy. For a breakdown of the winners and losers of the new format based on the early voting results, click here. Also new this year: a competition between the conferences during All-Star Saturday.
There wasn’t much drama in the results, as all 10 players emerged quickly as the projected starters in the first round of voting released on Dec. 13. All 10 maintained their position through the second round released on Dec. 27 and through the third round released on Jan. 3.
Eight of the starters were also starters in the 2012 All-Star Game in Orlando. The only changes: Rondo, who plugs in for injured Bulls guard Derrick Rose, and Garnett, who steps in for injured Sixers center Andrew Bynum. Bynum started for the Western Conference last year as a member of the Lakers but was traded to the Sixers in a deal that sent Howard to the Lakers.