Cavalier heroes LeBron, Kyrie Irving lead NBA All-Star voting
NEW YORK—LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, who sparked the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA crown last year, were the top vote-getters in the first preliminary NBA All-Star Game balloting results announced Thursday (Friday, Manila) by the league.
With 138 percent more votes cast than last year over the first week of All-Star balloting, 11.1 million compared to 4.6 million, last season’s runner-ups setting the Western Conference pace with the public as Golden State’s Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry topped all other vote-getters.
The 66th NBA All-Star Game will be played February 19 at New Orleans with fans, players and media selecting the starters in a revamped format. Fan votes count 50 percent with player and media ballots each worth 25 percent. All players will be ranked by each group and a total weighted rankings will decide the five All-Star starters for both the Eastern and Western conferences.
James, a 12-time All-Star, received the most votes with 595,288 and was joined in the Eastern Conference frontcourt by Milwaukee’s Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo with 500,663 and Cleveland teammate Kevin Love on 250,347, with Philadelphia rookie Joel Embiid next on 221,984.
Irving led the East backcourt with 543,030 with 12-time All-Star Dwyane Wade of the Chicago Bulls in the other guard spot on 278,052, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan was third on 253,340.
In the West, Durant, who has a record 25.6 points per All-Star Game, led the frontcourt with Golden State teammate Zaza Pachulia next on 439,675 and San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard third on 341,240 ahead of New Orleans standout Anthony Davis at 318,144.
Three-point sharpshooter Curry led West guard on 523,597 with Houston’s James Harden second on 519,446 just ahead of two-time reigning All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City on 501,652.
Voting concludes on January 16 with starters announced three days later. All-Star reserve players, selected by NBA coaches, will be announced on January 26.
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