2015 NBA All-Star starters announced, Kyle Lowry overtakes Dwyane Wade in the East


The last All-Star voting returns were released two weeks ago, and it appeared as though the starters were essentially locked into place.

The closest races in both the frontcourt and guard spots in either conference were right around 100,000 votes apart, which would mean a huge surge in fan support would be needed to have one player overtake someone who already maintained a substantial lead in the race.

The Raptors fan base, in support of Kyle Lowry, came through to get their guy in, while ousting Dwyane Wade at the same time.


G- John Wall

G- Kyle Lowry

F- LeBron James

F- Pau Gasol

F- Carmelo Anthony


G- Kobe Bryant

G- Stephen Curry

F- Anthony Davis

F- Blake Griffin

F- Marc Gasol

For the most part, the fans got it right.

Kobe Bryant was a legacy selection, but his torn rotator cuff now throws his availability for the midseason exhibition into question. If he can’t go, that opens up a spot for someone more deserving to get in as an injury replacement — like Klay Thompson, for example, who may have been hard-pressed to make it otherwise.

The reserves will be extremely interesting, especially in the West. While it’ll be interesting to see if Wade now ends up getting in from the East, with Bryant and possibly LaMarcus Aldridge being sidelined due to injury, that’ll open the door for other deserving players to end up getting one of the remaining spots.

The final voting tally was as follows:

Eastern Conference


1. LeBron James (Cle) 1,470,483

2. Pau Gasol (Chi) 974,177

3. Carmelo Anthony (NY) 647,005

4. Marcin Gortat (Was) 570,005

5. Chris Bosh (Mia) 542,006

6. Kevin Love (Cle) 386,208

7. Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 231,741

8. Joakim Noah (Chi) 203,718

9. Nikola Vucevic (Orl) 129,293

10. Paul Millsap (Atl) 121,938

11. Al Horford (Atl) 114,955

12. Al Jefferson (Cha) 110,980

13. Kevin Garnett (BKN) 106,820

14. Nikola Mirotic (Chi) 103,645

15. Andre Drummond (Det) 86,717


1. John Wall (Was) 886,368

2. Kyle Lowry (Tor) 805,290

3. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 789,839

4. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 535,873

5. Jimmy Butler (Chi) 455,756

6. Derrick Rose (Chi) 379,994

7. DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 159,123

8. Jeff Teague (Atl) 83,900

9. Lou Williams (Tor) 82,135

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 55,014

Western Conference


1. Anthony Davis (NO) 1,369,911

2. Marc Gasol (Mem) 795,121

3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 700,615

4. Tim Duncan (SA) 546,817

5. Kevin Durant (OKC) 545,226

6. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 498,131

7. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 465,334

8. Dwight Howard (Hou) 348,275

9. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 292,557

10. Rudy Gay (Sac) 144,702

11. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 132,150

12. DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 117,816

13. Serge Ibaka (OKC) 107,223

14. Draymond Green (GS) 99,039

15. Tyson Chandler (Dal) 98,654


1. Stephen Curry (GS) 1,513,324

2. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,152,402

3. James Harden (Hou) 1,069,368

4. Chris Paul (LAC) 551,167

5. Damian Lillard (Por) 365,417

6. Klay Thompson (GS) 314,254

7. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 248,758

8. Rajon Rondo (Dal) 219,506

9. Jeremy Lin (LAL) 216,246

10. Mike Conley (Mem) 103,015

Mike Conley: “It would suck” not to make the All-Star team


Mike Conley should have been an All-Star last season. The problem is, there are just so many good point guards in the Western Conference that it’s hard for one of the lower-profile guys to set himself apart next to bigger stars like Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Tony Parker and Russell Westbrook.

Conley has fought against the “underrated” tag his entire career, turning into one of the league’s steadiest guards, a great clutch shooter, solid defender and good passer. And now, as the NBA gets ready to announce this year’s All-Star teams, he wants his due. In a brand-new profile by Grantland’s Jonathan Abrams (which, as with everything Abrams writes, is an absolute must-read), Conley talks about what being named an All-Star would mean to him.

Conley, of course, knows how deep the Western Conference is with talent, and he understands that even if he plays at an All-Star level, getting selected for the All-Star Game remains a long shot. Bigger stars with flashier names are likely to receive All-Star recognition before him. “My ultimate goal isn’t making the All-Star team,” Conley said. “It’s bigger than that. It’s championships. But when it comes to just All-Stars, that is one of my goals. I told myself last year, ‘I didn’t do enough. We didn’t win. We weren’t a good team early.’ [This season], I feel like I’ve gotten much better and our team is where we want to be. We are one of the better teams in the league. We’ve put ourselves in a position where everybody can get noticed individually. This would be a good time [to be named an All-Star]. If it doesn’t happen, it would suck.”

Around the league, Conley has steadily been getting more and more respect, and with Memphis having one of the best records in the cutthroat Western Conference, the case to finally give Conley an All-Star nod is as strong as ever. He won’t get voted in as a starter (those are announced tonight), but the reserves (which will be revealed on January 28) are picked by the coaches, and anyone who’s coached against Conley knows how good he is. Hopefully, this is the year.

Blake Griffin: DeMarcus Cousins should be an All-Star


DeMarcus Cousins has had his run-ins with one of the Clippers’ stars, Chris Paul.

But the Clippers’ other star has plenty of good things to say about the Kings center.

Blake Griffin, via James Ham of Cowbell Kingdom:

“Absolutely,” forward Blake Griffin told Cowbell Kingdom when asked if Cousins is an All-Star.  “The way he’s played is incredible and you can’t deny his production, his numbers.  You saw what happened when he wasn’t playing, but I say this every year – there are guys that deserve to play in the All-Star game that unfortunately don’t get to play in the All-Star game.”

I agree with Griffin.

With my criteria for selecting All-Stars, I’d definitely rate Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis and Marc Gasol ahead of Cousins. I could go either way on Griffin and Tim Duncan. With each conference getting six to eight frontcourt players, that still leaves Cousins an All-Star.

Cousins played like an MVP candidate last season, and he’s even better this year. He’s averaging 24.0 points, 12.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.3 steals per game – marks hit over a full season by only Kevin Garnett, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bob McAdoo. Cousins’ PER, 26.2, ranks sixth in the NBA.

Sure, his effort is sometimes questionable and his his team has struggled, especially since the Kings fired Michael Malone. And Cousins doesn’t care about making it.

But if the coaches are intent on rewarding the best players, Cousins should be an All-Star.

NBA debuts ‘Barrier Breakers’ spot in celebration of MLK Day and Black History Month (VIDEO)

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The NBA has traditionally celebrated Martin Luther King Jr. day in a big way, and this year is no exception.

Monday’s holiday will feature a full slate of games — 12 in total, four of which will be nationally televised.

The league will debut its “Barrier Breakers” television spot, which can be seen in the clip above.

The clip includes a wide range of African-Americans and notable barrier breakers throughout the history of the sport including (in order of appearance): Chuck Cooper, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Yao Ming, Violet Palmer, Michael Jordan, Jason Collins, Kevin Durant, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Hamed Haddadi, Pau Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. Featured teams include: Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs.

It’s not about style points, Cavaliers get needed win vs. Clippers


LOS ANGELES — Chemistry is a three game winning streak.

That’s not Cavaliers’ coach David Blatt’s phrasing but that’s what he’s been hinting at lately — the defense and chemistry issues making headlines around the Cavaliers are a lot easier to discuss and fix after a team has racked up a few wins.

Like the ones the Cavaliers got the last two days.

After an entertaining win over the Lakers on Thursday, the Cavaliers leaned on the hot hands of stars Kyrie Irving (37 points on 12-of-18 shooting) and LeBron James (32 points) to beat the Clippers in a shootout 126-121 Friday night at Staples Center. That improves the Cavaliers to 21-20 on the season, back above .500.

We could pick apart how the Cavaliers played spotty defense and gave up 117.4 points per 100 possessions, how they turned the ball over 20 times (LeBron had nine), how they reverted to isolation, hero ball through much of the fourth quarter, but that misses the point. The Cavaliers aren’t in this for style points, they just needed wins and the Cavs got one against a good team Friday.

“This is a great step in the direction we’re trying to go,” LeBron said. “We’ve had some struggles, but I’m happy I’m able to go out and play at a high level to help our team win.”

The Cavaliers went 3-2 on a recent road trip, but Blatt saw it as better than that.

“There’s nothing I particularly like about losing, but in four of the five games we played pretty well,” Blatt said.

LeBron was doing LeBron things — he hit a key three with Matt Barnes almost in his jersey, for one, and he defended Chris Paul at times down the stretch — but it was Irving that was the difference in this one. With Kevin Love out resting a sore back Irving was making plays.

“I thought he made big plays under duress,” Blatt said of Irving, who hit 10-of-15 contested shots in the game. “It wasn’t like it was easy.”

With Love out Tristan Thompson stepped up with 24 points. The Cavaliers even played stretches of good defense in this one (as did the Clippers), but there was a lot of offensive firepower on the court Friday and it showed.

The Clippers were led by 34 points and 10 rebounds from Blake Griffin.

“We’ve got to take this momentum and get some wins,” Irving said.

“It’s easy for people to see the warts, to criticize…” Blatt said before listing the major injuries that the team has faced, including LeBron. “We went through some tough times but we’re staying together. And fighting.”

And picking up some needed wins.