Carmelo Anthony passes Andre Drummond for starting position in NBA All-Star voting

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The NBA released its latest returns in All-Star voting today:

Eastern Conference


1          Dwyane Wade (Mia) 736,732

2          Kyrie Irving (Cle) 399,757

3          Kyle Lowry (Tor) 367,472

4          Jimmy Butler (Chi) 356,561

5          John Wall (Was) 281,936

6          DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 262,683

7          Derrick Rose (Chi) 217,986

8          Jeremy Lin (Cha) 155,475

9          Isaiah Thomas (Bos) 111,838

10        Reggie Jackson (Det) 57,736


1          LeBron James (Cle) 830,345

2          Paul George (Ind) 569,947

3          Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 368,336

4          Andre Drummond (Det) 361,307

5          Pau Gasol (Chi) 294,172

6          Chris Bosh (Mia) 266,817

7          Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 248,783

8          Kevin Love (Cle) 241,700

9          Hassan Whiteside (Mia) 226,039

10        Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 60,953

11        Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 45,743

12        Marcin Gortat (Was) 34,747

13        Joakim Noah (Chi) 34,274

14        DeMarre Carroll (Tor) 31,861

15        Paul Millsap (Atl) 29,576


Western Conference


1          Stephen Curry (GS) 1,206,467

2          Russell Westbrook (OKC) 609,901

3          Chris Paul (LAC) 410,284

4          Klay Thompson (GS) 386,053

5          James Harden (Hou) 319,596

6          Rajon Rondo (Sac) 157,298

7          Manu Ginobili (SA) 144,712

8          Andre Iguodala (GS) 142,047

9          Tony Parker (SA) 123,136

10        Damian Lillard (Por) 105,797



1          Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,533,432

2          Kevin Durant (OKC) 774,782

3          Draymond Green (GS) 499,947

4          Kawhi Leonard (SA) 487,626

5          Blake Griffin (LAC) 396,630

6          Anthony Davis (NO) 326,070

7          Tim Duncan (SA) 303,498

8          Zaza Pachulia (Dal) 299,584

9          DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 267,087

10        Enes Kanter (OKC) 261,608

11        LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 176,956

12        Dwight Howard (Hou) 155,975

13        DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 133,484

14        Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 128,962

15        Harrison Barnes (GS) 113,607


  • Only one starting position changed. Carmelo Anthony, who trailed Andre Drummond on the first two returns, moved into third among Eastern Conference frontcourt players. Nobody at either position in either conference is outside starting position but closer to it than Drummond, who’s just 7,029 votes shy of Melo. But fans have voted Melo a starter the last six years, and momentum is on his side. I’d be surprised if Drummond re-takes his lead.
  • Draymond Green’s lead for the final starting spot in the Western Conference frontcourt is up a bit over Kawhi Leonard, but the difference is just 12,321 votes. I’m unsure exactly when the NBA calculated these numbers, but Green missed the Warriors’ game last night and will likely miss their game against the Lakers tonight. That Golden State lost to the lowly Nuggets without Green arguably strengthens his credentials, but fan voting is only loosely tied to merit. It might not help having Green out of the spotlight – especially when Leonard is playing a nationally televised game against the Cavaliers tonight. An injured Blake Griffin is fading from the race.
  • Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler remain in striking distance of Kyrie Irving for the final Eastern Conference starting-guard spot. Lowry made a late push last year to become a starter. Can he do it again?
  • Chris Paul’s bump from Justin Bieber’s tweets wasn’t nearly enough to make the Western Conference guard race competitive.
  • There wasn’t much movement down the returns. Kristaps Porzingis made the biggest leap in the rankings, jumping from ninth to seventh among Eastern Conference frontcourt players.
  • Kobe Bryant, unsurprisingly, remains the overall vote leader.
  • On the other hand, Paul Millsap faces the biggest negative disconnect between votes received and production. How is he just 15th among Eastern Conference frontcourt players?
  • This is the final public update before voting closes Monday. The starters will be announced a week from today.

Watch Dončić pick up 16th technical, will result in one-game suspension


Luka Dončić barks at the referees more than any player in the league, and with that he does not get the benefit of the doubt when he’s flirting with the edge of a technical foul.

That caught up with Dončić on Sunday, when he didn’t get a call on a leaning baseline jumper, said something to the nearby official, and racked up his 16th technical this season. That will mean an automatic one-game suspension unless it is rescinded (which is unlikely in this case).

Dončić likely will have to sit out Monday when the Mavericks play the Pacers on the second game of a back-to-back.

This suspension comes on the heels of Dončić being fined $35,000 — but not being given a technical foul at the time — for making a money gesture towards a referee in frustration after another recent Mavericks loss.

Dončić went on to have 40 points Sunday but the Mavericks lost again — their second time in a row to the tanking Hornets, their fourth in a row overall and they have now dropped 7-of-9. That has dropped them out of even the play-in to 11th in the West. The Mavericks need to rack up wins over the season’s final two weeks to even make the postseason.

And they must get that next win Monday without Dončić in the lineup.


UPDATE: LeBron “active,” will make return to court Sunday vs. Bulls

Celebrities At The Los Angeles Lakers Game
Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

UPDATE: LeBron James has officially been upgraded to active and will make his return to the team on Sunday against the Chicago Bulls.


A couple of days ago, reports said LeBron James hoped to return and play the final few games before the season ended and he said there was no timeline for his return.

In less than 24 hours the Lakers have moved LeBron from “out” last game to “doubtful” and now — as of Sunday morning — questionable for the Lakers game against the Bulls. While nothing is confirmed, these are the steps a team takes before a player returns from injury. LeBron is going to test his foot pregame and make a decision.

LeBron had been pushing to return from a foot tendon injury that had sidelined him for 13 games. The Lakers have gone 8-5 in those games behind the second-best defense in the league over that stretch. What has struggled during those games has been the offense (23rd in the league) and LeBron instantly fixes that. He has averaged 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game this season and the Laker offense has been six points per 100 possessions better when he has been on the court.

The Lakers currently sit tied for the No.7/8 seeds in the West, with an outside shot at climbing into the top six (they are 1.5 games back of the Lakers and Clippers who are tied for sixth, but if those teams go 4-3 the rest of the way the Lakers need to go 6-2 over their last eight just to tie them). The Lakers are also one game ahead of the 11-seed Dallas Mavericks and missing out on the playoffs entirely.

The Lakers need wins the rest of the way to secure a playoff spot, and some time to build chemistry heading into the playoffs. Having LeBron James helps with all of that.

Nets thrash Heat, move back up to No.6 seed in East

Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat
Megan Briggs/Getty Images

MIAMI (AP) — All the Brooklyn Nets needed, coach Jacque Vaughn insisted, was one win.

They got it, and made it look easy.

Mikal Bridges scored 27 points, and the Nets opened the third quarter on a 31-6 run on the way to rolling past Miami 129-100 on Saturday night and leapfrogging the Heat back into the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Cam Johnson added 23 points and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 15 for the Nets (40-34), who snapped a five-game slide. They’re only a half-game up on Miami (40-35) in the race for the sixth and final guaranteed playoff berth, but swept the Heat 3-0 this season and would also own a head-to-head tiebreaker.

“We had the mindset coming in that this was a playoff game,” Johnson said.

Max Strus scored 23 for the Heat, all of them in the first half. Tyler Herro scored 23, Jimmy Butler had 18 and Bam Adebayo finished with 16 for the Heat. Miami was outscored 64-31 after halftime.

“We have not been defending at a world-class level, the way we’re capable of … and the second half just became an avalanche,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

Strus came off the bench and made his first nine shots, one of them putting Miami up 51-37 midway through the second quarter. Over the next 14 minutes, the Nets outscored Miami 54-24 – completely turning the game around, eventually leading by 32 and, for now, putting Brooklyn in position to escape the play-in tournament that’ll decide the final two East playoff berths.

“You see how this March Madness is and you’re one and you’re done,” Vaughn said. “And that’s part of it. I have not discussed any of the standings with this group. Really, we have gone day to day and tried to get a win.”

The Heat could have moved 1 1/2 games up on Brooklyn for sixth with a win.

“There has been nothing easy about this season and that doesn’t necessarily mean that has to be a negative thing,” Spoelstra said. “You have to embrace the struggle. You have to figure out ways to stay together … but we just got categorically outplayed tonight.”

It was Brooklyn’s second trip to Miami this season. The first was Jan. 8 – which ended up being the last time Kevin Durant played for the Nets, and the last time Durant and Kyrie Irving played together. Durant left that game with a knee injury, then got traded to Phoenix, and Irving has since been dealt to Dallas, as well.

The Nets were 27-13 after that night, second in the East, just a game behind Boston for the best record in the NBA. They’re 13-21 since, yet still have the Heat looking up at them in the standings – which Vaughn insists he hasn’t discussed with his team.

“You need the momentum, the confidence, the reassurance that you can get it done,” Vaughn said. “So, haven’t tried to complicate it more than that.”

Jokic scores 31 points with 11 assists, leads Nuggets past Bucks 129-106


DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 31 points and 11 assists, Jamal Murray finished with 26 points and nine assists, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Milwaukee Bucks 129-106 on Saturday night in a late-season showdown of the NBA’s conference leaders.

Michael Porter Jr. scored 19 points for West-leading Denver (50-24), which outscored East-leading Milwaukee 68-40 in the second half.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 31 points — just seven in the second half — and grabbed nine rebounds for the Bucks (53-20).

“It’s better to win games, but our goal is to do something in a playoffs,” Jokic said.

The battle of the top teams in each conference — and two strong MVP candidates — was more competitive than the teams’ first meeting, won by the Bucks 107-99. Then, the Nuggets held out four starters — Jokic, Murray, Porter and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope — in the game in Milwaukee on Jan. 25. Denver had played the night before in New Orleans and opted to rest its stars.

The circumstances were reversed, with the Bucks having played in Utah on Friday night.

“We still play, still got to be better, there’s no excuses about that,” Khris Middleton said. “But I’m sure for a lot of fans, a lot of people out there, they’d love to see healthy teams, or not coming off back to backs.”

Antetokounmpo scored 24 points on 11-for-14 shooting in the first half, with all but one of those field goals coming at the rim. Murray (20 points) and Jokic (17 points) kept Denver within three at the break, and then the Nuggets outscored Milwaukee 34-19 in the third quarter to take a 97-85 lead.

Jeff Green dunked on Antetokounmpo to open the fourth as the Nuggets’ lead swelled to 15 points. Grayson Allen hit a 3-pointer to cut it to 103-91 with 9:54 left, but Milwaukee went scoreless for 4:10 while Denver built a 111-91 lead.

“It was an amazing dunk,” Jokic said of Green’s dunk. “I didn’t think he was going to do it. He almost fell down, so it was a really nice dunk.”

Antetokounmpo went to the bench with 5:54 left and didn’t return.

The Bucks lost some composure in the third quarter. Bobby Portis Jr. was called for a take foul on Jokic and, immediately after, a technical. Denver hit both free throws and Bruce Brown hit a 3-pointer for a 84-76 lead. Minutes later, Brook Lopez got a technical while sitting on the bench.

Antetokounmpo picked up Milwaukee’s third technical with 6:41 left in the game.

“It was a night where we were grumpy, and it happens,” coach Mike Budenholzer said.

Denver coach Michael Malone got a technical late in the first quarter, and it was to prevent Jokic from getting one. Jokic was frustrated by the physical play, so during a timeout Malone told him he would get the technical.

“I can get kicked out, he can’t. I understand the pecking order here,” Malone said.