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LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo lead conference in All-Star voting

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LeBron James (West) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (East) are on track to captain NBA All-Star teams this year.

The first fan-voting returns:

Western Conference

Frontcourt

1. LeBron James (LAL) 1,083,363

2. Luka Doncic (DAL) 679,839

3. Kevin Durant (GSW) 659,968

4. Anthony Davis (NOP) 605,417

5. Paul George (OKC) 580,055

6. Steven Adams (OKC) 261,327

7. Nikola Jokic (DEN) 235,272

8. Kyle Kuzma (LAL) 195,477

9. Draymond Green (GSW) 138,017

10. DeMarcus Cousins (GSW) 92,977

Guards

1. Stephen Curry (GSW) 793,111

2. Derrick Rose (MIN) 698,086

3. James Harden (HOU) 541,606

4. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 459,792

5. Klay Thompson (GSW) 247,618

6. Damian Lillard (POR) 200,609

7. DeMar DeRozan (SAS) 197,524

8. Lonzo Ball (LAL) 175,040

9. Devin Booker (PHO) 111,897

10. Chris Paul (HOU) 101,104

Eastern Conference

Frontcourt

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 991,561

2. Kawhi Leonard (TOR) 774,172

3. Joel Embiid (PHI) 648,002

4. Jimmy Butler (PHI) 222,206

5. Jayson Tatum (BOS) 214,622

6. Blake Griffin (DET) 192,694

7. Vince Carter (ATL) 76,022

8. Andre Drummond (DET) 68,204

9. Gordon Hayward (BOS) 66,492

10. Al Horford (BOS) 62,288

Guards

1. Kyrie Irving (BOS) 910,329

2. Dwyane Wade (MIA) 409,156

3. Kemba Walker (CHA) 319,519

4. Ben Simmons (PHI) 259,993

5. Victor Oladipo (IND) 198,009

6. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 180,571

7. Zach LaVine (CHI) 128,605

8. Jeremy Lin (ATL) 62,573

9. Bradley Beal (WAS) 61,269

10. John Wall (WAS) 54,366

Remember, the NBA stopped giving fans autonomy in picking All-Star starters. Now, the fan vote counts as just 50% in a formula that also gives 25% to current players and 25% to selected media.

So, the big surprises near the top of each category – Luka Doncic second among Western Conference frontcourt players, Derrick Rose second among Western Conference guards, Dwyane Wade second among Eastern Conference guards – barely matter. It’s difficult to see players and media supporting those players. Though maybe Wade gets sendoff starting votes from his peers as he nears retirement.

Other surprises on the leaderboard: Lonzo Ball, DeMarcus Cousins, Vince Carter, Jeremy Lin. But, again, those don’t really matter for actually selecting All-Stars. It’s just a good indication of which players have larger followings than their on-court performance would suggest.

The big races are for leading each conference in fan voting, which – as long as he winds up a starter – makes the player a captain for selecting All-Star teams. LeBron has a big – probably insurmountable – lead in the West. Antetokounmpo is up significantly in the East, though Kyrie Irving is within striking distance.

James Harden’s 19-game 30-point streak surpassed by only Wilt Chamberlain

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On Feb. 24, 1962, the Celtics held Wilt Chamberlain to just 26 points, ending his streak of 30-point games at 65. The next day, he score 67 to start a 31-game streak of 30-point games.

Chamberlain was on a different level. He also had 25- and 20-game streaks of 30-point games. His numbers just warp so many statistical achievements.

Otherwise, James Harden would get even more credit for his scoring binge. The Rockets star has scored 30 points in 19 straight games, the longest such non-Chamberlain streak of all-time.

Here are the longest 30-point-game streaks in NBA history:

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Harden will attempt to continue his run against the 76ers tonight.

He has been clearing a much higher bar lately. In his last three games, Harden has scored 57, 58 and 48 points.

So, maybe “just” 30 points will be easy. But definitely not as easy as Chamberlain made it look.

Myles Turner with monstrous block of Marvin Williams dunk (video)

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Pacers center Myles Turner leads the NBA with 2.8 blocks per game.

Few were better than this one of Marvin Williams in Indiana’s win over the Hornets last night.

Though Williams was slightly losing control of the ball before Turner got to it, the Charlotte forward still went up for a big dunk. But that wasn’t happening on Turner’s watch.

Watch Derrick Rose nail game-winner as Timberwolves beat Suns 116-114

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Derrick Rose and the Minnesota Timberwolves needed this one.

With 30 seconds left, Rose missed the first of two free throws and was kicking himself for failing to give his team the lead.

“I kept saying, `You’re going to get another shot,” Taj Gibson said he told his long-time teammate. Twenty-nine seconds later, Rose proved Gibson prophetic.

Rose hit an 18-footer with 0.9 seconds left to give the Wolves a 116-114 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.

He carried his team by scoring 29 of his 31 points in the second half to help Minnesota overcome an 11-point deficit.

Gibson dunked to pull Minnesota within one with less than a minute to play. Karl-Anthony Towns intercepted a bad pass from Booker, and Rose hit the second of two foul shots to tie it at 114 with 30.5 remaining.

After giving Rose his pep talk, Gibson grabbed the loose ball after Devin Booker lost it on Phoenix’s next possession. With the shot clock off and the crowd on its feet, Rose calmly dribbled down the clock against Mikal Bridges before pulling up and hitting the final shot.

“I missed a lot. it was all up to my teammates and the coaches for giving me that confidence, putting the ball in my hands and just believing in me,” Rose said.

It was a good confidence boost for both the oft-injured guard, and a team that had lost two of its last three home games by a combined seven points.

“He needed that shot, you know what I’m saying?” Gibson said. “He’s been putting in so much work in, we’ve been in that situation a couple times this year and it didn’t go his way.”

Rose picked up the slack for Towns, who had 30 points but only two after halftime. He went 13 of 13 from the free-throw line in the half, but struggled against Phoenix’s double teams in the second.

“We just stepped it up in the second half,” said Dragan Bender, the main man charged with defending Towns. “We came out, tried to double him, try to get the ball out of his hands and make the other players make plays.”

With Towns struggling against double-teams in the second half, Rose kept the Wolves in the game on 11-for-18 shooting in the half.

 

Report: Dennis Smith Jr. rejoins Mavericks after reconciling with Rick Carlisle

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Second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr. has been rumored to be on the trade block. The Dallas Mavericks guard hasn’t seen eye-to-eye with coach Rick Carlisle, and several teams have expressed interest in Smith. It appeared that Smith was all set to join another team as part of a swap as we approach the trade deadline.

A report on Sunday on the latest from Dallas has changed all that. According to The Athletic, Smith and Carlisle have had productive talks and the 21-year-old is set to rejoin the team for their game on Tuesday.

Via Twitter:

Smith hasn’t made the kind of leap the Mavericks were hoping for. Despite an offensive explosion across the league, he hasn’t seen his advanced numbers experience a significant bump. Smith’s flaws are that of a young player — shooting and decision-making — so any additional communication with coaches will be a good thing for him.

Who knows is he and Carlisle can ever heal the wound fully, but it felt too soon to press the eject button on a Top 10 pick like Smith for Mavs fans.