Sat, Feb 05, 2011 - Page 7 News List

NBA: Griffin picked for first All-Star game

no show:Blake Griffin will become the first rookie All-Star since Yao Ming in 2003, who misses this year’s game due to injury, leaving David Stern to pick a replacement

AP, NEW YORK

Blake Griffin is going to his first All-Star game, and Kevin Garnett matched an NBA record on Thursday with his 14th straight selection as one of a record-tying four Boston Celtics headed for the midseason event.

Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will accompany Garnett, who equaled Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal and Karl Malone for the most consecutive selections. The Celtics joined the 2006 Detroit Pistons as the only teams to have four players picked as reserves by the coaches.

Griffin, the rookie of the year favorite of the Los Angeles Clippers, will become the first rookie All-Star since Yao Ming in 2003. Joining Griffin on the Western Conference team for the Feb. 20 game at Staples Center were Tim Duncan — 13th successive selection — and Manu Ginobili of the NBA-leading San Antonio Spurs; forwards Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas and Pau Gasol of the LA Lakers; and guards Deron Williams of Utah and Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City, who joins Griffin as the lone first-time selections.

Chris Bosh will go to Los Angeles with Miami teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who were elected as starters. The other Eastern Conference reserves picked were Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and Al Horford.

The reserves were selected in voting by the head coaches in each conference, who had to vote for two forwards, two guards, a center and two players regardless of position.

They went for the winning teams in the East, whose reserves are represented by just three teams.

“There hasn’t been too many times where you’ve had this kind of competition at the top of the Eastern Conference with such good teams,” Wade said. “So looking at the All-Star team, you understand that most guys are going to be from a few teams. That’s how it should be in the Eastern Conference. The Western Conference is a different argument.”

The voting was much more difficult in the West, where coaches bypassed the likes of forwards Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and Lamar Odom.

“It was difficult,” said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who will coach the West team. “When we sat down, there were a lot of great names to choose from. At every position, you leave someone out.”

Tony Parker missed out despite being the second-leading scorer for the Spurs. Phoenix veteran Steve Nash and Golden State’s Monta Ellis, the league’s sixth-leading scorer, also fell short.

The starters were chosen by fan voting and announced last week.

Orlando’s Dwight Howard, Chicago’s Derrick Rose and New York forward Amare Stoudemire are the other East starters, while the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, New Orleans guard Chris Paul, forwards Carmelo Anthony of Denver and Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City, and Houston center Yao were the winners from the West.

Yao was injured so commissioner David Stern will choose a replacement. That gives another chance to Love, who is averaging 21.4 points and a league-best 15.5 rebounds, and shooting 43.9 percent from 3-point range. He has 34 straight double-doubles, but was undoubtedly hurt by his Minnesota Timberwolves’ 11-37 record.

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