Sunday, September 23, 2018
Sports

For starters: 2 Warriors, 2 Cavs

NEW YORK — Stephen Curry won a tiebreaker to join Warriors teammate Kevin Durant in the lineup, while LeBron James and Kyrie Irving also gave the Cavaliers two starters in the NBA All-Star Game.

Curry and the Rockets' James Harden beat out Russell Westbrook for the two Western Conference backcourt spots Thursday in the new voting system that included players and media for the first time this season. They join frontcourt choices Durant, Anthony Davis of the Pelicans and Kawhi Leonard of the Spurs.

The rest of the East lineup for the Feb. 19 game in New Orleans: Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Bucks and Jimmy Butler of the Bulls in the frontcourt, and DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors in the backcourt. He beat out the Celtics' Isaiah Thomas in another tiebreaker.

Fan voting accounted for 50 percent in the new system, while current players and a media panel each made up 25 percent.

James is the leading scorer in All-Star Game history and is set to become just the fifth player to start at least 13 games. He said it meant something extra being the leading vote-getter among fans with nearly 1.9 million votes.

"I think from the standpoint of people enjoy the way I play the game, they respect the way I play the game and at this point in my career I'm still doing something right," he said. "Makes me proud, makes my family proud and my support system so it's cool in that sense."

He and Durant had the highest possible scores across all three voting groups, but the new process eliminated the Bulls' Dwyane Wade, the 76ers' Joel Embiid and the Warriors' Zaza Pachulia, who would have been elected by fans under the old format.

But they didn't rank high enough to hold onto spots when player and media votes were counted, though Curry did.

Fan voting served as the tiebreaker, and the two-time MVP's 1.8 million votes trailed only James. DeRozan edged Thomas by about 41,000 votes among fans, which gave him the tiebreaker.

Westbrook vows revenge: Westbrook was upset with Pachulia in the wake of the Warriors' 121-100 romp Wednesday over the visiting Thunder. With just under five seconds left in the half, Pachulia jumped in front of Westbrook as the Thunder point guard was coming off a screen near midcourt and stood his ground as the two players collided. Westbrook got the worst of it, hitting the deck face down momentarily before popping back up. Pachulia added some relish to the collision by standing over Westbrook while he was down, and he subsequently was assessed a flagrant-1 foul. Asked about the play, Westbrook was blunt. "I'm going to get (him) back," he said. "Whenever that is, I don't know when it's going to be. But I don't play that game." As for Durant, his teammate for eight seasons before leaving OKC as a free agent for Golden State, Westbrook was asked if they were once again on speaking terms. His response was straight to the point: "No."

Game Highlights: John Wall had 29 points, scoring four in the last 32 seconds as the visiting Wizards beat the Knicks 113-110. Carmelo Anthony finished with 34, including a team-record 25 in the second quarter. … Kyrie Irving scored 26, LeBron James had 21 and 15 assists, and the host Cavaliers beat the Suns 118-103. … Goran Dragic had 32, Tyler Johnson scored 10 of his 23 in the fourth quarter and the host Heat topped the Mavericks 99-95. … Kawhi Leonard scored 34 as the host Spurs held off the Nuggets 118-104.

Around the League: Kings forward Rudy Gay will need season-ending surgery after an MRI exam showed a ruptured left Achilles tendon. … Spurs center Pau Gasol broke his finger during pregame warmups and missed the game against the Nuggets. There is no timetable for his return.

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