LeBron James was selected to make his record-20th consecutive start in the NBA All-Star Game, while hometown hero Tyrese Halliburton made his first.
According to voting results released Thursday night by TNT for the Feb. 18 NBA Classic at Cainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Halliburton will represent the Pacers on their home court as the East's starting point guard. He will be joined by fellow Milwaukee guard Damian Lillard, Philadelphia center and reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo — the leading overall vote-getter from fans — and Boston forward Jayson Tatum.
James will be joined in the West by Dallas guard Luka Doncic, Oklahoma City guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Denver center and reigning NBA Finals MVP Nikola Jokic and Phoenix forward Kevin Durant — 13-time All-Star Kevin Durant — to play in a real game starting in February 2019.
James, 39, the Lakers' star forward, the NBA's all-time leading scorer and the West's leading vote getter, has moved out of a tie with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the previous record of starting every All-Star Game since 2005. – Star exams.
Like Halliburton, this will be Gilgeous-Alexander's first start and second All-Star appearance. Halliburton and James are both out for their respective teams with leg injuries, but hopefully will be healthy enough to play in the All-Star Game.
Fan votes account for 50 percent of the starting lineup; Player votes and media votes account for 25 percent, respectively. Seven reserves for each conference, announced on February 1, will be selected by NBA head coaches.
There were actually only two close calls, the second guard spot in each conference.
In the East, the Hawks' Trae Young edged out all other guards in the fan poll, while the Knicks' Jalen Brunson was initiated by the media and the 76ers' Tyrus Maxey was selected by the players. Lillard finished third in any voting (fans) and tied with Brunson in total points – he made his 8th All-Star Game in a tiebreaker (more fan votes than Brunson).
In the West, fans chose Warriors all-time great Stephen Curry over Gilgeous-Alexander, but the Canadian was the top vote-getter among media and players.
Curry is now a 9-time All-Star, and of the eight All-Star games he's played in (he was injured last year), he's started eight. Entering Thursday, he was averaging 26.7 points and shooting 40.1 percent from 3-point range (plus, he leads the league with 172 3s), but the Warriors are struggling right now and have a combination of stats and hits from Gilgeous-Alexander and Doncic. The curry was too much to pass up.
The 73rd installment of the NBA's All-Star Game returns to the old format — the last time the All-Star Game was held in New Orleans in 2017 — with players playing for the Eastern and Western Conferences, rather than being selected playground-style. The highest vote-getter in each convention.
In addition, the game will consist of four 12-minute quarters, as in a regular game, instead of an “Elam” scoring model in which each team has a time-out fourth quarter to decide the winner. 2020 Games in Chicago.
The captains are still there, and they are again based on vote totals in each conference, so James will serve as captain for the seventh time in his career, seventh year overall and sixth year outside of the West. Antetokounmpo is the captain for the third time.
Also, in keeping with recent traditions, the team that scores the most goals in each quarter will win cash for a charity of their captain's choice.
Changes to the All-Star Game over the years were implemented in an attempt to add competition and entertainment that the league (and the fans and media) felt was missing. After some initial success — the All-Star Games in 2020 and 2022 were better under the “Elam” scoring model — last year's contest in Salt Lake City was so bad that the league decided to return to its old model. With one caveat.
Just play hard.
“All-Star Weekend has turned into this incredible weekend, and it is,” NBA vice president Joe Dumars said in October. “But at the end of All-Star Weekend, it can't be an afterthought that guys don't play (hard). The last night, Sunday night, we talked to the players about actually going out and competing.
Halliburton, currently out with a hamstring injury, is averaging 23.6 points and a league-high 12.6 assists in 34 games this season. Last month, Halliburton became the third player in NBA history to record consecutive 20-point and 20-assist games, joining Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and John Stockton.
“When you're 23, 24 years old, you want to keep pushing yourself to a higher level, keep pushing yourself to a higher level of play on the floor,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said of Halliburton, who is 23 and last played for USA Basketball. Summer. “Those things lead to higher accolades and status, but it never stops. You can never run out of steam with things like that. …You can't look at it that way, and I don't see Tyrus looking at it that way. It's about the organization, the city and the fact that he wants to be a part of this team's success. I think he has much bigger fish to fry when it comes to his commitment.
James, who has been out with an ankle injury, has been picking up “oldest player ever” records left and right. Currently, he is averaging 24.8 points per game. But James, who turned 39 in December, is still averaging 7.4 assists and 7.2 boards. He's second on the Lakers' lineup in scoring behind Anthony Davis, who is enjoying a stellar individual campaign (25.1 ppg, 12.2 rebounds per game) and is a virtual lock to be selected as an All-Star reserve.
Embiid leads the NBA in scoring with 36.1 points per game, followed by Dončić (33.6 ppg), Antetokounmpo (31.3 ppg), and Gilgeous-Alexander (31.1 ppg). Gilgeous-Alexander leads the league with 32 games with 30 or more points.
Embiid is now a seven-time All-Star. Jokic has done it six times, and Doncic and Tatum are now five-time All-Stars.
(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty Images)