NEW YORK (AFP) — Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Kevin Durant remained the leading vote-getters in the second round of balloting returns for the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game released Thursday by the league.
Two-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and three-time NBA champion Curry, who last month broke the NBA career record for 3-point baskets by sinking his 2,974th, set the overall pace by topping the Western Conference guards at 4,463,426 votes.
Los Angeles Lakers star James, a four-time MVP and four-time league champion, was second overall and led the Western Conference frontcourt with 4,386,392 votes.
NBA scoring leader Durant, the 2014 NBA MVP and twice an NBA champion alongside Curry with the Golden State Warriors, led the Eastern Conference overall and in the frontcourt with 4,088,334 votes.
The 71st NBA All-Star Game will be staged on 20 February at Cleveland. Weighted voting to decide All-Star starters will include 50 percent from fans and 25 percent each from players and a media panel.
Team captains will be the players who led each conference in voting, which at the moment remain Durant and Curry. They will pick rosters from available players regardless of conference.
Memphis guard Ja Morant moved from third to second in Western Conference backcourt voting to seize the lead for a starting berth while Atlanta’s Trae Young rose to second among Eastern Conference guards to move into a starter’s spot.
In the West, Morant was second behind Curry on 1,633,313 votes to edge ahead of Slovenia’s Luka Doncic of Dallas, who was third on 1,410,605. A week ago, Doncic led Morant by 118,657 votes.
Trailing James in the West frontcourt were Denver’s Nikola Jokic of Serbia on 3,016,380 and Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins on 1,829,733.
Wiggins nosed 56,286 ahead of fourth place Paul George of the Los Angeles Clippers, who was ahead of Wiggins by 139,236 votes a week ago.
In the East frontcourt, Durant is trailed by Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo of the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks, who ranks fourth overall on 3,808,458, and Philadelphia’s Cameroonian big man Joel Embiid on 2,357,404.
Among East guards, Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan set the pace with 2,973,854 with the other starting place held by Young on 1,596,301.
Brooklyn’s James Harden had been second a week ago by just under 30,000 votes more than Young but he slid to fourth on 1,433,217 — also trailing third-place Chicago’s Zach LaVine on 1,442,571.
Voting will be updated next Thursday, two days before the voting deadline.