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Cavs' Kyrie Irving named NBA All-Star for 1st time

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Cavs' Kyrie Irving named NBA All-Star for 1st time

CLEVELAND (AP) Still not old enough to legally toast any of his accomplishments, Kyrie Irving joined one of the NBA's most elite groups.

And to top it off, he was named his city's top professional athlete - all in the same day.

Irving, the Cavaliers' dynamic point guard whose dazzling game belies his youth, was voted an All-Star reserve for the Eastern Conference on Thursday night, just hours before he was named Cleveland's top professional athlete for 2012, when he won the league's Rookie of the Year award.

``One of the best days of my life,'' Irving said backstage at the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards.

Irving, who won't turn 21 until March 23, is the sixth-youngest player ever named to an All-Star team and one of only seven to make it before their 21st birthday. The other six: Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Kevin Garnett, Isiah Thomas and Shaquille O'Neal are either in the Hall of Fame or well on their way to induction.

``It's a big deal for me and a big deal for the city of Cleveland,'' Irving said after receiving his award before a ballroom filled with some of the area's top sports figures and civic leaders. ``It means a lot. To be picked as an All-Star for the first time and be with those guys, to see those names on TV, it's truly a blessing.''

Irving was at home alone watching the All-Star selection when his name flashed on the screen. He admitted to a solo celebration.

``I did jump around,'' he said. ``I didn't do any backflips and cartwheels. I didn't want to get hurt.''

Irving said his first phone call was to his girlfriend and the next to his father, Drederick, who raised him and his sister after their mother, Elizabeth, died when he was 4.

``It was an emotional moment,'' Irving said, ``real emotional.''

Soon after, Irving received a surprising text from his college coach, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski.

``First time ever,'' Irving said smiling. ``I don't think Coach K has ever sent one of his players a text. I didn't even know he could text. I think his assistant sent it for him. My freshman year at Duke he told me never to text him because he didn't know how to text. So, times are changing.''

Irving said he's not intimidated about sharing the stage at the Feb. 17 game in Houston with the NBA's best players.

``I just hope I don't air ball my first shot,'' he joked.

Irving is the first Cavaliers player to make the All-Star team since 2010, when James was voted in as a starter. Irving is averaging 23.7 points, 5.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds, but his selection by the East head coaches wasn't a given because of the Cavs' woeful 11-32 record.

Cleveland coach Byron Scott didn't do any campaigning for Irving, who scored 40 points on Tuesday night in a win over Boston. Scott believed Irving deserved the selection and was thrilled that his peers agreed.

Scott, who greeted Irving with a big hug when he arrived at the Renaissance Hotel, doesn't think a first All-Star selection will change his young star. Scott said it only make Irving hungrier for more.

``The thing that keeps him going is continuing to have new goals,'' Scott said. ``This year he's a reserve and next year he should want to be a starter. That should be his next step and in order to that he has to work even harder. The thing that is so good about him is that he's willing to work. He's going to continue to get better.

``And he's not 21 yet. He's well on his way to being one of the best.''

Irving's double win was perhaps the highlight of the star-studded event, which brought out some of Cleveland's top sports celebrities. Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and new coach Rob Chudzinski introduced themselves to guests eager to talk football. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer received a warm ovation as did boxing promoter Don King, who wore a sequined jacket and waved American flags while working the room as only he can.

Doug Dieken, who has spent 42 seasons with the Browns as a player and broadcaster, received a lifetime achievement award.

The show was emceed by ESPN's Scott Van Pelt.

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3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

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USA TODAY Sports

3 stars of the game: Lightning strike 3 times in the first to burn Caps

The first 20 minutes of Tuesday's game did not go well for Washington. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three times in the opening frame and rode that lead all the way to the 4-2 win.

With the game heading towards a repeat of their blowout loss to Chicago, the Capitals rebounded in the second period to make a game of it as Lars Eller scored on a power play. Alex Ovechkin pulled Washington within one in the third period, but Nikita Kucherov slammed the door shut with a breakaway goal to extend the lead back to 2.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Brayden Point: Tampa Bay won this game in the first period when they took a 3-0 lead. Point scored two of those three goals. His first came at the 2:30 mark of the game. He retreated to the blue line on the power play believing Jay Beagle would clear the puck. When Beagle turned the puck over, he recognized it and immediately crashed the net, taking a Ryan Callahan pass in the slot and shooting it through the five-hole of Braden Holtby. On his second goal, Anton Stralman saw an opportunity on the Caps’ line change and passed the puck up to Point at the blue line. Point turned on the jets to get behind the defense and went five-hole again on Holtby to make the score 3-0.

2. Alex Ovechkin: After the first period, Washington slowly took this game over for much of the remaining 40 minutes. Ovechkin was a big part of that as he totaled an incredible 19 shot attempts for the game. Nine of those shots were on goal and he found the back of the net in the third period for career goal No. 594.

3. Tom Wilson: Through the first period, the Caps looked well on their way to a repeat of the 7-1 debacle they suffered Saturday in Chicago. They had nothing going in this game until Wilson drew a trip from Vladislav Namestnikov in the second period. Eller would score on the resulting power play giving Washington some much-needed life. The Namestnikov penalty was the 29th drawn penalty of the season for Wilson, which moves him into a tie with Matthew Tkachuk for the most drawn penalties in the NHL.

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

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Wizards set to have Tim Frazier back against Cavs after nasal fracture surgery

The All-Star break came at a good time for Wizards point guard Tim Frazier, who missed their last game before the week off due to nasal fracture surgery.

Frazier was back at the Wizards' practice on Tuesday night at Capital One Arena and expects to play on Thursday when the team returns to action on the road at the Cleveland Cavaliers.

"I feel good. I feel like I can go out there and help them compete," he said.

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Frazier, 27, had surgery to repair his broken nose on Feb. 11 after he was knocked out of the previous night's game between the Wizards and Bulls. Frazier collided face-first with the knee of Bobby Portis and was immediately ushered to the locker room with blood streaming from his nose.

Following the procedure, Frazier had to battle through pain and breathing issues. He feels much better now and had no complications after participating in a full practice.

The challenge now is adjusting to a fitted mask he will have to wear to return to the court. Frazier has never had to wear a mask before in his basketball career.

"[Sweat] was one of the issues today, trying to keep it dry when I'm sweating underneath," he said.

"He looked good," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he would be a little uncomfortable with it, but he seemed fine."

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Frazier has been given advice from the Wizards' training staff, as well as teammate Bradley Beal who has had to wear a mask twice before in his career.

"Brad said that after a while you get used to it. Nobody wants to wear it for the rest of their careers besides Rip Hamilton," Frazier said.

Getting Frazier back is significant for the Wizards, who are already down a point guard with John Wall rehabbing from left knee surgery. Without Frazier against the Knicks on Wednesday, the Wizards had to use Beal and Otto Porter to bring the ball up at times. Now, with Tomas Satoransky and Frazier, they have a starting point guard and a backup who is used to playing the position.

They could have three point guards, as the Wizards continue to weigh their options in free agency. They have to add a player within the next two days to meet the league's minimum roster requirement. Most of the free agents they have evaluated have been point guards as they aim to compensate for Wall's absence, which could last well into the month of March.

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