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Wall loses ground to Irving in 2nd round of All-Star voting

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Wall loses ground to Irving in 2nd round of All-Star voting

The gulf between Kyrie Irving and John Wall widens when it comes to NBA All-Star fan voting, according to the second returns released by the league on Thursday.

Irving, who only has played seven games but electrified Verizon Center with 32 points in a dominant fourth quarter for the Cleveland Cavaliers to beat the Wizards on Wednesday, has gone from an edge of 35,000 above Wall in the first tallies Dec. 25 (138,191 to 103,094) to almost 64,000 votes ahead (271,094 to 207,274).

Wall was the starter last season for the East while Irving was the backup on the team.

The next ballot totals will be unveiled next Thursday and the voting closes Jan. 18. The top two backcourt players and two three frontcourt players in each conference will be the starters. The reserves, which seems a more likely route for Wall, will be chosen by NBA coaches on Jan. 28.

The All-Star Game will be played at Toronto's Air Canada Centre on Feb. 14.

If balloting ended today, these would be the East starters: LeBron James (Cavs), Paul George (Pacers) and Andre Drummond (Pistons); Dwyane Wade (Heat) and Irving (Cavs). 

West starters: Kobe Bryant (Lakers), Kevin Durant (Thunder) and Draymond Green (Warriors); Stephen Curry (Warriors) and Russell Westbrook (Thunder).

Carmelo Anthony (Knicks) is in range of Drummond, who is less than 6,000 votes ahead of him for the third and final frontcourt spot in the East. Wade appears to be a lock among the East guards with almost double Irving's vote totals (562,558). Kyle Lowry (Raptors) is less than 30,000 behind Irving for the starting point guard spot.

The closest race is in the West where Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) is less than 1,300 from unseating Green for the final frontcourt spot. Now No. 3, Green was fifth in the first round of voting, behind then-No. 3 Blake Griffin (Clippers) by about 22,000 votes and 4,000 behind Leonard. Griffin has plummeted to fifth, trailing Green by 34,000 in a major turnabout in voting.

 

East Frontcourt

1.          LeBron James (Cle) 636,388

2.          Paul George (Ind) 457,554

3.          Andre Drummond (Det) 261,158

4.          Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 255,536

5.          Pau Gasol (Chi) 209,006

6.          Chris Bosh (Mia) 194,429

7.          Kevin Love (Cle) 172,517

8.          Hassan Whiteside (Mia) 168,549

9.         Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 160,170

10.        Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 48,768

11.        Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 30,023

12.        Marcin Gortat (Was) 27,185

13.        Joakim Noah (Chi) 23,121

14.        DeMarre Carroll (Tor) 22,797

15.        Paul Millsap (Atl) 21,625

 

Guards

1.          Dwyane Wade (Mia) 562,558

2.          Kyrie Irving (Cle) 271,094

3.          Kyle Lowry (Tor) 242,276

4.          Jimmy Butler (Chi) 220,429

5.          John Wall (Was) 207,274

6.          DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 170,539

7.          Derrick Rose (Chi) 159,787

8.          Jeremy Lin (Cha) 122,988

9.          Isaiah Thomas (Bos) 87,452

10.        Reggie Jackson (Det) 44,525

 

West Frontcourt

1.          Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,262,118

2.          Kevin Durant (OKC) 616,096

3.          Draymond Green (GS) 332,223

4.          Kawhi Leonard (SA) 330,929

5.          Blake Griffin (LAC) 298,212

6.          Anthony Davis (NO) 261,491

7.          Tim Duncan (SA) 228,995

8.          Zaza Pachulia (Dal) 194,421

9.          DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 190,060

10.        Enes Kanter (OKC) 183,468

11.        LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 124,404

12.        Dwight Howard (Hou) 120,424

13.        Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 99,681

14.       DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 91,186

15.        Harrison Barnes (GS) 82,427

 

Guards

1.          Stephen Curry (GS) 925,789

2.          Russell Westbrook (OKC) 479,512

3.          Chris Paul (LAC) 268,672

4.          Klay Thompson (GS) 267,602

5.          James Harden (Hou) 249,877

6.          Rajon Rondo (Sac) 120,767

7.          Andre Iguodala (GS) 111,575

8.          Manu Ginobili (SA) 100,602

9.          Tony Parker (SA) 86,238

10.        Damian Lillard (Por) 81,035

RELATED: Dudley: Not knowing personnel bites Wizards again

 

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.