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Chicago’s Zach LaVine scores 38, makes final case to be All-Star

There will be a handful of deserving players in the Eastern Conference who are not going to be All-Stars.

Zach LaVine doesn’t want to be one of them.

The Chicago wing made his case on the court Saturday night — the night before coaches’ ballots for the All-Star reserves are due — dropping 38 on the Kings in a 122-114 Bulls’ win.

After the game, Bulls’ coach Billy Donovan made his pitch for LaVine to be an All-Star.

“When you look at players that are All-Stars, you are saying they are playing at a high level individually and they are also raising the level of the team,” Donovan said. “I think Zach has done that.”

The five All-Star starters from the East have been selected by a combination of fan, player, and media votes: Bradley Beal, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid. The Eastern Conference coaches vote on the seven reserves to round out the 12-man roster (all those players will then go into a pool to be picked onto teams by captains LeBron James and Durant).

LaVine is deserving of being an All-Star — he’s averaging 28.9 points a game, the most of any Bull since Jordan — but in the East that may not be enough.

Good players having strong seasons will be left off in the East. I didn’t have LaVine making the team when Dan Feldman and I picked our reserves on the PBT Podcast (I also left off deserving players like Julius Randle, Nikola Vucevic, and everyone on the Pacers — it’s difficult to pick just seven reserves). This is a good time to make a case that the All-Star rosters should be expanded beyond 12 to match a current NBA bench’s makeup, but that is not happening before this All-Star Game.

The All-Star reserves will be announced Thursday. The All-Star Game is set for March 7 in Atlanta.