Ball Don't Lie

Kobe passes LeBron for top All-Star vote-getter, starters stay same in 2nd round of ASG returns

Dan Devine
Ball Don't Lie

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'Yo Kobe, you're not planning on voting for yourself like 8,000 times, are you?' (Jamie Squire-Getty Images)

When the NBA released the first returns in fan voting for the 2013 NBA All-Star Game in Houston two weeks ago, Miami Heat forward LeBron James had received more votes than any other player, barely edging Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers by 1,929 votes. In the second round of returns, though, the Black Mamba has turned the tables on the King, surging to the overall lead with 974,444 votes to James' 970,314.

While the top two vote-getters swapped places, the prospective starting fives for both the Eastern and Western conferences remained the same. In the East, Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks (891,759 votes) and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics (328,716) are in line to start alongside James up front, with a potentially explosive (in more ways than one) backcourt of the Heat's Dwyane Wade (645,875) and the Celtics' Rajon Rondo (574,272). Out West, Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder (924,898), Bryant's Laker teammate Dwight Howard (616,150) and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (489,795) continue to make up the frontcourt, with Bryant and Clipper point man Chris Paul (542,564) set to man the guard spots.

Hit the jump for some items of note, plus the full results for the frontcourt and backcourt positions from the second round of 2013 All-Star Game voting:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Frontcourt

1. LeBron James, Miami Heat: 970,314
2. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks: 891,759
3. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics: 328,716
4. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat: 308,194
5. Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks: 260,000
6. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics: 171,601
7. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls: 129,331
8. Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks: 111,260
9. Anderson Varejao, Cleveland Cavaliers: 99,955
10. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks: 90,996
11. Shane Battier, Miami Heat: 88,800
12. Andrew Bynum, Philadelphia 76ers: 84,939
13. Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls: 76,400
14. Brook Lopez, Brooklyn Nets: 67,991
15. Jeff Green, Boston Celtics: 52,785

Backcourt

1. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat: 645,875
2. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics: 574,272
3. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets: 309,778
4. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers: 258,193
5. Ray Allen, Miami Heat: 195,142
6. Monta Ellis, Milwaukee Bucks: 71,287
7. Raymond Felton, New York Knicks: 66,745
8. Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers: 56,683
9. Jason Terry, Boston Celtics: 52,833
10. Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks: 49,122

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Frontcourt

1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: 924,898
2. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers: 616,150
3. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers: 489,795
4. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs: 299,434
5. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers: 197,377
6. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: 189,949
7. Omer Asik, Houston Rockets: 131,002
8. Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies: 125,562
9. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder: 111,963
10. Marc Gasol, Memphis Grizzlies: 99,271
11. Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies: 97,778
12. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers: 97,090
13. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks: 93,491
14. Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers: 85,279
15. Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets: 78,235

Backcourt

1. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: 977,444
2. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers: 542,564
3. Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets: 496,133
4. James Harden, Houston Rockets: 283,691
5. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder: 232,074
6. Steve Nash, Los Angeles Lakers: 166,262
7. Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs: 111,032
8. Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves: 96,466
9. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors: 78,380
10. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs: 70,813

ITEMS OF NOTE:

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KG continues to rise over Bosh. (Issac Baldizon/NBA/Getty Images)

Garnett has opened up a bit of breathing room on Bosh for the East's final starting frontcourt spot. Two weeks ago, only 7,522 votes separated the Celtics and Heat centers; today, that lead has expanded by 13,000 votes. (And, weirdly, exactly 13,000 votes.) The distancing hasn't coincided with representatively strong periods of team and individual play — KG's averaged just 11.5 points and seven rebounds a game and shot only 43.2 percent from the floor over the past couple of weeks as Boston's dropped four of six, while the Heat are on a six-game winning streak and Bosh is popping for 15 a night on 57 percent shooting — but then again, Celtics fans turn out in droves for these sorts of things. (Exhibit A: Jeff Green's return appearance in the top 15 in All-Star voting for Eastern Conference frontcourt players ahead of the likes of Al Horford.)

Lin would need a big push, but he's gaining on CP3. We noted the absurdity of Lin ranking so high in the first round of All-Star returns; since then, he's actually narrowed the gap between himself and Paul, from 55,284 votes two weeks ago to 46,431 as of Thursday's results.

Yes, the Rockets point guard's been good these past two weeks, averaging 13.6 points, 6.6 assists, 2.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game as the Rockets have gone 6-1 — with legit wins over the New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves — and worked themselves into an ahead-of-schedule playoff contender that currently sits sixth in the crowded West. Still, the fact that he's more than 200,000 votes ahead of his backcourt partner — who's fourth in the league in scoring and one of only two NBA players to be averaging more than 25 points, five assists and four rebounds per game this season — remains crazy, popularity contest or no.

Huzzah for reason! Varejao — the league's leading rebounder, at more than 14.4 boards per game, who is playing balls-out for 36 minutes a night — has finally leapfrogged Bynum and Stoudemire — neither of whom has logged a solitary second of floor time this season — in All-Star voting. Ditto for Holiday — an emerging two-way star who, before missing four games with a foot injury, was arguably the second-best point guard in the Eastern Conference — surpassing Terry (a defensive sieve whose scoring is down) and Jennings (who, while performing well enough for a Bucks team sitting a half-game out of first place in the Central Division, hasn't been as good as Holiday on either end this season).

Well, hello there. It's nice to see Curry and Parsons make their first appearances on the West's leaderboard. Curry, of course, deserves recognition far more than Parsons does — Steph's ninth in the league in scoring, 10th in 3-point accuracy, top 20 in both assists and steals per game, and leading the way along with David Lee for a better-than-expected Warriors team, while Parsons is merely an improving, sound-performing piece of an overall intriguing Rockets team who (probably) benefits from Houston's massive overseas fan base — but still, it's nice to see some new blood in the mix.

The 62nd NBA All-Star game will air live from Toyota Center in Houston on TNT at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013. Set your DVRs now so that you won't forget, and let us know what you think of the voting to-date in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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