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LeBron, Antetokounmpo, Jokic headline NBA All-Star Game starters

2023 NBA All-Star - NBA All-Star Game
2023 NBA All-Star - NBA All-Star Game

This year's All-Star Game is going old-school: No captains drafting teams playground style. No target score in the fourth quarter.

It's East vs. West for four 12-minute quarters, just like the game we watched growing up. Thursday the starters for that game were named, a combination of the vote of fans (50% of total), players (25%) and media (25%). Everyone had to select two guards and three frontcourt players for each conference.

EASTERN CONFERENCE STARTERS

G. Tyrese Haliburton
G. Damian Lillard
F. Giannis Antetokounmpo
F. Joel Embiid
F. Jayson Tatum

WESTERN CONFERENCE STARTERS

G. Luka Doncic
G. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
F. LeBron James
F. Kevin Durant
F. Nikola Jokic

The reserves — seven for each conference — are selected by a vote of the coaches and will be announced next week. That’s where the real snubs come.

The news he will start in Indy made Durant happy.

A few thoughts on these starters

• New York fans are livid that Jalen Brunson didn't get an East starting spot — he was tied with Lillard in total points across fans/media/player voting, but the tiebreaker is the fan vote and Lillard was third to Brunson's sixth. It's a little bit of a surprise that the hero of the largest market in the nation came in sixth, but that's the reality. Lillard gets the starting spot, Brunson is a lock as a reserve.

• The fan vote had Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic as the West starting backcourt, but the player and especially media votes put Gilgeous-Alexander over the top and into the starting spot. Both the media and players had Doncic and SGA as starters, but the media had Curry fourth in the West (also behind Anthony Edwards), that opened the door for the Thunder guard. Curry is a lock as a reserve.

• There were no other real surprises. The East frontcourt was unanimous from the fans, players, and media.

• For the third straight year, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James were the top vote-getters in their conference and are ceremonial captains (but no team-building responsibilities this year).

• This is LeBron's 20th consecutive NBA All-Star selection and yes, that is a record (he's actually just extending the record he already owns).

• This is the first All-Star start for both Haliburton and Gilgeous-Alexander (and the second overall start for both).

• The All-Star Game takes place Sunday, Feb. 18 at the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The game will air on TNT, as will the All-Star Saturday Night Dunk Contest and 3-point Contest, as well as the Friday night Rising Stars games.