Tuesday , January 23, 2018 - 7:14 PM
For the first time in three seasons, Damian Lillard is headed back to the All-Star Game.
It’s the third such honor for the prolific point guard, but he said it feels different this time, because his first two selections came when he was on a team with more experienced players.
“This one is on a team I've been the leader of,” Lillard said in a report from NBC Sports Northwest. “I had to really earn my spot more this time around. Feels like I've done three years of work for this one spot.''
Lillard is averaging 25.2 points, 6.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds this season and Portland is 25-22, currently seventh in the Western Conference.
The reserves were voted upon by head coaches in each conference.
No Utah Jazz players will play in the All-Star Game, marking the sixth time in seven seasons the Jazz will not be represented in the game.
Stephen Curry will be able to stock his All-Star roster with plenty of Golden State teammates.
Klay Thompson and Draymond Green were chosen as reserves Tuesday, giving the defending NBA champions a record-tying four All-Stars for the second straight year.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and Washington Wizards also had two reserves selected, and they will go into the pool of players that Curry and fellow captain LeBron James can draft to comprise the teams for the Feb. 18 game in Los Angeles. Their rosters will be unveiled Thursday, though the selection process won’t be televised.
Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns were chosen from the Western Conference, along with Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge.
Besides Washington’s John Wall and Bradley Beal, the rest of the Eastern Conference reserves were Boston’s Al Horford, Cleveland’s Kevin Love, New York’s Kristaps Porzingis, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry and Indiana’s Victor Oladipo.
The starters were announced last week. Curry and the Warriors’ Kevin Durant joined Houston’s James Harden and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins from the West, while the East players besides James were Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Boston’s Kyrie Irving, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid.
James and Curry earned the captain spots by being the leading vote-getters in fan balloting in each conference. They will not have to stick to conference affiliation when drafting their teams.
James will have the first pick after receiving the most total votes. After the starters are chosen, Curry will have the first pick among the reserves.
Beal, Oladipo, Porzingis and Towns were all first-time selections. Every other reserve will be making at least his third All-Star appearance.
Coaches had to select two guards, three frontcourt players and two other players regardless of position. They were prohibited for voting for their own players.
Players having strong seasons who didn’t make the cut include Detroit’s Andre Drummond, Clippers guard Lou Williams, Houston’s Chris Paul and Oklahoma City’s Paul George.
A story from Associated Press writer Brian Mahoney was included in this report.
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