The NBA announced the All-Star reserves on Thursday night, and Chris Paul, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder, was selected for the 10th time while Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets was chosen for the ninth occasion. The players were dealt for each other last summer.
Paul and Westbrook were among four Western Conference guards named as reserves in balloting by the NBA’s 30 head coaches. The All-Star Game is Feb. 16 in Chicago.
The other reserves from Eastern Conference teams are the Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo (first selection) and Jimmy Butler (fifth), the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry (sixth), the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons (second), the Milwaukee Bucks’ Khris Middleton (second), the Indiana Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis (first) and the Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum (first).
The other Western Conference players chosen were the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell (first) and Rudy Gobert (first), the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard (fifth), the New Orleans Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram (first) and the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (second).
--The NBA honored the late Kobe Bryant by announcing major changes to the All-Star Game format, with the league turning every quarter of the All-Star Game into an abbreviated contest for charity as the scores will be reset to zero at the start of the second and third quarters.
The scores will then be restored to begin an untimed fourth quarter, which is when the tribute to Bryant begins.
The team that wins the All-Star Game will be the first to reach a target score, determined by the cumulative points the team in the lead scored in the first three quarters combined -- plus 24, which was Bryant’s jersey number for the last decade of his NBA career.
--Dallas star point guard Luka Doncic sprained his right ankle in practice, and he likely will miss the Mavericks’ Friday road game against the Houston Rockets.
Doncic was slated to undergo an MRI exam to determine the extent of the injury. Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle told reporters the injury occurred late in practice. Carlisle said Doncic was receiving treatment during the time the coach spoke to reporters.
The ankle is the same one Doncic hurt in mid-December, prompting him to miss four games. The Dallas Morning News reported that Doncic didn’t go on the team flight to Houston after practice. Dallas shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (lower back tightness) is questionable for the Friday game.
--Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka released a touching statement in memory of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, his first comments since the Los Angeles icon, Bryant’s daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash.
“On Sunday, I lost my best friend and my sweet goddaughter. With that, there has been an amputation of part of my soul,” Pelinka said. “Kobe was a force of nature, deep and obsessed with excellence. He was wise, determined, passionate. A visionary beyond measure. A dedicated and loving husband, and a ‘girl-dad’ like no other.
“When he walked into a room, the energy ignited. He was high voltage, with a motor that had no limits. His mind had an infinite capacity to learn. He was, simply put, the most inspirational athlete of our time. What the world may not know, is that he was also the best friend anyone could ever imagine.”
--Field Level Media
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