NBA

LeBron and Giannis lead NBA All-Star game fan voting

By Sports Desk January 19, 2023

LeBron James remained the overall leader in the third fan returns of NBA All-Star Game voting announced Thursday.

In the Eastern Conference, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo passed Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant for the top spot.

Los Angeles Lakers talisman James has received 6,506,682 votes and Antetokounmpo is now up to 5,970,196, which is 132,014 votes ahead of Durant in the East.

Durant’s status for the All-Star Game on February 19 in Salt Lake City, Utah is unknown as he’s currently sidelined with an MCL sprain in his right knee.

The top three frontcourt players along with the top two guards in the East and West will be the starters in the All-Star Game. The overall leading vote-getters from each conference will be named captains and then pick their teams.

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (4,718,218) and the Lakers' Anthony Davis (3,838,171) are behind James in the West among frontcourt players. Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors leads all West guards with 5,151,822 votes, 246,167 ahead of the Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic.

In the East, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (4,521,414) trails Antetokounmpo and Durant among frontcourt players. Brooklyn's Kyrie Irving (3,968,041) and Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers (3,851,233) lead in voting for guards.

Fan voting, which accounts for 50 percent in determining the starters, ends on Saturday. NBA players and a media ballot account for 25 percent each.

The captains and starters will be announced on January 26.

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    The four-time MVP and four-time NBA Finals MVP would be the player entrusted with the last shot for the Lakers, and after driving left and getting all the way to the rim, James was smacked on his shooting arm by Jayson Tatum with under one second on the clock.

    But the foul went un-whistled, with James, All-NBA team-mate Anthony Davis and the entire Lakers bench erupting in fury as the game was sent to overtime.

    Los Angeles guard Patrick Beverley was issued a technical foul after bringing over a camera to the referee in an effort to show crew chief Eric Lewis the clearly botched call, and the Celtics went on to score 20 in the extra period, led by Brown with 11 of his 37 total points.

    Speaking after the loss, Davis made it clear he felt cheated by the referees.

    "It was bull**** at the end of the day," he said. "It’s unacceptable, and I guarantee nothing will happen to the ref. We got cheated tonight, honestly. 

    "[Beverley] got all ball on Brown, [but they] called a foul. LeBron, they smack across his arm. Unacceptable, to be honest. The refs were bad – they were bad tonight."

    James echoed those sentiments, saying this is not the first time this season he has felt disrespected by officials.

    "You saw my reaction… it’s challenging," he said. "I don’t get it. 

    "I'm attacking the paint just as much as any other guy in this league that’s shooting double-digit free throws a night. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it."

    He added: "You guys seen some of the games we lost this year, with late-game missed calls. I don’t understand what we're doing. 

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    Head coach Darvin Ham joined the chorus of discontent.

    "The best player on Earth can’t get a call – it’s amazing," he said. "You have to call a cat a cat, you can’t look at something and try to pretend it’s not what it is. 

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    In an Instagram story, where he included a still photo of the foul, Lakers guard Dennis Schroder also voiced his frustration.

    He wrote: "The refs gotta start getting fined for their mistakes! They also giving technical fouls to people who are reacting to their mistakes.

    "The replay center should also use replay to get these calls right, especially on an important play like the OBVIOUS foul on LeBron at the end of the game.

    "This needs to stop… to lose 3-5 games this season off of referees' mistakes is really hard."

    In an uncommon occurrence, crew chief Lewis confirmed the botched call immediately after the game finished.

    "There was contact," he said. "At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play."

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