While he may not be popular amongst his NBA brethren, especially New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Garnett remains a favorite amongst NBA fans and they decide the starters for the All-Star Game.
Garnett was voted a frontcourt starter for the Eastern Conference, and Celtics teammate Rajon Rondo will start in the backcourt. They will be joined by three adversaries — Miami’s Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, and Anthony for the Feb. 17 game at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Garnett and Anthony were engaged in a highly publicized spat during the Celtics’ Jan. 6 win in New York that extended postgame, as Anthony attempted to confront Garnett at the team bus to discuss some trash talk he felt was inappropriate. Garnett and Anthony have both said their issues are resolved.
It will be the 15th All-Star Game for Garnett, and the fourth for Rondo, though his first as a starter.
Last February, Rondo was serving a two-game suspension for throwing a ball at an official when he was named an All-Star reserve. This year there is no such drama, with Rondo averaging 13 points, an NBA-leading 11.2 assists, and 5.1 rebounds. He also has three triple-doubles this season.
Garnett is averaging 14.6 points and seven rebounds, having played in all 38 games. He beat out Miami’s Chris Bosh by 25,208 votes for the third starting spot in the frontcourt, while teammate Paul Pierce finished sixth.
Garnett was an All-Star for 12 straight seasons before missing the cut last year. He told reporters Wednesday that he enjoyed his break in Malibu, Calif., last year but was gracious for the opportunity to return to the showcase event.
The Western Conference has two Lakers (Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard) and two Clippers (Chris Paul and Blake Griffin) in the starting lineup, joined by Kevin Durant of the Thunder.
The All-Star reserves will be named next week.Gary Washburn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @gwashNBAGlobe