With the Clippers jostling for playoff position in the …

With the Clippers jostling for playoff position in the Western Conference standings on a nightly basis, Harris and Gallinari each made their case to be All-Stars when speaking to The Athletic earlier this month. “Honestly, I think if you look at our team and how well we’ve been playing, when you look at my game over the years of development and where I’m at now, I believe so,” Harris, who leads the Clippers in points (20.8), rebounds (8.0) and minutes (34.2) per game, said. “In the Western Conference, I think if you go down the list, God willing, I should be one of the guys.”

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“I think so, especially considering the record the team has,” Gallinari, who leads the Clippers in 3-point percentage (.453), said. “Definitely. Usually, the team has to do well in order to be considered in the All-Star picks. We’re doing well, and we’ve got to keep doing well. I’ve always thought that the winning has to be rewarded and the best teams have to be rewarded with that.”
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Wade, a 12-time All-Star, said of the possibility of playing in the Feb. 17 game in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I’ve been around great players for a while in my career. One last hurrah is not going to make or break what I feel about my career. “I’ll be down there anyway, will be around some of the guys anyway, so it’s really not a big deal for me. It’s cool from a fan perspective that they have some of their favorite players, that no matter what they will always see them on that stage. But you want the guys that deserve to be in the All-Star Game, who had the best first half of the season, to be able to go live out a dream. I had that opportunity multiple times, so you want those guys to be able to do it.”
Anthony Puccio: Asked if he’s an All-Star this year, D’Angelo Russell, without hesitation, said “For sure.” Russell led Brooklyn to a 109-102 victory over the Boston Celtics, finishing with 34 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists.
Steven Adams has acknowledged how much it would mean to his enormous base of fans back in his native New Zealand if he were to take the court in Charlotte next month. "I do like my All Star break," Adams told ESPN. "It's a tough season. But I think a lot of people would like to see me there, and I think it'd be really big for the country in New Zealand. If I'm being selfish mate, I'd probably like a wee break."
Micah Adams: LeBron James has passed Kobe Bryant for the most All-Star votes in NBA history. Kobe had 30,260,939. LeBron is now at 31,038,131.

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“A lot has to go my way to be elected,” Wade said, acknowledging the fact he also needs to finish among the top vote-getters on the players’ and media’s ballots to have a real chance to start in this year’s All-Star Game. “But like I said, it’s humbling from the fan’s standpoint. It’s different now with the other votes that come in from the players and [the media]. But I appreciate more so than anything, I appreciate the fan votes. “It always means a lot because they’re the ones that make this game as big as it is. I know a lot of people are saying we need to take the fans’ votes away, but they’re the ones who want to see who they want to see.”
Jon Krawczynski: Derrick Rose was emotional talking about All-Star returns: "I don’t sell myself to people. It’s not me. That’s not my character. I don’t have an Instagram. I don’t have any of that. It comes from me being in people’s minds for some reason and people really caring."
Seems subtle, but the assertiveness illustrates a player who wants something and, this time, won’t be timid about his demands. “I would love to be a two-time all-star. I feel like I deserve it,” Beal said. “Granted, we definitely have to win more games. It’s definitely a goal of mine. It’s definitely something I want to be part of. I’ll probably be more active in pushing myself and promoting myself.”
DeRozan’s all-around outing in L.A. bolstered his case for a trip to Charlotte in February. He can gain more steam for a berth in the elite game with strong outings in a pair of high-profile home games against the Boston Celtics at 6 p.m. Monday and his former team, the Toronto Raptors, at 7 p.m. Thursday in perhaps the season’s most anticipated game. “There is not one player in this league that doesn’t want that accolade on their belt,” DeRozan said of his desire to earn a spot on an All-Star roster for the first time as a Western Conference performer. It’s always an honor whenever you get mentioned (as a candidate), let alone be in the actual game. It’s something you always look forward to, something you dream about your whole life.”
Although he makes no secret of his desire to land a spot, DeRozan isn’t sweating it. “Every time I’ve made the All-Star Game, I never thought about it,” he said. “I just go out there and play. I never felt pressed that I had to go out there and do extra.” His teammates believe it should be a no-brainer. “Name three other people that are playing better at that position. I can’t,” Gay said. “He brings a lot to this team. That’s our All-Star.” “He’s going to be in, for sure,” LaMarcus Aldridge said.
Jay King: Brad Stevens today called it “a joke” that Mike Conley has never made an All-Star team. “He's just a winner, and that's all that really has ever mattered to him.”
Marc Stein: NBA All-Star Voting starts today ... pic.twitter.com/UgArVx5roR
“I look for respect and to try to earn the respect of a lot of people,” Conley said. “If you make the all-star team and you get the label next your name, for whatever reason, people will think, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s good now.’ But if you don’t have it, it’s, ‘Well, he’s never made it, he’s never done anything, so why would you think he’s any better than this guy or the next guy.’ It kind of keeps me under this glass ceiling that I’m trying to bust through.
“It’s gotten more frustrating as I get older,” Conley said. “I’m 31 now. I’m 12 years in. At some point, you know the game will have to end for you. Hopefully, it’s seven, eight years from now, but at the end of the day, when I look back on it, and all that I’ve accomplished in my career and you think about all of those things and there are so many missed opportunities for recognition, in different ways. And that’s been eating at me, for a while.”
He left little room for interpretation during the first week of training camp, however, when he was asked about his personal goals playing alongside James. “I want to be an All-Star,” he told The Athletic. “I want to be an All-Star this year.”
"A goal of mine is to be an All-Star," Turner says. "I think that is one thing that every NBA player dreams of." "I know I feel different," he adds. "Just my movements on the floor ... I feel more, I don't think 'majestic' is the word for it, but I feel better, not as wobbly. I feel a lot stronger overall."
“I’m trying to be Rookie of the Year and the first rookie [since Blake Griffin] to be an All-Star,” Ayton told Yahoo Sports. “Just putting that pressure on me so I can go hard everyday. I won’t necessarily say it’s pressure. I’ll just say it’s one of my goals or one of the achievements I hope to accomplish. It’s no pressure at all, it’s just, you’ve got to be in the gym, you’ve got to work, because if you don’t, it’s going to be exposed.”
“I’m trying to be Rookie of the Year and the first rookie [since Blake Griffin] to be an All-Star,” Ayton told Yahoo Sports. “Just putting that pressure on me so I can go hard everyday. I won’t necessarily say it’s pressure. I’ll just say it’s one of my goals or one of the achievements I hope to accomplish. It’s no pressure at all, it’s just, you’ve got to be in the gym, you’ve got to work, because if you don’t, it’s going to be exposed.”

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Jonathan Feigen: Harden on the Rockets have one All-Star: "Obviously, everybody knows Chris Paul is with the Rockets. The Rockets have the No. 1 (record). How does that happen? It’s frustrating. I know he’s frustrated. He never brings it up. That’s why I said what I said."
San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge said he wasn't surprised to learn he was the last pick in the inaugural 2018 NBA All-Star Draft. "I'm not a flashy player," the six-time All-Star said. "That's OK." Aldridge was the last player chosen by LeBron James' team, and Boston Celtics power forward Al Horford was the last pick by Stephen Curry's team, league sources told ESPN's Chris Haynes. "We're all All-Stars, so, at the end of the day, we should be thankful to be here," Aldridge told ESPN. "Picked first, picked last, it doesn't matter. We're all competitive, too. It won't be the easiest thing to be picked last, but at the end of the day, you're just happy to be here."
San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge said he wasn't surprised to learn he was the last pick in the inaugural 2018 NBA All-Star Draft. "I'm not a flashy player," the six-time All-Star said. "That's OK." Aldridge was the last player chosen by LeBron James' team, and Boston Celtics power forward Al Horford was the last pick by Stephen Curry's team, league sources told ESPN's Chris Haynes.
"We're all All-Stars, so, at the end of the day, we should be thankful to be here," Aldridge told ESPN. "Picked first, picked last, it doesn't matter. We're all competitive, too. It won't be the easiest thing to be picked last, but at the end of the day, you're just happy to be here."
Dragic made it and will have the chance to participate in the league’s annual, opulent celebration of its best talent. Dragic has been named to an All-NBA team — a much more exclusive distinction that recognizes 15 players instead of 24 (this season 28 made the All-Star team because of a rash of unfortunate injuries). But he wanted the midseason honor because people remember the spectacle, the game, not some list that’s announced after the regular season is over. “I was really happy because this was my wish for a long time. As a kid, you’re always dreaming about those moments. And I put a lot of work in,” Dragic told Yahoo Sports. “I mean, for me, All-NBA was probably a higher honor. It’s kind of big but maybe the All-Star gets more recognition. Maybe because of that, people are more into it. But it’s an awesome experience, a lifetime experience that I’m going to embrace and try to have fun.”
Why do you think your teammate Ben Simmons wasn't chosen to be an All-Star? Joel Embiid: I think he should've been an All-Star because Goran Dragic got picked to play and John Wall. At the time, Miami had the fourth-best record in the East and they didn't have any All-Stars, so I feel like that was the reason they didn't pick him (Simmons), and then Drummond, he's in the playoff race and his numbers are insane and I could see why they picked him because Detroit didn't have an All-Star either. The only one I didn't really understand was Kemba because we have the better record. Ben's numbers are better than all those guys … defensively he's one of the best defensively in the league. I don't know. I wouldn't say there's anything against rookies in the league, but it's hard. That's a hard decision Adam Silver has to make. Starting next year, Ben is going to have many opportunities to be an All-Star, but he should've been an All-Star.
But now it seems like we may have found the culprit behind why it wasn’t televised. Commissioner Adam Silver joined The Jump on ESPN and blamed Curry for it not being televised. He claimed Curry told him: “Give us a break, we changed the format for the first time. Let’s see how it goes and then we can talk about televising it.”
Only six players have been named to five All-Star teams before age 25 (Kevin Garnett would’ve made it seven, if not for the 1999 lockout). The other five — Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James — are either in the Hall of Fame or will be first-ballot inductees once eligible. But what those other players have on their resumes — playoff success and championship rings — is something Davis is eager to add. Cousins’ presence wasn’t going to carry the Pelicans to be a contender, but he possibly would’ve helped Davis do better than the first-round sweep he encountered in 2015. Without him, the challenge of simply getting into the postseason — even with the Western Conference a little wobblier than usual after Golden State and Houston — is that much greater. “We’re trying to find our groove again. A lot of guys are playing out of position. I’m playing a lot more five now. We’re asking a lot from everybody and we just have to step up as a team and find a way to win,” Davis told Yahoo Sports. “I just tell them, ‘Keep playing. Keep fighting. Keep believing in each other. Right now is not the time to separate. We’ve got to stay together.’ We’ve got a lot of games left. Nobody is really taking off, fourth [seed] through 10th. We’re going to always stay in the fight, as long as we keep giving ourselves a chance. We’ve got to play hard and keep having fun.”
This season was supposed to be different with the game’s best headed to Los Angeles for another flamboyant and decadent display. The New Orleans Pelicans finally found Davis a running mate in DeMarcus Cousins, a peer who could relieve him from so many gargantuan performances and serve up a few of his own. For once, Davis would show up to the festivities with another Pelican by his side. “Not anymore,” Davis told Yahoo Sports with an exasperated chuckle, reflecting on what’s been lost this season.
Towns expressed appreciation for Horford, former NBA player Charlie Villanueva and other Dominican basketball stars who paved the way for him. “It’s an amazing, amazing time to see two Dominicans strive to play basketball at the highest level,” Towns said. “Al is one of the pioneers who showed how you can really make it if you push your talent and put your mind to something. I’m just trying to follow the leader.”
“I’ve been involved in Friday and Saturday, but I didn’t know how Sunday feels,” Towns said. “I’ve always left by that time. I’m already humbled. It’s going to be an emotional moment when I say, ‘Hey, I got to get ready for Sunday instead of just Friday and Saturday.’ “I watched it all the time as a kid. That is the best time of the NBA year.”
While Dragic's confidence wavered, Nash, Grant Hill and assistant coaches kept him afloat as he doubted his decision to come to the U.S. "[Kokoskov] was my second father. When I came to the States, he speaks the same language as I do. He was there for me 24/7," Dragic said. "I owe them a lot that I even succeed in the NBA because of him and Dan Majerle and those guys. "Igor was the main guy. He always talked to me. He always opened my eyes and my head. I always remember him saying, 'Just put hard work in and be patient.' He was always saying patience. At that time, I didn't understand that well and now I really do, I really do. Even now I don't see him as a coach. I see him as my friend."
TSN Raptors reporter Josh Lewenberg chats with DeMar DeRozan about how much he's looking forward to playing in an exciting new All-Star Game format, what it means to have so many members of his team take in the weekend in his home of Los Angeles and more.
Kemba Walker: blessed #NBAAllStar

http://twitter.com/KembaWalker/status/962039833928515584

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Jared Weiss: Kemba Walker has replaced Kristaps Porzingis in the All-Star game and Andre Drummond will replace The Unicorn in the Skills Challenge.
After saying multiple times over the past few months that becoming an all-star was something he wasn't worried about, something that would "take care of itself," Middleton shared Tuesday that getting passed over multiple times did bother him. “It’s definitely disappointing," Middleton said. "I definitely felt I should have been an all-star this year. If I wasn’t voted in by the coaches out front then I thought I should have been a replacement but they saw it a different way. I’m not going to let that kill my season. I’m not playing for just an all-star (selection); I’m playing for the playoffs, a championship team. "I definitely feel disrespected because of the numbers that I had and we had a good record. It is what it is at this point.”
The case for Ben Simmons to be included in the NBA All-Star team has gone all the way to the Australian federal parliament. MP Tim Watts made an impassioned plea on Thursday for the Philadelphia 76ers player to become the first Australian to make the prestigious line-up. Simmons, from Melbourne, has been continually overlooked for the showpiece game on 18 February, despite delivering an NBA rookie season comparable in terms of numbers to the likes of basketball greats Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.
After saying multiple times over the past few months that becoming an all-star was something he wasn't worried about, something that would "take care of itself," Middleton shared Tuesday that getting passed over multiple times did bother him. “It’s definitely disappointing," Middleton said. "I definitely felt I should have been an all-star this year. If I wasn’t voted in by the coaches out front then I thought I should have been a replacement but they saw it a different way. I’m not going to let that kill my season. I’m not playing for just an all-star (selection); I’m playing for the playoffs, a championship team.”
Australian MP Tim Watts stood up in parliament to explain why it’s an “outrage” that 76ers rookie Ben Simmons, who was born in Melbourne, still isn’t an NBA All-Star. Watts rattles off stats, including how Simmons has five triple-doubles, then says, “Frankly, no one with two brain cells to rub together would want Goran Dragic on their team over Ben.”

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Anthony Chiang: Now that @Goran Dragic has made the All-Star game, his vacation will have to be canceled. "I think L.A. is going to be fine," he said.
If NBA commissioner Adam Silver does not select Goran Dragic to fill Kevin Love’s Eastern Conference All-Star roster spot – or any other that might come open in the next two weeks– then the Heat this season could something achieve that has never been done in the NBA. No team in NBA history has ever won a playoff series without having a player on its roster that had been in an All-Star Game at any time prior to that, according to a Miami Herald analysis tracing back to the game’s inception in 1951. The Heat has a chance to do that, unless Dragic is added to the roster or barring the addition of a former All-Star via trade or buyout.
This is the world Kristaps Porzingis is entering as a first-time All-Star in a couple weeks, when he also replaces Carmelo Anthony as the Knicks’ top pitchman. He hopes it happens organically. “That’s a good idea,” Porzingis told the Daily News about recruiting his fellow All-Stars over the weekend in L.A. “I’ll get to know them a little better, all the guys. All guys want to play with other All-Stars on their team. But it’s not something I focus on. If it happens, it happens.”
Jessica Camerato: Ben Simmons was asked if he would want to be named an All-Star replacement: "Who wouldn’t? Who doesn’t want to be an All-Star? If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, we’ve got Brooklyn tonight. That’s my main focus," Simmons said.

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Chris Haynes: Draymond Green tells ESPN he believes Boston guard Jaylen Brown should be an All-Star. With John Wall out, Adam Silver must select injury replacement.
Ian Begley: Enes Kanter was playfully asked about replacing the injured Kevin Love and playing for LeBron James' All-Star team. "I might ask for a trade," he said with a laugh. "If it happens, it happens. If not, I'll go to break. I'm going to cheer for KP."
Chris Haynes: Draymond Green tells ESPN he believes Boston guard Jaylen Brown should be an All-Star. With John Wall out, Adam Silver must select injury replacement.
Bradley Beal: I’m never mad about All-Star. It’s guys who get snubbed every year who’ve proven they could be All-Stars. This league, there’s 450 guys, and you’re trying to pick 24 out of the group who are having a good year. It’s a tough assignment, because you’ve got the fan vote, and it’s tough on the coaches because there’s so many guys out here who really are All-Stars. Not everybody gets a spot. I didn’t take it the wrong way. I accepted it for what it was. Like I said before, there’s guys who don’t make it every year who probably deserve to be there. For me, it was a break for my body.
Jonathan Feigen: D'Antoni will be the second Rockets coach -- joining Rudy Tomjanovich (1997) -- to coach in an All-Star game. It is the second time for D'Antoni (2007). twitter.com/Jonathan_Feige…

https://twitter.com/NBAAllStar/status/957100885024260096
Storyline: All-Star Selections
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December 7, 2021 | 2:59 am EST Update

Ben Simmons likes report of Damian Lillard wanting to play with him

Interestingly, after the rumors of Lillard wanting to play with Simmons spread like wildfire online, the Australian guard caught win of the development and showed his interest in it. While the 25-year-old didn’t directly address it, he did “like” a post on Bleacher Report Instagram discussing the news.
Goorjian hopes Simmons finds a new home to help him flourish again and stressed that the Aussie had full support from the Boomers camp moving forward. “I just hope right now he finds a team, finds a place where he’s comfortable and gets on with his career,” he said. “I said to him: ‘We’re here for you. You’ve had some situations at Philly with your teammates, with the coach, with the organisation. You come here; we’ll welcome you with open arms. I think you’re going to love the environment, it’s your call.’”
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade?
The Nets still have championship aspirations, and the presence of Irving, who averaged 27 points, five rebounds and six assists last season, would certainly help in achieving that goal. They are still paying the seven-time All-Star for the road games he misses due to the team’s decision to not employ him as a part-time player for away contests. “From what I’ve seen, they’re still a good team without Kyrie, but they definitely need him,” former Nets guard Deron Williams recently told Bally Sports. “I hope everything gets figured out. But as far as my thoughts on Kyrie, he’s doing what’s best for him. I respect what he wants to do.”
Storyline: Coronavirus Vaccine