Suns’ Booker, Paul headline All-Star reserves


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Chris Paul and Devin Booker, the starting backcourt for the NBA-leading Phoenix Suns, headlined the NBA’s announcement of the 14 reserves for the NBA’s All-Star Game in Cleveland later this month.

Paul, who is averaging 14.9 points and 10.4 assists, is making his 12th All-Star appearance, while Booker, who is averaging 25.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists, made his third All-Star team.

They were two of the seven selections from the Western Conference, as they were joined by: Luka Doncic, who is making his third straight All-Star appearance after averaging 26 points, 8.8 rebounds, 8.9 assists for the Dallas Mavericks; Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who is averaging 16 points, 15.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game, and teammate Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging 25 points, 4 rebounds and 5.2 assists, both of whom are also making their third straight All-Star appearance; Minnesota Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns, who is averaging 24.4 points and 9.5 rebounds and is yet another guy making his third All-Star appearance; and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who is averaging 7.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game and is one of the league’s premier defensive players.

In the Eastern Conference, the selections were headlined by a pair of first-time selections: Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland, who is averaging 19.8 points and 8.2 assists and is Cleveland’s first All-Star since LeBron James left in 2018; and Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, who is averaging 21.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.0 assists — while also leading the NBA in minutes per game.

They were joined by Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden, who is making his 10th straight All-Star appearance and is averaging 22.5 points, 8 rebounds and 10.2 assists; Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler, who is now a six-time All-Star after averaging 21.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.4 assists; Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who is averaging 24.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists and is making his second straight All-Star team; Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, who is making his third All-Star appearance and is averaging 19.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.2 assists for the defending champions; and Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, who is averaging 25.9 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.1 assists and is making his third straight All-Star team.

Last week, the NBA announced the 10 All-Star starters: Warriors guard Stephen Curry and forward Andrew Wiggins; Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic; Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan; Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young; Nets forward Kevin Durant; Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo; and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid.

Those 24 names will be increased by at least one over the next two weeks, as Green, who was part of TNT’s announcement Thursday night, said he would not be able to play in the All-Star Game. He has been out the past several weeks with back and calf injuries, meaning he will now be replaced by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Durant, who has missed the Nets’ last nine game with a knee injury, may also need to be replaced.

James and Durant, the captains of the two teams that will play in Cleveland on Feb. 20 after receiving the most votes in their respective conferences, will pick their teams next Thursday on TNT.

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