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The starters for the NBA's midwinter classic have been set. As announced on a TNT special prior to Thursday night's games, the league has revealed the starters for the 2015 All-Star Game, set to be played on February 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The set of 10 players features a mix of longtime selections, up-and-coming superstars, and even one brand-new All-Star face.
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Golden State Warriors point guard and MVP favorite Stephen Curry led all vote-getters, inching ahead of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James in the final days of voting after trailing in all previously announced returns during the process. Curry has helped a loaded Warriors roster to the NBA's best record at 34-6 and led the voting in just his second All-Star appearance after being voted in last season. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr will coach the West All-Stars, becoming the first rookie coach to do so since Larry Bird of the Indiana Pacers served on the East sidelines in 1998.
Curry is joined on the Western Conference team by Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant (17th selection, all consecutive), New Orleans Pelicans phenomenon Anthony Davis (second selection, first as a starter), Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (second selection, first as a starter), and Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (fifth selection, fourth as a starter). However, Bryant could opt not to participate in the game following the announcement that he tore the rotator cuff in his right shoulder during Wednesday's game against the Pelicans. If he does not play, Houston Rockets guard and NBA-leading scorer James Harden would likely serve as his replacement in the starting lineup.
They will face an Eastern Conference squad featuring LeBron (11th selection), New York Knicks forward and ostensible All-Star host Carmelo Anthony (eighth selection), Chicago Bulls big man Pau Gasol (fifth selection, his first since 2011), Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (second selection, first as a starter), and Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (first selection in his ninth season). Lowry overtook Dwyane Wade in the late stages of voting and looks like a surprising, though deserving, pick.
If both stay healthy, Marc and Pau Gasol will also make history as the first two brothers to face off against each other in an All-Star Game. Brothers Dick and Tom Van Arsdale played each other in two previous All-Star Games in 1970 and 1971 as members of the Phoenix Suns and Cincinnati Royals, respectively.
All-Star reserves will be announced on January 29 in another TNT pre-game special. Names called during that program should include Harden, Miami Heat big man Chris Bosh, and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul.
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