Durant leads West forwards in balloting
The NBA released its final All-Star balloting update Thursday, and Kevin Durant remains the leading vote-getter among Western Conference forwards.
Durant, who last season became the youngest scoring champion in NBA history, has received 1,270,729 votes so far. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is the overall leader with 1,757,216 votes.
Paper balloting ends Monday, and on-line balloting will end Jan. 23. Thursday was the last home game Thunder fans could hand in their ballots.
The starting lineups are determined by fan voting and will be announced Jan. 27. Head coaches in each conference will then vote on seven reserve players but are not allowed to vote for their own players. The reserves will be announced Feb. 3.
The All-Star Game will be held Feb. 20 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Here is the latest voting update:
Forwards: Kevin Durant (Thunder) 1,270,729; Carmelo Anthony (Denver) 945,720; Pau Gasol (LA Lakers) 851,456; Blake Griffin (LA Clippers) 702,784; Tim Duncan (San Antonio) 663,487; Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas) 615,243; Lamar Odom (LA Lakers) 364,950; Luis Scola (Houston) 347,986; Kevin Love (Minnesota) 301,529; Caron Butler (Dallas) 205,146.
Guards: Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers) 1,757,216; Chris Paul (New Orleans) 949,049; Manu Ginobili (San Antonio) 593,718; Steve Nash (Phoenix) 522,215; Deron Williams (Utah) 487,887; Russell Westbrook (Thunder) 463,250; Tony Parker (San Antonio) 355,993; Jason Kidd (Dallas) 303,164; Vince Carter (Phoenix) 277,430; Kevin Martin (Houston) 266,037.
Centers: Yao Ming (Houston) 928,928; Andrew Bynum (LA Lakers) 660,576; Nene' (Denver) 389,263; Marc Gasol (Memphis) 352,136; Emeka Okafor (New Orleans) 317,677; Brendan Haywood (Dallas) 276,777; Marcus Camby (Portland) 201,133; Chris Kaman (LA Clippers) 165,684;Andris Biedrins (Golden State) 126,567; DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento) 110,230.
Forwards: LeBron James (Miami) 1,518,807; Amar'e Stoudemire (New York) 1,143,391; Kevin Garnett (Boston) 1,049,544; Paul Pierce (Boston) 578,473; Chris Bosh (Miami) 427,551; Carlos Boozer (Chicago) 320,661; Josh Smith (Atlanta) 280,158; Danilo Gallinari (New York) 259,619; Danny Granger (Indiana) 201,653; Luol Deng (Chicago) 191,312.
Guards: Dwyane Wade (Miami) 1,499,768; Derrick Rose (Chicago) 1,225,575; Rajon Rondo (Boston) 1,171,311; Ray Allen (Boston) 630,588; John Wall (Washington) 260,893; Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee) 254,614; Raymond Felton (New York) 246,208; Gilbert Arenas (Orlando) 240,586; Jamal Crawford (Atlanta) 163,971, Darren Collison (Indiana) 156,230.
Centers: Dwight Howard (Orlando) 1,537,619; Shaquille O'Neal (Boston) 639,661; Joakim Noah (Chicago) 291,107; Andrew Bogut (Milwaukee) 245,253; Al Horford (Atlanta) 193,449; Roy Hibbert (Indiana) 183,092; Andrea Bargnani (Toronto) 162,364; Brook Lopez (New Jersey) 125,022; JaVale McGee (Washington) 106,710; Ben Wallace (Detroit) 79,017.
Katie Lawson, a 27-year old Oklahoma City police officer who survived being shot six times last summer, received the Devon Energy Community Hero Award for January on Thursday night.
Lawson was recognized before the start of the second quarter of the Thunder's game against Orlando. She received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd of 18,203, including Durant, who had just scored 16 points in the first quarter.
On Aug. 29, Lawson was assisting in a DUI stop in northwest Oklahoma City. She was shot with an AR-15 assault rifle. Wounded and armed only with her pistol, she returned fire, forced the gunman to retreat and called for help to apprehend her assailant. Three suspects await trial in connection with the shooting. Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty calls it the most heroic police work he has seen in more than 30 years on the force.
HOT AND HOTTER
Both teams shot a sizzling 50 percent from 3-point range, but Orlando had twice the productivity, hitting 14 of 28 beyond the arc while the Thunder hit 7 of 14.
Who had the overall advantage depends on how you look at it, however.
Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy gave a glancing acknowledgment that his team shot well from the outside, but quickly downshifted and refocused on the Thunder's shooting performance.
“They hit a lot of shots, as we did,” Van Gundy said. “They hit a ton of shots. It was one of those nights when they had it all rolling. They did make a lot of shots, but clearly our defense wasn't very good. They had a lot of them late in the clock.
“We couldn't get Durant to miss anything.”
Durant finished with 36 points, was 13 of 17 from the field and 8 of 9 from the free-throw line.
BIG GREEN 3
The game's biggest 3-pointer no doubt was Jeff Green's 27-foot bomb as the shot clock expired to give OKC a 119-112 lead with 2:51 remaining in the game.
“Jeff Green hit the biggest shot of the game, I thought, after J.J. (Redick) took the charge that wasn't called,” Van Gundy said. “That was huge.”
After shooting 81.1 percent Thursday (30 of 37), the Thunder is now shooting .83116 from the free-throw line. The NBA single-season record is .83186 by the Boston Celtics in 1989-90. … Nenad Krstic secured first double-double of the season with 10 minutes left in the third quarter. … OKC led wire-to-wire against Orlando. No ties. … After giving up 40 points in the paint to the Magic, the Thunder has given up 110 points in the paint the last two games, and went 2-0. … OKC does not play again until facing the defending world champion Lakers on Monday in LA. … The Thunder's next home game is Jan. 22 against the New York Knicks.