In the initial returns of the 2013 NBA All-Star Game balloting, Thunder forward and three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant is the leading vote-getter among Western Conference frontcourt players.
Durant (605,985 votes) leads Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (434,168) and former Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers (307,855) at his position.
The Miami Heat's LeBron James is the leading overall vote-getter (641,348) and is followed by Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (639,419) and Durant.
West starters currently would be Bryant and Clippers point guard Chris Paul (353,603) at the guards, plus Durant, Howard and Griffin in the frontcourt. The center position was eliminated in this year's balloting and replaced by a third frontcourt player due to the lack of center candidates.
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook (143,437) stands fifth in West guard balloting behind the Houston Rockets backcourt of Jeremy Lin (298,319) and James Harden (196,108). OKC forward Serge Ibaka (68,285) is ninth in frontcourt balloting.
Starting for the East would be Miami guard Dwyane Wade (430,925) and Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (382,613), plus James, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (573,112) and Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett (218,246).
Balloting concludes Jan. 14 and starters will be announced Jan. 17. The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will be held Feb. 17, 2013, at 7 p.m. at Toyota Center in Houston.
THE HIGH ROAD
Thunder sixth man Kevin Martin took the high road when asked about playing against the Houston Rockets, his former team, on Nov. 28. He's taking a longer high road for Friday's 7 p.m. game against his other previous team, the Sacramento Kings (7-14).
Martin played 2 1/2 seasons for Houston (2010-12) before being traded to the Thunder on Oct. 27 and categorized his first meeting against the Rockets as just another game.
As for facing Sacramento, where Martin spent his first 5 1/2 seasons in the league (2004-10)? “That's been ‘another game' for a long time,” a smiling Martin said after Thursday's practice.