Oklahoma City Thunder notebook: Kevin Durant remains starter in All-Star balloting
Rockets' James Harden leads OKC's Russell Westbrook in backcourt votes. Blake Griffin among top vote-getters for starting spot.
Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (924,898) remains the leading vote-getter among Western Conference frontcourt players in the second round of NBA All-Star balloting that were released Thursday.
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Teammate Russell Westbrook (232,074) remains fifth in West backcourt balloting and trails former OKC teammate James Harden (283,691) now with the Houston Rockets.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (977,444) remains the leading overall vote-getter, followed closely by Miami Heat forward LeBron James (970,314). New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony (891,759) is second to James in East voting.
Currently joining Bryant and Durant in the West starting lineup are Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul (542,564), Lakers center Dwight Howard (616,150) and Clippers power forward and former Oklahoma standout Blake Griffin (489,795).
Joining James and Anthony in the East lineup are Heat guard Dwyane Wade (645,875), Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo (574,272) and Celtics center Kevin Garnett (328,716).
The 62nd NBA All-Star Game is at the Toyota Center in Houston on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. and will be televised on TNT. Balloting concludes Jan. 14 and starters will be announced Jan. 17 during a special one-hour pregame show on TNT at 6 p.m.
The ballot lists 120 players — 60 each from the Eastern and Western conferences — with 36 frontcourt and 24 guards from each conference. Voters select three frontcourt and two guards from each conference.
THABO vs. MAYO
Dallas shooting guard O.J. Mayo is the team's leading scorer this season at 19.3 points per game, but he was held to four points and 1-for-7 shooting in the Thunder's 111-105 victory over the Mavericks on Thursday night at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Defended primarily by Thabo Sefolosha, Mayo didn't score his first points until the 4:04 mark of the third quarter.
“Play physical, not give him anything when he gets an open look,” Sefolosha said of guarding Mayo, who entered the game ranked second in the NBA in 3-point shooting at 48.6 percent. “Just relying on my teammates and try to make it tough on him.”
OKC teammate Nick Collison said Sefolosha's perimeter pressure is what makes him such an effective defender.
“I think what he does really well is he makes the catches difficult,” Collison explained. “Those guys are catching past the 3-point line and they're being pressured so they're not catching it in rhythm, so every time they're having to create against a really good defender.”
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