The dramatic conclusion to the NBA’s All-Star voting left Dwight Howard out of the Western Conference’s starting five and Kevin Love in. Thanks, in part, to the new rule in the voting discounting the need for a center, Love and Blake Griffin joined Kobe Bryant, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant in the starting lineup.
So you can play in Minnesota and still have nice things.
From the four letter…
Trailing by nearly 18,000 votes two weeks ago for a spot in the Western Conference starting lineup, the Minnesota Timberwolves forward made a late push in the fan vote to earn an All-Star starting nod for the first time in his career.
Love’s last-minute ascension resulted in him beating out Dwight Howard for one of three frontcourt spots in the Feb. 16 All-Star Game in New Orleans.
Love knew there was still a chance he could be named a starter, but he wasn’t expecting it. So when Wolves president of basketball of operations Flip Saunders came to his hotel room Thursday afternoon in San Francisco, where the Wolves are staying during their current road trip, Love was taken aback by the news.
“I was in disbelief up until it came across the screen that I was going to be a starter and the NBA tweeted it,” Love said during a teleconference Thursday night.
“As a kid you obviously dream of being in the NBA, dream of being All-Star player. To be an All-Star starter, I keep using the word surreal. It hasn’t quite set in yet, but at the same time I still have a whole lot of work to do.”
When the NBA announced its final ballot update on Jan. 9, Love was behind Griffin by 17,933 votes and Howard by 26,000. In the last two weeks of voting, Griffin and Love both leapfrogged Howard. Love made it with 661,246 votes — thanks to a late push of about 178,000 votes.
Western Conference starters
G Kobe Bryant (988,884 votes)
G Stephen Curry (1,047,281)
F Kevin Durant (1,396,294)
F Blake Griffin (688,466)
F Kevin Love (661,246)