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James keeps lead in All-Star voting

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James remained the top vote-getter in the second round of fan balloting for the National Basketball Association All-Star Game released by the league on Thursday.

James is on pace to join Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only 19-time All-Stars in history when the midseason exhibition is held on 19 February in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In the latest returns James had 4,825,229 votes and as the leading vote-getter in the West was trending toward serving as captain for the sixth straight year.

He could again find himself going up against a team captained by Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets star who leads voting in the East with 4,509,238 votes even though he is expected to miss about a month after spraining a right knee ligament this week.

The top three front court players and top two guards in each conference will be chosen as starters with the players with the most votes in each conference serving as captains and choosing their teams.

Denver’s Nikola Jokic remained second among Western Conference front court players and James’s Lakers teammate Anthony Davis remained in third.

Durant led East frontcourt players, just ahead of Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo with 4,467,306 votes.

Boston’s Jayson Tatum moved ahead of Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid for third spot.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry leads all guards in the balloting with 3,901,808 votes with Luka Doncic of Dallas second in the West.

Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving continued to lead guards in the East, ahead of Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell.

Fan voting counts for 50 percent of the starters balloting with a media vote counting for 25 percent and voting by players for 25 percent.

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