The NBA released its final update to the fan voting for the All-Star game, two weeks before the official results are announced live on TNT on Jan. 27. And this one was more interesting than most, thanks to two of the five spots in the Eastern Conference's starting lineup changing hands.
Amar'e Stoudemire -- in most people's opinion, and even that of his former head coach, the league's MVP to this point -- overtook the injured Kevin Garnett, and now holds a lead of over 93,000 votes for one of the two starting forward spots. Garnett's teammate, Rajon Rondo, was similarly surpassed by another MVP candidate, Chicago's Derrick Rose. Rondo missed some time due to injury, but the way Rose has been playing, he might have eventually surpassed Rondo in the fans' eyes anyway. Rose now has a cushion of over 54,000 votes.
These appear to be the only two real races for spots in the starting lineup, as the rest of the margins seem to be too great to overcome over the next couple of weeks. Dwight Howard, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade are the East's leading vote-getters (in that order), while out West, there were no changes to what appears to be a solid starting lineup of Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and the ever-popular All-Star vote recipient, Yao Ming. Yao is obviously injured and out for the season, so David Stern will get to choose his replacement in the starting lineup -- likely Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol, but it wouldn't be a complete shock to see him go with Tim Duncan, either.
The top 10 vote-getters at each position are listed below:
Forwards: LeBron James (Mia) 1,518,807; Amar'e Stoudemire (NYK) 1,143,391; Kevin Garnett (Bos) 1,049,544; Paul Pierce (Bos) 578,473; Chris Bosh (Mia) 427,551; Carlos Boozer (Chi) 320,661; Josh Smith (Atl) 280,158; Danilo Gallinari (NYK) 259,619; Danny Granger (Ind) 201,653; Luol Deng (Chi) 191,312.
Guards: Dwyane Wade (Mia) 1,499,768; Derrick Rose (Chi) 1,225,575; Rajon Rondo (Bos) 1,171,311; Ray Allen (Bos) 630,588; John Wall (Was) 260,893; Brandon Jennings (Mil) 254,614; Raymond Felton (NYK) 246,208; Gilbert Arenas (Orl) 240,586; Jamal Crawford (Atl) 163,971, Darren Collison (Ind) 156,230.
Centers: Dwight Howard (Orl) 1,537,619; Shaquille O'Neal (Bos) 639,661; Joakim Noah (Chi) 291,107; Andrew Bogut (Mil) 245,253; Al Horford (Atl) 193,449; Roy Hibbert (Ind) 183,092; Andrea Bargnani (Tor) 162,364; Brook Lopez (NJ) 125,022; JaVale McGee (Was) 106,710; Ben Wallace (Det) 79,017.
Forwards: Kevin Durant (OKC) 1,270,729; Carmelo Anthony (Den) 945,720; Pau Gasol (LAL) 851,456; Blake Griffin (LAC) 702,784; Tim Duncan (SA) 663,487; Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 615,243; Lamar Odom (LAL) 364,950; Luis Scola (Hou) 347,986; Kevin Love (Min) 301,529; Caron Butler (Dal) 205,146.
Guards: Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,757,216; Chris Paul (NOH) 949,049; Manu Ginobili (SA) 593,718; Steve Nash (Pho) 522,215; Deron Williams (Utah) 487,887; Russell Westbrook (OKC) 463,250; Tony Parker (SA) 355,993; Jason Kidd (Dal) 303,164; Vince Carter (Pho) 277,430; Kevin Martin (Hou) 266,037.
Centers: Yao Ming (Hou) 928,928; Andrew Bynum (LAL) 660,576; Nene (Den) 389,263; Marc Gasol 352,136; Emeka Okafor (NOH) 317,677; Brendan Haywood (Dal) 276,777; Marcus Camby (Por) 201,133; Chris Kaman (LAC) 165,684; Andris Biedrins (GS) 126,567; DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 110,230.