Tim Duncan was selected to his 14th NBA All-Star game, San Antonio teammate Tony Parker joined him, and the Chicago Bulls also had two, Joakim Noah and Deng reserves chosen on Thursday for next month's game in Houston.
Noah is one of five first-time All-Stars for the East, along with New York's Tyson Chandler, Indiana's Paul George, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, and Philadelphia's Jrue Holiday. Miami's Chris Bosh, picked for his eighth All-Star team, rounded out the East squad.
West forwards David Lee (Golden State), LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland) and Zach Randolph (Memphis) all were picked for the second time. Houston's James Harden was chosen for the first time and joins former Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook, headed to his third straight All-Star game.
Duncan wasn't chosen last year for the first time in his career but has bounced back with a terrific season at age 36, averaging 17.5 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots, his best statistics since 2009-10.
The co-MVP of the 2000 All-Star game joined a group that includes Michael Jordan for fifth-most selections. Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett, both voted to start, and Shaquille O'Neal all were picked 15 times. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the career leader as a 19-time All-Star.
The reserves were voted by the head coaches from each conference, who had to select two guards, three frontcourt players and two players regardless of position. They were not allowed to vote for players from their own teams.
With centers Chandler and Noah, East coaches passed on Brooklyn's Brook Lopez, the leading scorer for a resurgent team that is right behind the Knicks for the Atlantic Division lead. Perennial All-Stars Deron Williams and Joe Johnson of the Nets also missed out, as did Boston's Paul Pierce.
Voted as East starters by fan voting along with Garnett were Miami's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, New York's Carmelo Anthony and Boston's Rajon Rondo. The West starting five is Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard of the Lakers, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, and Clippers teammates Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.
New Orleans Hornets to become Pelicans
New Orleans Hornets owner Tom Benson is changing his team's nickname to the Pelicans and said the switch will create a bond with the city that could lead to an NBA championship. The NBA still has to approve the name change, but commissioner David Stern has said he wouldn't object to any name Benson chose. The league is expected to expedite the change at the start of next season.
The Hornets have been in New Orleans since moving from Charlotte in 2002, although they were relocated temporarily to Oklahoma City from 2005-07 due to Hurricane Katrina. Benson, who also owns the NFL's Saints, bought the team last spring.
The nickname Hornets "didn't mean anything to this community," Benson said. "The pelican represents New Orleans, just like the Saints. They have incredible resolve. If they can do that, the team can do the same."
The brown pelican is Louisiana's state bird and has become identified with efforts to restore Louisiana's coast, which has been damaged extensively by the 2010 BP oil spill and erosion from Katrina and other storms. Images of the pelicans covered with oil were plentiful after the oil spill.
The Charlotte Bobcats are understood to be considering changing their name to Hornets.
Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points and won his rematch with Kevin Garnett as the New York Knicks ended an 11-game losing streak in Boston with an 89-86 victory over the Celtics on Thursday night.
It came 17 days after a verbal clash between the All-Star forwards led to Anthony's one-game suspension following Boston's 102-96 victory in New York.
Anthony was booed frequently Thursday but there was no sign of hostility with Garnett. At one point, Anthony even extended his hand to a fallen Garnett and helped the Celtic to his feet.
Rajon Rondo led the Celtics with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Garnett had only eight points but finished with a game-high 12 rebounds.
DeMar DeRozan swished a fadeaway jumper at the buzzer as the Toronto Raptors fought off a late-game charge by Orlando Magic to win 97-95.
DeRozan led Toronto with 22 points, followed by Amir Johnson with 21 points and 10 rebounds. It was Johnson's sixth double-double of the season.
The victory gave the Raptors a four-game season sweep of Magic, who dropped their fourth game in a row and 15 of their last 17 overall.
Goran Dragic scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 93-88 on Thursday night, improving to 2-0 under interim coach Lindsey Hunter.
Marcin Gortat added 15 points, including two free throws with 23.3 seconds left. Luis Scola and Markieff Morris had 14 apiece for the Suns, who had not won two in a row since a season-high, four-game winning streak ended on December 19.
The Clippers, who lost their third straight, were without Chris Paul for the fifth time in seven games because of a bruised right kneecap. The team is 3-2 without him.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010