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For the ninth season in a row, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA's annual All-Star Game. The NBA announced Thursday that both will start for the Eastern squad.
This is the ninth consecutive season James has been voted into the starting lineup via fan balloting, and the eighth consecutive time for Wade (Wade was an All-Star reserve during in 2005). Wade's nine appearances and eight starts are both franchise records.
Joining them in the Eastern Conference starting lineup are Boston point guard Rajon Rondo, New York forward Carmelo Anthony, and Boston forward/center Kevin Garnett.
James was second overall in votes received with 1,583,646. The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant just barely edged him out with 1,591,437 votes. James and Wade's teammate, Chris Bosh, just missed out on a starting nod by approximately 25,000 votes. Garnett received 553,222 votes to Bosh's 528,014.
There is a strong chance that Bosh will be named a reserve. He has appeared in the last seven All-Star Games, but only once as a starter (in 2007 while a member of the Toronto Raptors). Bosh, Wade, and James have all made the All-Star squad since the three united in Miami before the 2010-11 season.
Reserves will be announced Jan. 24. NBA coaches vote for reserves, selecting two guards, three frontcourt players and two players regardless of position.
The coaching staff for each squad will be determined by which team has the best record in their respective conferences through Feb. 3. The Heat currently lead the Eastern Conference with a 25-12 record, a game ahead of the New York Knicks. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has never coached an All-Star squad.
Besides Bryant, the Western Conference starting lineup includes L.A. Clippers point guard Chris Paul, Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, Clippers forward Blake Griffin, and Lakers center Dwight Howard.
Howard won the 2012 All-Star Game MVP representing Orlando on the Eastern Conference squad. Wade was the game's MVP in 2010, while James won in 2006 and 2008 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The All-Star Game will be held at the Toyota Center in Houston on Sunday, Feb. 17.