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James Harden named starter to NBA All-Star Game

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The NBA announced that Houston Rockets guard James Harden was voted a starter for the Western Conference in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, which takes place in New Orleans on Sunday, Feb. 19.  It is the first time Harden has been voted a starter.  He replaced Kobe Bryant as a starter in both 2014 and 2015.

For the first time, NBA players and basketball media joined fans in selecting starters for the All-Star Game.  Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote, while all current players and a panel of basketball media accounted for 25 percent each.  Harden finished second among Western Conference guards in voting by fans (1,771,375), media, and players.  He was one of four players in either conference to finish second or better in all three categories.

Harden has been named an All-Star in each of his five seasons as a Rocket.  He is tied for the third-most All-Star appearances in franchise history, trailing only Hakeem Olajuwon (12 times) and Yao Ming (8 times).

This season, Harden ranks second in the league in scoring with 28.9 points per game and first in assists with 11.6 assists per game.  He is scoring or assisting on 57.2 points per game this season, which would surpass Nate Archibald’s NBA single season record of 56.8 set in 1972-73.

Harden is averaging 28.9 points, 11.6 assists, and 8.3 rebounds this season.  Oscar Robertson (3 times) is the only player in NBA history to have averaged at least 28.0 points, 11.0 assists, and 8.0 rebounds in a single season.  Harden also leads the NBA free throws made (400) and attempted (469) this season while ranking third in 3-pointers made (141).  Rockets guard Eric Gordon leads the league with 160 3-pointers made.

In 45 games played this season, Harden already has 13 triple-doubles after having nine for his career entering 2016-17.  Four of his triple-doubles this season came while scoring at least 40 points.  According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Oscar Robertson is the only other player in NBA history to have recorded at least four triple-doubles while scoring 40-plus points in a single season.

The Rockets are currently 33-12 and have the third-best winning percentage in the NBA (.733).

Shockingly enough, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook was not named a starter despite leading the league in scoring and recording 21 triple doubles on the season.