Harden, Howard Named to Western Conference All-Star Team

Every professional league has its quirks when it comes to naming all stars. In the NBA, that quirk is allowing fans, including Internet voters, to name the starters. Coaches then pick the reserves. Every year, there is at least one bizarre snub by fans or oddball choice. This year in the Western Conference, it was the selection of Kobe Bryant who has missed most of the season with injuries. Bryant, to his credit, has said he will not play despite being thankful to the fans.

The reserve list tends to provide some sanity to the proceedings and this year was no different. Included on that list were Rockets James Harden and Dwight Howard, not surprisingly. Both were called "no brainer" picks by the crew on TNT, who revealed the reserve choices Thursday night during their TNT Tipoff show. This is Howard's eight All-Star selection and Harden's second.

Howard, who had been one of the biggest vote getters for years, was snubbed by fans mainly because of the controversy over his departures in Orlando and LA. But Howard has been outstanding this season and the only Rocket to play in every game. Harden was also deserving for his scoring alone. He is is 7th in the NBA is points per game and second among guards at over 23 points per game.

The pair of Rockets will join starters Stephen Curry, Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Kevin Love, and reserves Chris Paul (who may not play due to injury), Damian Lillard, Tony Parker, LaMarcus Aldridge and Dirk Nowitzki.

The game is being played this year in New Orleans on February 16.

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