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LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo lead 2023 NBA All-Star Game votes

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Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks lead the third and final round of the 2023 NBA All-Star Game vote count. James has received 6,506,682 votes, whereas Antetokounmpo’s count is 5,970,196.

Both fan favorites lead their respective conferences. For the Western Conference frontcourt selections, Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets trails James with 4,718,218 total votes. Anthony Davis ranks third with 3,838,171 votes. For the Eastern Conference frontcourt, Kevin Durant ranks second behind Antetokounmpo with 5,838,182.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, LeBron James is not a top candidate to win MVP this season. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo possesses the fifth-bests odds, ranking below Jokic, Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum, and Joel Embiid.

Through 35 starts this season, LeBron James is averaging 29.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. The soon to be 19-time All-Star is also shooting 50.9% from the floor and 29% from 3-point range.

On Jan. 16, in the Lakers’ 140-132 win over the Houston Rockets, the 38-year-old logged a season-high 48 points in 36 minutes of action. In addition to recording eight boards and nine assists, James shot 16-of-26 (61.5%) from the field and 5-of-10 (50%) beyond the arc.

Lakers superstar LeBron James, MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo of Bucks lead the 2023 NBA All-Star Game vote count

While James’ performances this season are not his best, the four-time NBA champ is still the most popular player in the league today. During the second half of the 2021-22 season, the Lakers forward outsold James Harden and Stephen Curry in jersey sales. Win or lose, his impact on the game is duly noted.

Last season, in 37 minutes on the court, LeBron James posted 24 points, six boards, eight assists, three steals, and one block in the 2022 NBA All-Star Game. Curry won his first All-Star Game MVP award after dropping a dazzling 50 burger on 56.7% shooting.

Equally important, Giannis Antetokounmpo is averaging a career-high 31 points per game, along with 11.9 rebounds, and 5.3 assists through 35 starts. The six-time All-NBA member is shooting 52.4% from the floor and 65.3% at the foul line. Not to mention, he’s averaging a career-best usage percentage of 38.2%.

In Milwaukee’s 123-113 win against the Washington Wizards on Jan. 3, the Greek Freak scored a career-best 55 points in 37 minutes played. He shot 20-of-33 (60.6%) from the field and 15-of-16 (93.8%) at the free throw line. LeBron James and the 10-year veteran are carrying their teams.

Now, Antetokounmpo is aiming to earn his seventh consecutive All-Star Game selection as a starter. In the 2022 NBA All-Star Game, the Bucks forward finished with 30 points, 12 boards, six assists, three steals, and one block in less than 27 minutes. At the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, he scored an All-Star Game career-high 38 points.

Fan voting for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game closes on Saturday, Jan. 21 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Of course, the All-Star Game is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 19 at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The tip-off time has not yet been announced.





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With Lakers Having Interest, Fred VanVleet Is Expected To Sign With Klutch Sports

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Despite some bumps along the road so far for the Laker, they are still in solid contention to have a nice second half of the season. Anthony Davis has finally returned to the lineup and the Lakers are only 2.5 games out of eighth in the West. They made the first big trade of the offseason signing Rui Hachimura from the Wizards and they might not be done just yet. Raptors guard Fred VanVleet is expected to sign with Klutch Sports and that brings along interest from the LA Lakers. 

VanVleet halted offseason negotiations with the Raptors and did not sign and extension. With the way the season is going for the Raptors, almost all of their star players are up for grabs if the trade is right. That includes one-time all-star Fred VanVleet.

California Sports Betting sites have the Lakers at (+2000) to win the Finals this season.

Fred VanVleet could gain interest from the Lakers if he signs with Klutch Sports

According to NBA insider Marc Stein, VanVleet is reportedly going to sign with Klutch Sports. Which also happens to be LeBron James’ agency. Easy to connect the dots there. Here’s what Stein had to say about the Lakers potentially trading for the Raptors SG.

 “My pal and podcast partner Mr. Haynes reported earlier this week via Bleacher Report that VanVleet was in the process of hiring new agents in advance of free agency, with the seventh-year guard poised to become an unrestricted free agent unless he and the Raptors hash out a contract extension.” – Marc Stein

In 40 games played this season, VanVleet is averaging (19.1) points, (4.3) rebounds, (6.3) assists, and (1.6) steals per game. The NBA champ knows what he can do well in this league and that is score. He hasn’t averaged less than 19 points in a season over the last three years.

One thing the Lakers are in need of is a consistent shooter and VanVleet could easily fill that role. Besides Lonnie Walker IV or Austin Reaves, VanVleet would possibly be in contention for the best shooter on the team. His field-goal and three-point percentage are down this season, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t be effective in other ways.





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Kyrie Irving first Nets player with 30 points, five assists in five straight games in NBA season

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Kyrie Irving is the first Brooklyn Nets player with 30 points and five assists in five straight games in a single NBA season. The eight-time All-Star is the first Net with such a streak since Stephon Marbury accomplished the same feat while playing for the New Jersey Nets from April 30 to Nov. 2, 1999.

Irving set this record in Brooklyn’s 130-122 loss against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night. The 12-year veteran ended his outing with 40 points, five rebounds, six assists, two steals, and two blocks in 39 minutes of action. Plus, he shot 14-of-27 (51.9%) from the floor and 6-of-12 (50%) outside the arc.

Per a few NBA betting sites, Kyrie Irving and the Nets have third-shortest odds to win the championship. Some sportsbooks are giving the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks better odds.

Additionally, Kyrie Irving joined Marbury, John Williamson, and Kevin Durant as the only Nets players to record 30-plus points in five consecutive games in franchise history. Durant logged 30 or more points in five straight contests from Dec. 10 to Dec. 30, 2021.

However, Brooklyn’s loss overshadowed Irving’s historical night. Detroit outscored the Nets 43-31 on 65% shooting in the third quarter. Saddiq Bey led the Pistons in scoring with 25 points. It was Detroit’s first win in Brooklyn since April 1, 2018. Brooklyn has now lost back-to-back games. The Nets are 4-6 in their last 10 contests.

Kyrie Irving joins Stephon Marbury, John Williamson, and Kevin Durant as the only Nets players to record 30 or more points in five consecutive games in franchise history

“They have a tendency to come out in the third quarter and try to win that,” the Nets guard said afterwards. “We came out and we were flat. When you do that and you are reacting to everything, every possession, it makes it difficult.”

Moreover, Kyrie Irving logged 30-plus points in five straight games with the Celtics in March 2019. Through 37 starts this season, the Nets guard is averaging 27.2 points, 5.1 boards, 5.2 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. He’s also shooting 48.8% from the field and 37.6% from 3-point range.

In other news, Kyrie Irving was named starter for the 2023 NBA All-Star Game on Friday. “I’m just grateful for the people at home. I would not be here without y’all. Y’all voted me in, and I’m ready to give a show,” the 30-year-old said.

Last Friday, Brooklyn’s 117-106 win versus the Utah Jazz, the 2016 NBA champ scored a season-high 48 points in 39 minutes played. Along with amassing 11 rebounds, six assists, and four steals, Irving 18-of-29 (62.1%) from the floor and 8-of-15 (53.3%) beyond the arc.





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LeBron James earns 19th straight All-Star selection, breaks tie with Kobe Bryant for longest streak

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LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers earned his 19th straight All-Star selection in his 20th season, breaking a tie with Kobe Bryant for the longest streak in NBA history. Of course, the four-time MVP did not receive an All-Star selection in his 2003-04 rookie season.

Not many players were selected to the All-Star Game in their first season. However, names that come to mind include Michael Jordan (1985), Hakeen Olajuwon (1985), Patrick Ewing (1986), David Robinson (1990), Shaquille O’Neal (1993), Tim Duncan (1998), Yao Ming (2003), and Blake Griffin (2011).

According to a few NBA betting sites, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers possess 10th-best odds to win the championship. Multiple sportsbooks are showing greater odds for the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies.

Additionally, with a 19th selection, LeBron James has now matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most All-Star appearances. James also has 38,230 career points, ranking second all time. The Lakers superstar needs 158 points to pass Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) to become the NBA’s all-time scoring leader.

On Friday, James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were named captains for next month’s 2023 NBA All-Star Game at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The four-time NBA champ has now been a captain each of the six years the league has allowed captains to draft their individual teams.

LeBron James receives 19th straight All-Star selection, ties Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for most appearances and breaks a tie with Kobe Bryant for the longest streak in NBA history

For the first time, the NBA All-Star Draft will take place right before the game. TNT will air the 2023 NBA All-Star Game Draft as a new, live pregame segment on Sunday, Feb. 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Will LeBron James win his third All-Star Game MVP award next month? While with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2006, he won his first All-Star Game MVP award after recording 29 points, six boards, two assists, and two steals in 31 minutes played. James then went on to win two more awards in 2008 and 2018.

Through 39 starts this season, LeBron James is averaging 29.9 points, 8.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 1.0 steal per game. Plus, he’s shooting 50.7% from the floor and 30.4% beyond the arc.

Furthermore, in the Lakers’ 140-132 win over the Houston Rockets on Jan. 16, the 18-time All-NBA member logged a season-high 48 points in 36 minutes of action. He finished 16-of-26 (61.5%) shooting from the field and knocked down five 3-pointers.





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