The NBA All-Star reserves were announced on Thursday, with Ben Simmons and Anthony Davis leading the list.

While the starters were selected by a collection of fan, player and media voting, the reserves are picked by the coaches.

Each coach had to make two backcourt, three frontcourt and two wild-card selections and the Philadelphia 76ers' Simmons and New Orleans Pelicans star Davis were among them.

Here is the list of all of the players selected:

Eastern Conference

– Victor Oladipo (2nd selection)
– Kyle Lowry (5th selection)
– Blake Griffin (6th selection)
– Khris Middleton (1st selection)
– Ben Simmons (1st selection)
– Bradley Beal (2nd selection)
– Nikola Vucevic (1st selection)

Middleton's selection gives the Milwaukee Bucks their first season with multiple selections since 2000-01 (Ray Allen, Glenn Robinson).

Simmons' selection gives the 76ers their first season with multiple All-Stars since 2001-02 (Allen Iverson, Dikembe Mutombo).

Western Conference

– Russell Westbrook (8th selection)
– Anthony Davis (6th selection)
– Nikola Jokic (1st selection)
– Damian Lillard (4th selection)
– Klay Thompson (5th selection)
– LaMarcus Aldridge (7th selection)
– Karl-Anthony Towns (2nd selection)

Starters for the NBA All-Star Game on February 17 at the Spectrum were announced last week:

– LeBron James (4,062,089 votes)*
– Giannis Antetokounmpo (4,375,747)*
– Kyrie Irving (3,881,766)
– Stephen Curry (3,861,038)
– Kawhi Leonard (3,580,531)
– Kevin Durant (3,150,648)
– Paul George (3,122,346)
– James Harden (2,905,488)
– Joel Embiid (2,783,833)
– Kemba Walker (1,395,330)

*Captains

Teams will be picked on February 7.

LeBron James is nearing a return to action but is unlikely to play when the Los Angeles Lakers face the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday.

James has not featured since suffering a groin injury in the Lakers' win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, missing his team's last 17 games.

The Lakers are 6-11 in his absence and have fallen down to ninth spot in the Western Conference standings, two games behind the Clippers ahead of the meeting between the teams.

However, the three-time NBA champion participated in the scrimmage portion of Wednesday's practice and will be evaluated again before Thursday, though he is officially ruled as "out" for now.

Head coach Luke Walton expects James to miss the Lakers' next game, meaning he could instead make his comeback against the Warriors on Saturday.

"He looked good today," Walton told the media after practice. "He did everything that we had on the schedule.

"He looked good two days ago in practice [too], so we'll see how he feels tomorrow. We'll take it from there. We'll keep prepping as if he's not going to play, and hope that he's healthy enough to start."

The Los Angeles Lakers will wait to see how LeBron James feels on the day of the Los Angeles Clippers game before determining if he can return, head coach Luke Walton has said.

James has not featured since the Christmas Day win over the Golden State Warriors but the Lakers superstar took part in full-contact scrimmages on Monday.

He was only able to watch from courtside as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Lakers 121-105 on Tuesday, though reports have suggested four-time MVP James could be back on the court to face the Clippers on Thursday.

However, Walton insisted the team will make a last assessment on James.

Asked whether he was viewing Wednesday's practice as a final test for James, Walton told reporters: "No, we're looking at it as we're going to practice again.

"We'll do some full-court scrimmaging again, see how he feels.

"No matter what happens, the decision won't be made tomorrow [Wednesday]. It will be about how he feels later that night and into what he feels like the next day when he wakes up, more importantly.

"So, not a final test, just another day of seeing if he's ready yet."

LeBron James continues to make progress towards returning to the court, participating in full contact scrimmages on Monday for the first time since straining his groin in December.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is one step closer to returning to the court after participating in contact practice.

James was involved in full-contact defensive drills for the first time on Saturday since going down with a groin injury against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.

The three-time NBA champion did not participate in the team's Saturday scrimmage, but head coach Luke Walton had good things to say about how the 34-year-old looked.

"It was the first time he's been out there in the part of practice that involved that type of movement," Walton said. "He looked good. He's still really good at basketball, in case you guys were wondering."

James originally suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Lakers' win over the Warriors in December.

He met with trainers on the court, appeared to tell them he "felt it pop" and then went to the locker room without assistance.

James underwent an MRI the following day and said on Twitter he "dodged a bullet". But, he has missed the Lakers' last 15 games.

The Lakers (25-24) signed James to a four-year, $153.3million contract in July.

James is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this season.

LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will serve as captains for their respective Western Conference and Eastern Conference in the upcoming NBA All-Star game.

The NBA named the starters on Thursday, and there were no surprises as Los Angeles Lakers superstar James topped the voting in the west ahead of the February 17 All-Star clash in Charlotte.

Joining James as starters selected from the Western Conference are Golden State Warriors pair Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, Houston Rockets star and reigning MVP James Harden.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George won a tie-breaker over the New Orleans Pelicans' Anthony Davis.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Antetokounmpo was the leading vote-getter in the Eastern Conference, which includes the Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving and Charlotte Hornets star Kemba Walker.

The starters were voted in by averaging votes cast by fans, players and a media panel.

James and Antetokounmpo will choose their respective teams from the eight remaining starters, and then a total of 14 additional reserves (seven from each conference, as selected by NBA head coaches) will then be chosen.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is still not ready to return.

LeBron James is unlikely to return for the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, but Rajon Rondo could be back to help Luke Walton's depleted side.

Superstar James has missed 14 games since straining his left groin on December 25, with the Lakers going 5-9 since he and Rondo were injured.

Head coach Walton says James is making progress but does not foresee him taking to the court against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

"I haven't seen him do contact yet, so I don't feel as confident," Walton said after Monday's 130-111 loss to the Golden State Warriors. 

"But I know you know how serious he is about his rehab. So he's doing everything possible and we've talked. 

"I know he's dying to get back on the basketball court, but he also knows that getting healthy is the top priority. 

"So whenever that day comes, he'll be back out there."

Rondo has also missed 14 games since having surgery to repair a ligament in his right ring finger

"I think Rondo will play Thursday as long as he continues to move with no setbacks until then, but that will be something that we'll keep pushing him and we'll re-evaluate each morning," Walton added.

With Lonzo Ball also out for four to six weeks with a sprained ankle, Brandon Ingram started at point guard and had three assists but also two turnovers against the Warriors.

Speaking after the game, Ingram said he was was eager to see Rondo's impact - beyond his 8.4 points, 6.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds in only 14 of the Lakers' 48 games this season.

"It gives us a leader, a leader on the basketball floor," Ingram said of Rondo. "It puts us in our spots on the offensive end. Pushes the pace, he can score the basketball. And it just makes our team better."

After being outclassed by Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open quarter-finals, Frances Tiafoe has his sights set on a meeting with NBA legend LeBron James.

The 21-year-old, unseeded at Melbourne Park, had never before been beyond the third round of a grand slam and defeating 17-time major champion Nadal proved too tall a task on Tuesday.

Nadal eased into a semi-final clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas courtesy of a routine 6-3 6-4 6-2 success on Rod Laver Arena as Tiafoe had no answer to the relentless Spaniard.

After wins over Kevin Anderson and Andreas Seppi en route to the last eight, Tiafoe imitated James' famed 'Silencer' celebration and the world number 39 was asked if he thought his run to the quarters would boost his chances of meeting the Los Angeles Lakers superstar.

"Man, forget about the slam. I thought once I had the celebration the first couple times, I thought I was going to get a meeting with him," Tiafoe told a news conference.

"I would love to meet him one day. That would mean the world to me.

"I think just kind of talk, pick his brain, see everything he's accomplished, just on and off court, to be just half the guy he is would be unbelievable. I look up to him with everything. He's a true role model."

Tiafoe was subsequently asked if James had messaged him following those copy-cat celebrations, to which he replied: "No, if he texted me, I wouldn't be here right now. I'd be FaceTiming him, if he had my number.

"Just the Instagram comment. Yeah, 'the silencer', that's all he said. That's it."

Lonzo Ball is set for a spell on the sidelines after injuring his ankle on Saturday, yet Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton insists it will not cause him to rush back LeBron James or Rajon Rondo.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton has one very important goal against the Houston Rockets, keep MVP contender James Harden under 50 points.

Reigning NBA MVP Harden has scored 57 and 58 points in his last two games at the Toyota Center.

Harden is averaging an NBA-best 35.4 points and has scored 30-plus in 18 consecutive contests.

The Rockets have gone 13-5 during that stretch while Harden has engineered three 50-point games and eight 40-point games.

Los Angeles are hoping to extend their two-game winning streak when they face the Rockets on Saturday and Walton singled out the threat of Harden.

"If we can keep him anything under 50, we feel like we've succeeded as a group," Walton said jokingly. "If he scores over 50, then the game plan did not work."

Walton added: "He's going to get fouls, he's going to get three-point shots, he's going to score.

"He's on an unbelievable tear right now. We just got to keep fighting and playing through all of it."

Los Angeles (25-21) are looking for their first three-game winning streak of the new year.

The last time the Lakers had a three-plus game win streak was the end of November.

They will continue to play without superstar LeBron James (groin) for the foreseeable future.

The timetable for his return is unclear and according to a recent interview with James' agent, he will not rush his comeback.

NBA referee Tom Washington conceded officials were wrong to award the Oklahoma City Thunder three free throws following Lonzo Ball's late foul after LeBron James had criticised the initial decision.

With his team winning 122-119 with less than five seconds to play, Lakers guard Ball reached in and fouled Thunder star Russell Westbrook. 

The referees ruled Westbrook was in the shooting motion, which gave him three free throws.

Westbrook made all three shots, sending the game to overtime, with the Lakers going on to win the game 138-128.

However, Washington explained afterwards that the call on Ball was wrong.

"The official called the foul because at the time he thought Russell had started his shooting motion and he was clearly behind the three-point line and there was illegal contact by Ball," he explained.

"There is not a trigger to review whether or not there is a foul prior to or on the shot.

"The trigger would be whether or not it is a three-point shot or not. And upon being able to see the review of the play, we realised that the illegal contact actually happened prior to his upward motion, so it should have been a side-out."

James had expressed his disbelief at the call on Twitter.

"So what really is 'in the shooting motion' rule?!?!?" James asked. "Asking for a friend @OfficialNBARefs."

This was a week filled with words.

In Boston, there was a request for forgiveness.

In Chicago, there were words of anger.

And in Alabama, there were words of thanks.

There was also a goodbye in 'Bama where a quarterback decided to move on.

Here is what's happening this week in U.S. Sports.

 

1. Kyrie Irving apologises to LeBron James

This one was a long time coming.

Kyrie Irving apologised to LeBron James over the weekend for being a young player who wanted everything at his fingertips while the pair were at the Cleveland Cavaliers. He came to the realisation he needed to call James and apologise after his public callout of his Boston Celtics did not strike the right tone.

"Going forward, I want to test these young guys, but I can't be a bully like that," Irving told reporters. "I want to get the best out of them, but I can't do it personally like that. That was a learning experience for me of being in this position of really realising the magnitude of my voice and what I really mean to these guys. I want to see them do well and do that where I empower them."

 

2. Those are fighting words

Manny Machado's free agency is getting contentious.

Details are starting to surface about an offer the Chicago White Sox made to the four-time All-Star with some saying the deal is for eight years and in the $200-plus million range while another came out Wednesday saying the offer was for seven years and $175m.

The second report did not go over well with Machado's agent Dan Lozano, who called the news "completely wrong".

"The absence of new information to report is no excuse to fabricate 'news' or regurgitate falsehoods without even attempting to confirm their validity and it is a disservice to baseball fans everywhere when the media does just that," Lozano wrote in a statement.

LeBron James will return to full practice next week, but will miss the Los Angeles Lakers' upcoming games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.

The 34-year-old superstar, who has not played since straining his groin against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, had his injury re-evaluated on Wednesday, having missed his side's last 11 contests.

He will not travel with the Lakers for their fixtures against Western Conference rivals the Thunder and Rockets on Thursday and Saturday respectively.

Games against the Warriors, Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns follow next week, though James' availability for those matches remains uncertain after the Lakers' update did not specify how quickly he would be back after returning to the practice court.

He had participated in half-court shooting and passing drills during the Lakers’ shootaround on Tuesday and head coach Luke Walton spoke of his optimism over how quickly his key player would make his comeback.

"James, who will not travel with the team on the upcoming two-game road trip, has been cleared to return to practice commencing next week, and progress towards a return to game play thereafter," read a Lakers statement after his re-evaluation.

The Lakers' update came after his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, stressed James would not rush his recovery, telling The Athletic: "However long it takes, it takes. We're not on nobody else's timeline." 

The Lakers (24-21) are 4-7 without James and have slid to eighth in the Western Conference standings.

He underwent an MRI the day after the injury and revealed on Twitter he "dodged a bullet", but he will now take his total of missed games to 13, tying the most he has ever missed in any season of his NBA career, and the most he has ever missed consecutively, per ESPN.

James had played in 156 consecutive matches prior to suffering the problem in his left groin.

Los Angeles signed James to a four-year, $153.3 million contract in July. He is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this season.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James continues to take steps towards returning to the court.

The 34-year-old, who has not played since straining his groin on December 25, participated in half-court shooting and passing drills during the Lakers' shootaround on Tuesday. He is set to be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

Lakers coach Luke Walton said he thinks the team will hear positive news after James is re-examined.

"I'm optimistic about life," Walton said, via ESPN. "So yes, that would be covered in that … I think we'll get good news back."

Walton said he was "encouraged" by James' participation in some parts of Tuesday's workout.

"[James] does a lot of [running] when we're not here," Walton said. "I don't know the [exact] amount of running he's doing. I just know he seems to be in good spirits. He's got another test tomorrow to get some more information on it."

James originally suffered the injury in the third quarter of the Lakers' win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day. He met with trainers on the court, appeared to tell them he "felt it pop" and then headed to the locker room without assistance.

James underwent an MRI the following day and wrote on Twitter he "dodged a bullet". But, he has missed the Lakers' last 10 games. Los Angeles have tallied a 3-7 record in his absence.

Los Angeles signed James to a four-year, $153.3million contract in July. He is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this season.

The Lakers will host the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday. They will enter that matchup with a 23-21 record and on a two-game losing streak.

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