NEW YORK — Blake Griffin is going to his first All-Star game, and Kevin Garnett matched an NBA record with his 14th straight selection as one of a record-tying four Boston Celtics headed for the midseason event.
Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen will accompany Garnett, who equaled Jerry West, Shaquille O’Neal and Karl Malone for the most consecutive selections. The Celtics joined the 2006 Detroit Pistons as the only teams to have four players picked as reserves by the coaches.
Griffin, the Rookie of the Year favorite of the Clippers, will be playing on his home floor in the Feb. 20 game at Staples Center. Joining him on the Western Conference team were Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili of the NBA-leading Spurs; forwards Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas and Pau Gasol of the Lakers; and guards Deron Williams of Utah and Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City, who joins Griffin as the lone first-time selections.
Chris Bosh will go to Los Angeles with Miami teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who were elected as starters. The other East reserves picked Thursday were Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and Al Horford.
The reserves were selected in voting by the head coaches in each conference, who had to vote for two forwards, two guards, a center and two players regardless of position.
They went for the winning teams in the East, whose reserves are represented by just three teams.
The voting was much more difficult in the West, where coaches bypassed the likes of Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Zach Randolph and Lamar Odom at the forward spot.
Tony Parker missed out despite being the second-leading scorer on the Spurs, who entered play Thursday with a 40-8 record. Veteran Steve Nash of the Suns and the Warriors’ Monta Ellis, the league’s sixth-leading scorer, all fell short.
The starters were chosen by fan voting and announced last week. Orlando’s Dwight Howard, Chicago’s Derrick Rose and Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire are the other East starters, while the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Hornets guard Chris Paul, forwards Carmelo Anthony of Denver and Kevin Durant of Oklahoma City, and Houston center Yao Ming were the winners from the West.
Yao is injured and Commissioner David Stern will choose a replacement. That gives another chance to Love, who is averaging 21.4 points and a league-best 15.5 rebounds, and shooting 43.9 percent from 3-point range. He has 34 straight double-doubles, but was undoubtedly hurt by his Minnesota Timberwolves’ 11-37 record.
But the coaches couldn’t overlook Griffin, even though the Clippers are also below .500. The No. 1 pick in the 2009 draft has been spectacular after sitting out last season following knee surgery, averaging 23 points and 12.7 rebounds while compiling a half season of highlights with his array of dunks.