LeBron James is having an MVP-type season, averaging 25 points a game. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Miami Heat forward LeBron James is leading All-Star balloting after the first returns, and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has received the second-most votes in Western Conference despite playing only twice this season, according to numbers released by the NBA.
Bryant has 501,215 votes, according to the league - the best for a Western Conference backcourt player. Bryant is averaging 14.5 points in the two games he has played since coming back from an eight-month absence because of an Achilles injury.
Indiana Pacers forward Paul George is second in the East balloting for the All-Star Game, which will take place Feb. 16 in New Orleans.
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James is the overall leader with 609,336 votes, while the league's leading scorer, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, is second with 607,407 votes.
James, George (489,335) and the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony (424,211) lead the Eastern Conference’s frontcourt players. Heat guard Dwyane Wade (396,279) is the East’s leading vote-getter in the backcourt, followed by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (365,712).
The frontcourt for the West is followed by Houston Rockets’ Dwight Howard (295,120) and the L.A. Clippers’ Blake Griffin (292,925). Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul (393,313) is behind Bryant in the backcourt.
Balloting ends Jan. 20, and the starters will be announced on Jan. 23.