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James Harden, Klay Thompson named starters for NBA All-Star Game

Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson were named injury replacements for the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson were named Western Conference injury-replacement starters for the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

Harden will replace Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (elbow surgery), while Thompson is getting the start in place of Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (shoulder).

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver is responsible for picking the injury replacements, but the respective Eastern and Western Conference coaches set the starting lineups. Warriors coach Steve Kerr is coaching the Western Conference team.

Entering Wednesday, Harden led the league in scoring (27.7 points per game) to go along his with 6.8 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. The Rockets entered the day 36-16, third in the West.

This will be Harden's third All-Star game, and his second straight start.

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Thompson entered Wednesday 10th in scoring at 22.2 points per game, while also averaging 3.0 assists and 3.4 rebounds per game. He was also tied for fifth in three-point shooting percentage at 44.1 percent.

Sunday will mark Thompson's first All-Star appearance.

Griffin underwent surgery on Monday to address a staph infection in his right elbow. He could be out for two to six weeks. Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was selected to the Western Conference team as his replacement.

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Bryant had season-ending shoulder surgery late last month. He was ruled out for nine months after the successful surgery.

Mike Fiammetta