Ex-Cats

Anthony Davis named starter for NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2016.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2016. AP

Former University of Kentucky star Anthony Davis will be a starter for the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 19 in New Orleans. It was the second time Davis has been chosen as a starter — the other in 2015 — and it is his fourth straight All-Star selection overall.

Davis told TNT on Thursday night that he’s looking forward to playing in front of his hometown fans in the Smoothie King Center.

“It’s going to feel amazing,” Davis said. “To get to be an ambassador for the city. Two years ago I didn’t get to play (because of injury) when it was actually here in New Orleans. So, hopefully, I can play and don’t get hurt before the All-Star Game, and go out there and put on a show for the city.”

Shaquille O’Neal asked Davis if playing in New Orleans would influence how hard he plays in the game.

“I’m definitely going out to try to get MVP,” Davis said. “Coach (Alvin) Gentry already told me every time I catch it, put it up.”

Stephen Curry (Warriors), Kevin Durant (Warriors), Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) and James Harden (Rockets) were also named starters for the Western Conference.

Eastern Conference All-Star starters include Jimmy Butler (Bulls), LeBron James (Cavaliers), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) and DeMar DeRozan (Raptors).

Going into Thursday night’s games, Davis was third in the league in scoring (28.8), second in blocks (2.43) and sixth in rebounding (12.1). He has 27 double-doubles this season.

The All-Star Game reserves, chosen by league coaches, will be announced on Thursday, Jan. 26. Top candidates among ex-Cats are (statistics and rankings through Wednesday’s games):

▪  John Wall is third in the league in assists (10.2), second in steals (2.23) and 17th in scoring (22.9). Wall has 24 double-doubles.

“They’re going to be what they’re going to be at the end of the day,” Wall told The Washington Post of the voting results. “… So you just sit back and wait your turn.”

▪  DeMarcus Cousins is sixth in the league in scoring (28.0), 12th in rebounding (10.1) and 17th in blocks (1.4). Cousins has 21 double-doubles.

▪  Karl-Anthony Towns is 20th in the league in scoring (22.0), eighth in rebounding (12.0) and 15th in blocks (1.4). He’s also third in double-doubles with 31, including one triple-double.

▪  Devin Booker is 28th in the league in scoring (20.4) and Suns teammate Eric Bledsoe is 30th (20.3). Bledsoe is also 17th in assists (6.0).

Dennis Varney: 859-231-3514, @ExCats

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