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The Sports Xchange, Published January 09 2014

James, Durant lead NBA All-Star balloting

LeBron James of the Miami Heat and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder lead their respective conferences, and are separated by only 21,854 votes, after the third returns of the NBA All-Star balloting.

James, the top overall vote-getter with 1,076,063 votes, is followed in the Eastern Conference by the Indiana Pacers' Paul George. Durant (1,054,209) is followed in the Western Conference by the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant.

The 63rd NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans Arena will be on Sunday, Feb. 16.

James, George (899,671) and the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (702,869) pace the Eastern Conference's frontcourt players. The Heat's Dwyane Wade (718,109) and the Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving (652,522) lead Eastern Conference backcourt players.

Durant is joined in the frontcourt in the West by the Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard (509,116) and the Los Angeles Clippers' Blake Griffin (500,964), with the Minnesota Timberwolves' Kevin Love (483,031) making a strong push for a starting spot. Bryant (844,538) and the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry (677,372) pace all Western Conference backcourt players.

Balloting concludes on Monday, Jan. 20, and starters will be announced live on TNT on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 6 p.m.