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Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving named 2021 All-Star starters

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LA Clippers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

For the first time since 1994, the Nets will have two starters in the NBA All-Star Game: Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

Fellow Nets superstar James Harden narrowly missed the cut to join his “Scary Hours” teammates among the Eastern Conference starters, finishing third behind Irving and Wizards superstar Bradley Beal in the guard voting.

“Well deserved and James as well. He’s been unbelievable and we saw that the other night in Phoenix and he’s been brilliant,” Steve Nash said to the media prior to the tip-off of Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. “Kyrie and Kevin have been outstanding and we are appreciative of the vote. Well deserved and exciting time for Nets fans.”

The All-Star Game was officially announced on Thursday morning. As rumored, the game will take place on March 7 in Atlanta and on Thursday evening, the NBA named the starters.

Top fan vote-getters in each conference were named as captains of both All-Star squads, and to the surprise of literally no one, Kevin Durant and LeBron James –– two of the most popular players in the league –– were named as captains, with James receiving 4,369,533 votes and Durant receiving 4,234,433. From there, the next four most-popular players according to fan votes would be named as the remaining starters.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports broke the news about the remaining All-Star headliners. The Western Conference starting lineup will be Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and Nikola Jokic. The Eastern Conference will be Durant, Irving, Bradley Beal, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid.

This is the seventh time Irving has been selected as an NBA All-Star. Irving has had himself a tremendous season full of career-bests, tossing up a career-high 28 points on ridiculous 53.4/44.2/91.8 efficiency. For Kevin Durant, this is All-Star selection No. 11. He, too, is playing out of his mind, dropping a cool 29 points per game on similarly scintillating efficiency: 52.4 percent from the field, 43.4 percent from three, 56.5 percent from two-point land, and 86.9 percent from the charity stripe. Oh, and he’s doing all of this while coming off the most damning injury in sports, the Achilles tendon tear.

This is just the fifth and sixth times in franchise history that a Nets player will start in the All-Star game. Derrick Coleman was a starter in 1994, as was Kenny Anderson that season. Vince Carter started in 2005. Jason Kidd in 2008. It was Kidd’s last appearance as a Net. He was traded during the break to Dallas. And now the 7/11 duo will share the floor as All-Star teammates on March 7.

The game itself will feature some familiar features; the “Elam Ending” that made last year’s All-Star Game so enjoyable will make a return, in which both squads will attempt to reach a final target score of 24 points in honor of the late Kobe Bryant. Some of All-Star Weekend’s most popular events will also be featured; the Dunk Contest will occur at halftime, while the Skills Challenge and the 3-Point Contest will transpire before the tip-off of the actual game.