OAKLAND, CALIF. – Forty percent of the Western Conference’s starting lineup took the floor Friday when the Timberwolves played Golden State at Oracle Arena, and the two-fifths of that lineup present were 100 percent unified in describing their feelings about being chosen as an All-Star starter:
Both Wolves two-time All-Star Kevin Love and Golden State’s first-timer Stephen Curry used that word after fans voted them first-time starters.
Curry’s dad, Dell, played 16 NBA seasons but never played in an All-Star Game, although he did participate in All-Star weekend’s three-point shooting contest while his young son followed along a couple times.
“I grew up watching my dad and the NBA would be on in our household,” Curry said. “Every February, we watched the All-Star Game. I’ve been to a few as a kid. I understand how big a deal it is to be selected on the team and how different a feeling it is from last year.”
Curry hoped he would be chosen as a reserve by West coaches, who picked teammate David Lee instead last year. This time, Curry won’t have to go through that wait, not after he was one of four NBA players who received more than 1 million votes.
He moved past Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul into the second starting spot behind injured Kobe Bryant due partly to Chinese voters. The Warriors played there in October and the Warriors wisely asked Curry to do a 30-minute chat on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
And the votes came rolling in.
“To get over a million votes is just crazy,” Curry said. “I was fortunate to go to China and get some exposure over there.”
Love said he and the Wolves should have thought of that.
“And I have a shoe contract with a Chinese company,” he said.
Like Curry did with dad Dell, Love’s first phone call Thursday after he learned he would be an All-Star starter was to his father, Stan.
“Has been each of the first three times,” Love said, referring to making his third All-Star Game. “He was the one who put the ball in my hands at an early age and he’s always the first call. He kind of had to clear his throat a couple of times. He was pretty happy. A proud father, I guess.”
Who’s that masked man?
Alexey Shved wore a clear facemask Friday to protect the nose he fractured in Tuesday’s game at Utah.
Shved has broken his nose twice before — the last time 10 years ago — but didn’t wear a mask after doing so either of those times. He said he’ll wear the mask for the next three weeks.
“It feels not bad,” Shved said. “It’s better so I can play. It’s much better for me because I didn’t want to miss the games. I feel really good. I don’t feel the pain.”