Starters will be announced Feb. 3

Updated: February 17, 2005, 9:12 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Yao Ming leads Shaquille O'Neal by more than 50,000 votes in the race for the No. 1 overall spot in the final days of NBA All-Star balloting.

Yao Ming
Center
Houston Rockets
Profile
2004-2005 SEASON STATISTICS
GM PPG RPG APG FG% FT%
38 18.1 8.3 0.8 .516 .781

With voting closing Sunday, Houston Rockets center Yao had 2,153,039 votes, while the Miami Heat's O'Neal topped the Eastern Conference with 2,099,201.

The closest race for a starting spot through Thursday was for the second forward spot in the East. New Jersey's Vince Carter had 1,505,169 votes, followed by Orlando's Grant Hill with 1,273,846 and Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal with 1,167,698.

The All-Star starters will be announced Feb. 3. The game is Feb. 20 in Denver.

Minnesota's Kevin Garnett, the reigning league MVP, is third overall, leading West forwards with 1,755,124 votes, followed by San Antonio's Tim Duncan (1,446,824).

Yao's teammate Tracy McGrady leads West guards with 1,688,159 votes, and Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant is next with 1,551,177.

In the East, Cleveland's LeBron James (1,351,369) edged back ahead of Philadelphia's Allen Iverson (1,341,824) among guards.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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