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The dunk contest was the only way the Jazz would be sending a power forward to Houston this weekend. While Evans will be throwing down Saturday, two of the guys he backs up were considered fringe candidates to be selected to the Western Conference All-Star team and play in Sunday’s marquee event.
But not this year. Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap had tough company.
"The power forward position in the West could be the toughest way of making an All-Star Game," Golden State forward David Lee said.
He may be right. While Lee, Griffin, Zach Randolph, Dwight Howard, Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge were all named to the team, notable others were left at home — both of the Jazz’s big men (Jefferson is arguably a power forward playing out of position) among them. Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki was not selected for the first time since 2001, and Minnesota’s Kevin Love would be a lock were he not injured.
"Seems like every single night I never really have a night off," Lee said, "even guys that haven’t made the All-Star Game."
Sophomore year, not here
Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin expressed surprise before the Jazz defeated Oklahoma City on Tuesday that neither second-year players Enes Kanter or Alec Burks were selected for the Rising Stars game Friday night.
"I thought they played enough minutes and well enough," Corbin said, "to be considered. I don’t know if they were considered high or low or where those things fell, but I thought they should have been considered for it.
Kanter, the Turkish center, averages 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game, while Burks averages 6.2 points per game. However, Burks’ minutes have increased to 24.9 per game in the 10 contests the Jazz have played without Hayward, and in that time is averaging 9.6 points per game.
Hall of Fame
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced finalists for its 2013 class, which will be finalized and announced in April at the Final Four in Atlanta.
Former All-Star guards Gary Payton, Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond are among the most notable.
Also finalists are former NBA stars Bernard King, Spencer Haywood and Maurice Cheeks. Representing the coaching ranks were Hall of Fame player Tom Heinsohn, Guy Lewis, Jerry Tarkanian, Rick Pitino and North Carolina women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell.
When Lewis, the former University of Houston coach, was announced as a finalist at the mid-day press conference, Hall of Fame guard — and a Phi Slama Jama member on Lewis’s Houston teams — Clyde Drexler stood up from his seat behind the podium to applaud.
But the most memorable moment, however, belonged to former Milwaukee Bucks announcer Eddie Doucette, who will be inducted in September as the winner of the Curt Gowdy Media Award. When interviewed on stage by NBA TV announcer Rick Kamla, Doucette said, "I feel as good as Kate Upton looks."
Upton, the 20-year-old supermodel, is spending her second consecutive spring on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition.
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