Carter moves into top two among East guards in All-Star voting

Dec 28, 2006 - 7:04 PM NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Vince Carter has capitalized on Allen Iverson's move out West.

Carter climbed into the top two among Eastern Conference guards in the second returns of fan All-Star balloting released by the NBA on Thursday.

The New Jersey Nets' leading scorer, Carter trailed Iverson and Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade when the league released the first balloting return two weeks ago.

But Iverson, who was sitting idly on the trading block at the time, has undergone a dramatic change since then. The four-time scoring champion was eliminated from the Eastern ballot after being dealt to the Denver Nuggets on December 20.

Since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976, only one player - Carter, in 2005 - was traded before the All-Star Game and still was voted as a starter. This season's game is February 18 in Las Vegas.

The reigning NBA Finals MVP, Wade has collected 983,321 votes, well ahead of Carter's 726,040. Washington's Gilbert Arenas and New Jersey's Jason Kidd are third and fourth, respectively.

Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James leads all East players with 1,323,989 votes. Toronto power forward Chris Bosh is a distant second with 497,283 and owns a slight advantage over Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal (437,164).

Miami center Shaquille O'Neal, out since November 12 with a knee injury, has received 855,544 votes. Orlando Magic youngster Dwight Howard is second among East centers with 665,434.

Shaquille O'Neal may not be the only center to miss the All-Star Game because of a knee injury.

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming leads the overall balloting with 1,411,923 votes and has a huge advantage over Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire (485,642). But Yao suffered a fracture below his knee against the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday and will be sidelined at least six weeks.

Second among West players is Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant with 1,187,505 votes. He is followed by Houston's Tracy McGrady (1,057,057) and Iverson (975,319).

There is a close race at forward in the West, where Minnesota's Kevin Garnett (785,865), San Antonio's Tim Duncan (715,916) and Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (684,620) are separated by just over 100,000 votes.

Balloting is conducted in arenas, on the league's web site and in several locations in Las Vegas, among other places. It continues through January 15 for paper balloting and January 21 for online balloting.

The starters will be announced January 25 and reserves - selected by coaches in each conference - will be revealed February 1, both on cable network TNT.

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