Los Angeles Clippers' J.J. Redick (4) and Houston Rockets' Dwight Howard, right, grapple for the ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

[Sporting News]

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Howard was beaten out for a Western Conference starting role by a late push from Timberwolves forward Kevin Love, who trailed Howard by 26,000 votes after the third returns of fan balloting. Love wound up edging Howard by just 8,000 votes.

Howard has long been popular with fans, but after a disastrous departure from Orlando and a miserable season with the Lakers, that goodwill has eroded. The NBA also changed its balloting procedures before last season, allowing three forwards to be chosen, instead of two forwards and a center. That hurt Howard’s chances. He led the NBA in All-Star fan votes in 2009 (topping 3 million voted) and 2012, but received just 653,000 votes this year.

Love joins a frontcourt of Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant, who, along with first-time All-Star Stephen Curry, are marking a changing of the guard out West. Those four are all 25 years old or younger (Griffin is 24), and were drafted from 2007 on.


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