Anthony, Howard named injury replacements for West

NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony is going to the All-Star Game after all.

The NBA's leading scorer was picked by commissioner David Stern on Friday as an injury replacement and will make his first All-Star Game appearance Feb. 18 in Las Vegas.

Anthony said he was not bothered being named as an injury replacement.

"It's still the All-Star Game, it still feels great, and I'm going to make the best out of it."

Stern also added Dallas forward Josh Howard to the Western
Conference team. He needed to replace Houston center Yao Ming and
Utah forward Carlos Boozer, who will be unable to play because of

Anthony averages an NBA-high 30.8 points, but wasn't voted in by the fans and then wasn't chosen as a reserve by West coaches. He was undoubtedly hurt by missing 15 games when Stern suspended him for his role in the brawl at Madison Square Garden in December.

"I was remaining optimistic a little bit," Anthony said. "I wish it would have happened earlier. I didn't want to think about it that much, but I'm glad it happened. It's an honor."

Stern had said he would not consider Anthony's penalty when deciding whether to consider him for a replacement spot.

"I guess it's a forgive and forget type of situation," Anthony said. "I'm glad he did."

Howard also is a first-time All-Star, giving the team with the NBA's best record two players in the game. Phoenix and San Antonio, the Mavericks' closest pursuers, each have multiple All-Stars. Howard is averaging 19.6 points and 7.3 rebounds.

"It was a good opportunity, but you never know," Howard said. "Luckily the commissioner picked me along with Carmelo, so I just
got to go out there and represent the Western Conference."

Stern may still have one more pick to make. Denver's Allen Iverson, bothered by a sprained ankle, has talked recently of skipping the game if necessary. Seattle's Ray Allen or Utah's Deron Williams would be the likely candidates if another guard is needed.

Allen said he is still hopeful of snagging a late invitation as a possible injury replacement.

"Does it mean anything different from a predated? Exactly," Allen said. "I wouldn't take it as an insult. The guys chosen for the team always deserve to be on the team.

"There's just so many. We've talked [before] about them even expanding the roster, because we have so many players in the league now, so many teams."

West coach Mike D'Antoni of Phoenix will choose the replacement for Yao in the West starting lineup.