Allen, Okur get call to replace injured All-Star players

NEW YORK -- Seattle's Ray Allen and Utah's Mehmet Okur were
chosen Tuesday by commissioner David Stern as injury replacements
for the All-Star Game.

Ray Allen Allen

Mehmet Okur Okur

With Steve Nash (shoulder) and Allen Iverson (ankle) both
pulling out of Sunday's game in Las Vegas, the Western Conference
was in need of a guard. Allen is seventh in the league with 26.9
points per game.

Okur's clutch late-game play has helped Utah keep rolling
despite the absence of Carlos Boozer, who was chosen for the
All-Star Game but also was forced to pull out because of a hairline
fracture in his leg. That had left the Jazz, whose 34-17 record is
third-best in the league, without a player in Sunday's game.

Allen is headed to his fourth straight All-Star Game and seventh
overall. Okur is a first-time selection.

"It's always a great honor to represent my team and our city at
the All-Star Game," Allen said. "As an athlete, I cherish these
opportunities to be recognized along with the league's best and to
continue the Sonics' proud All-Star tradition."

Besides Nash, Iverson and Boozer, Yao Ming of Houston also had
to pull out. New Jersey guard Jason Kidd is going to miss the next
two games with a strained lower back, but the Nets didn't say if he
would play Sunday.

Also, the NBA announced that Hornets point guard Chris Paul will
replace Nash in the Skills competition on Saturday night.