Howard leads early balloting

NEW YORK -- Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard leads early balloting for the NBA All-Star Game with 775,933 votes and is followed by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers' star, has 719,252 votes and Cleveland's James has 643,786, according to early returns released by the league on Thursday.

Boston's Kevin Garnett trails James among Eastern Conference forwards. Miami's Dwyane Wade leads the guards (623,311) and is followed by Detroit's Allen Iverson.

In the Western Conference, Houston's Yao Ming leads centers with 529,290 votes. Phoenix's Shaquille O'Neal is next with 227,273.

San Antonio's Tim Duncan (442,203) tops Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire among forwards, while New Orleans' Chris Paul trails Bryant among the guards.

Voting runs through Jan. 19. The game will be Feb. 15 in Phoenix.