McGrady could be starter

NEW YORK -- Back in Philadelphia, Allen Iverson could be back in the All-Star Game.

Tracy McGrady also could have a starting spot -- even though he might not play another game before then.

Iverson surged into second place among Eastern Conference guards Thursday after the third returns of All-Star balloting, putting him in position to make his ninth start. He is more than 155,000 votes ahead of No. 3 Vince Carter or Orlando.

Iverson is listed with the Western Conference guards on the paper ballot, having started the season in Memphis. But his votes count toward the East since rejoining his longtime team on Dec. 3.

McGrady inched back ahead of Steve Nash by 1,005 votes for second among West guards. He played only six games for the Rockets before they decided he would leave the team while exploring a trade for him.

Starters for the Feb. 14 game in Dallas will be announced Jan. 21.

The other players on track to start are more predictable -- and more deserving. LeBron James and Kevin Garnett lead East forwards, Dwight Howard is tops among East centers and Dwyane Wade is the No. 1 East guard.

Kobe Bryant, who won his third All-Star MVP last year, is the overall leading vote-getter. Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki are the leaders at West forward and Amare Stoudemire at center.