Iverson Surges to Possible All-Star Spot

Despite playing only 8 games, A.I. is set to start the All-Star game

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    Philadelphia 76ers' Allen Iverson has reason to smile.

    “The Answer” is back in Philadelphia and could be back in the NBA All-Star game.

    Allen 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 was led third-place guard Vince Carter by more than155,000 votes.

    Pretty good for a guy who isn’t even on the Eastern Conference ballot. 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.

    A.I. really hasn’t proved himself to be All-Star worthy since debuting with the Sixers. In eight games with the 76ers he averaged 14.6 points, 4.2 assists and two turnovers in about 30 minutes a night. He also sat out four games with an arthritic knee.

    "The Answer" was leading guys like Joe Johnson and Gilbert Arenas even though those guys -- unlike Iverson -- were averaging more than 20 points a game.

    Iverson wasn’t alone as a guard poised to start in the All-Star Game even if he didn’t have the stats to warrant the selection.

    Tracy 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 were 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.