Saturday, February 09, 2002

NBA All-Star game loses stars, and some luster

Baron Davis added to squad

The Associated Press

        PHILADELPHIA — Former Los Angeles Lakers wannabe Chris Webber was looking forward to playing with Shaquille O'Neal in Sunday's All-Star game. Instead, he'll be taking O'Neal's place in the starting lineup.

        “To have Shaq as a teammate would be awesome,” Webber said. “I've never in my life had a big dominant center that would rebound more than me or block shots more than me.”

        Potential for great partnerships and matchups was dwindling fast Friday as the All-Stars arrived in town for an event that has lost some of its luster. The newest addition was Charlotte's Baron Davis, whose bags were packed for a trip to Los Angeles before he learned at midnight Thursday that he would take Vince Carter's place on the East roster.

        “I was excited — how would you take it?” said Davis, who'll be making his All-Star game debut. “Man, that was a like a dream come true. This is like a whole 'nother level.”

        Carter strained his left quadriceps Thursday in Toronto's game against San Antonio, and O'Neal is battling arthritis in his right big toe. That knocked out the top two vote-getters in the fan balloting and prompted the West's Kevin Garnett to devise his own strategy for avoiding the run of injuries. “I plan on sitting in my room,” Garnett said. “If I get hurt in my room, so be it.”

        West coach Don Nelson chose Webber to replace O'Neal as a starter, with Elton Brand added to the roster. East coach Byron Scott picked Jason Kidd, his point guard on the Nets, to start for Carter.

        SUNS: Point guard Stephon Marbury was arrested Friday on a charge of driving under the influence after an officer saw his car weaving on the road. An officer started following Marbury because he appeared to be speeding, then watched as the car began moving in and out of its lane, Scottsdale police spokesman said.

        Marbury was clocked at 75 mph in a 50 mph zone and pulled over, Reed said. Marbury's speech was slurred and his breath smelled like alcohol, police said.

        A portable breath test indicated Marbury had a blood alcohol level of .153, the police said. The legal limit for driving in Arizona is 0.08. A blood test will also be conducted.


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