Congrats, Steve!!

Nash earns all-star nod
NEW YORK (CP) – Canadian Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns was one of seven reserves named Thursday night to the Western Conference team that will play in the NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 18 in Las Vegas.
The Victoria born player, who will be making his fifth all-star appearance, is averaging 19.6 points and 12 assists per game through 43 games, while shooting 49.6 per cent from three-point range and 87.6 per cent from the free-throw line. Phoenix faced San Antonio at home later Friday.
One bad night may have overshadowed all the good Carmelo Anthony has done this season.
The NBA’s leading scorer was not among the seven reserves announced.
Denver teammate Allen Iverson was chosen, extending his streak of consecutive all-star appearances to eight. He started the last seven games, while playing for Philadelphia. Anthony, who is averaging 31.3 points, but missed 15 games, while suspended for his role in the brawl at Madison Square Garden, was the most obvious omission.
Earlier Thursday, Anthony said that he hoped his suspension wouldn’t prevent him from earning his first all-star spot.
“I hope no one holds that over my head over anything,” he said. “Things happen. One incident like that is held over one person’s head, life ain’t fair.”
“I did my punishment. I could’ve easily kept my name out there by appealing it and doing other stuff about it, but I just did my 15 games suspension and hopefully put that behind us.”
Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion were all chosen from the Phoenix Suns, the league’s highest scoring team. Suns coach Mike D’Antoni will lead the West.
“It will be great to be able to go with our coaches and teammates,” said Nash, the two-time NBA MVP. “It will be great to have them there and have them be recognized, too.”
Stoudemire, averaging 18.6 points and 8.9 rebounds, made it after sitting out most of last season because of knee surgery.
“It was a goal of mine,” he said. “I told you guys that before the season started, back in training camp, that I was planning on making it. So I was really striving for it.”
“The past two years have been tough for me and it’s definitely paid off. There may be people who doubt you, but you can never doubt yourself.”
Dirk Nowitzki was the only player picked from the Dallas Mavericks, who have the league’s best record. The Mavericks had been hoping Josh Howard would be selected as well.
“I think Dallas having the best record and only one guy, I thought that was surprising,” D’Antoni said.
Detroit and New Jersey had multiple reserves picked for the Feb. 18 game. Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton, who both made their first appearances last season, are going back for Detroit, while Jason Kidd and former Toronto Raptor Vince Carter will represent the Nets in the game at University of Nevada-Las Vegas’ Thomas & Mack Center.
“I’m happy that Rip made it, too, because he’s having a career year,” Billups said. “If I only made it, a piece of me would’ve been disappointed. I’ve always felt like we’re a package deal.”
Indiana’s Jermaine O’Neal and first-timers Dwight Howard of Orlando and Caron Butler of Washington round out the East reserves.
The seven reserves were voted on by the head coaches in their respective conferences. Coaches couldn’t vote for their own players, and had to select two forwards, two guards, a centre and two players regardless of their position.
The remainder of the West reserves were San Antonio guard Tony Parker and Utah forward Carlos Boozer.
The starters were announced last Thursday.
Toronto Raptors forward Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade and Gilbert Arenas were picked in the East. Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant were voted in by fans to start for the West.
Anthony still has a chance to play in Las Vegas. NBA commissioner David Stern will choose a replacement for Yao, who is still recovering from a broken bone under his knee, and Boozer also could be unavailable because of a hairline fracture in his left leg.
He’s expected to miss a few weeks, but said Thursday he hopes to return in time for all-star weekend. He doesn’t know when he would need to resume running for that to happen.
“Hopefully if everything works out, it will be right on time,” he said. “I’ll put it like that.”
Anthony and Josh Howard are the most likely replacement choices, but could face competition for those spots from Seattle’s Ray Allen, Portland’s Zach Randolph, the Clippers’ Elton Brand and another Denver player, Marcus Camby.
Stern said that he expected to make his decision in the next few days, and that when doing so he wouldn’t consider the suspension he gave Anthony for the punch the Denver star hit the Knicks’ Mardy Collins with on Dec. 16.
D’Antoni will lead the West squad, because Dallas coach Avery Johnson is ineligible after coaching last season. The same three Suns were chosen as reserves to the 2005 game.
“I’m sure they’ll be out there at some time, but I haven’t thought about it,” D’Antoni said. “I’m thinking about San Antonio and Utah and everyone else in between.”
Washington’s Eddie Jordan is close to clinching the East coaching spot, largely because of the play of Butler. The forward is averaging 20.6 points and 8.0 rebounds, both career highs.
“Coach Jordan gave me more and more freedom and I really thought I had a chance,” Butler said. “I dedicated my time last summer and look what came out of it. I couldn’t be happier with this, but I know there is still work to be done.”
Toronto forwards Andrea Bargnani and Jorge Garbajosa will take part in the rookie challenge on Feb. 16.