NEW YORK (AP) -Tim Duncan is in an ideal position to earn his ninth consecutive All-Star start.
The San Antonio Spurs star was leading all Western Conference forwards when the fourth and final voting update for the NBA All-Star game was released Thursday. Voting will continue through Jan. 20 and the starters will be announced Jan. 24.
The NBA shifted Duncan from center to forward on its ballot in November after the seven-member media panel that selected the players for the original list had Duncan as a center. Duncan, who has always been listed as a forward, was voted to start for the West each of the last eight seasons, but that streak would have been in jeopardy if he was a center.
Houston center Yao Ming gets overwhelming support from China and has been elected to start every year of his career.
Duncan (1,246,125 votes) and Denver's Carmelo Anthony (1,218,106) lead the West forwards this season, with Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki in third at 946,421 votes.
Yao (1,255,263), Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (1,441,333) and Houston's Tracy McGrady (907,639) are on pace to join Duncan and Anthony in the West lineup.
Eastern Conference forwards Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers remain the top two vote-getters for the Feb. 17 game in New Orleans. Garnett has 1,756,251 votes and James, last year's leader, is next with 1,564,974.
Miami's Dwyane Wade (1,179,889) and New Jersey's Jason Kidd (868,069) are on track to start at guard, and Orlando's Dwight Howard (1,456,898) at center for the East.
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