From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- From Kobe Bryant to Chris Paul, Blake Griffin to Andrew Bynum, the NBA All-Star game is shaping up as an L.A. story. Two Lakers and two Clippers were voted as starters Thursday for the game, the first time in 15 years that two pairs of teammates have been voted to start for one conference. "It's pretty cool," Griffin said. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant prevented a clean Los Angeles sweep of the Western Conference starting lineup by earning a forward spot for the Feb. 26 game in Orlando. Dwight Howard of the host Magic -- unless he's traded first -- was the overall leading vote-getter with 1.6 million. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are going together again from Miami, while MVP Derrick Rose of Chicago and New York's Carmelo Anthony round out the East starters. The Clippers and Lakers are developing a spirited rivalry this season, but they'll have to get along for a night to give the West a second straight win in the NBA's midseason event. Bryant and Paul will be in the same backcourt two months after the NBA, as owners of the Hornets, killed a trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers. Instead, he was dealt shortly after to the Clippers, and he has teamed with Griffin to make them one of the league's most exciting and improved teams, leading the Pacific Division over their Staples Center co-tenants. "It's an honor and a privilege to be voted as an All-Star starter," Paul said. "I want to thank the fans for their support. It's even more special to be starting with one of my teammates." Griffin and Bynum are first-time starters, while Bryant earned his record-tying 14th consecutive nod. Griffin said he's not planning on defending his title in the dunk contest, which he won by dunking over a car last year in Los Angeles. "It's not really my thing. I said that last year," he said. Griffin was a reserve selection last year, when he also played in the rookie game. "Last year it was hectic," he said. "I'll try to tone it down and try to get a break." It's the first time since 1997, when Houston had Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley, and Seattle sent Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, that two pairs of teammates have been voted to start for one conference. Bryant joins Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West and Karl Malone -- all one-time Lakers -- with his 14th straight starting nod. He earned his fourth All-Star MVP award last year, equaling Bob Pettit's NBA record. Bynum grabbed the starting center spot that for years went to Yao Ming, who retired last summer. Griffin was chosen as a reserve forward last year, when he became the first rookie All-Star since Yao in 2003. Starters were chosen by fan balloting, and none of the races was close. The reserves will be chosen by voting of the head coaches from each conference and will be announced next Thursday. Bryant led all West players with nearly 1.6 million votes. Rose collected 1.5 million to finish third among all players, a year after becoming Chicago's first starter since Michael Jordan. "I remember not being in the All-Star game, just wanting to be in the game. It's something you should take to heart, that I take to heart," Rose said before the Bulls' game against the Knicks. "Just want to accomplish something special while I'm in the league, and one of the accomplishments is being on the All-Star team." Howard will make his fifth consecutive start, and his status will provide much of the intrigue surrounding the event. He has told the Magic he wants to be traded and they have given his agent permission to talk to select teams, putting the franchise in a difficult position of deciding whether it should deal its superstar before hosting the weekend.
After four seasons with the Raiders, tight end Mychal Rivera is on the move.
The 2013 sixth-round pick has agreed to a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to ESPN.
Terms of the deal were not immediately known.
After playing a prominent role in Oakland his first two seasons, Rivera saw his numbers decrease in 2015 and 2016. This past season, he caught just 18 passes for 192 yards and one touchdown.
In his time with the Raiders, the Tennessee alum caught a total of 146 passes for 1,413 yards and 10 touchdowns.
The Raiders signed free agent tight end Jared Cook last week to go with incumbents Clive Walford and Lee Smith.
Free agent tight end Mychal Rivera has agreed to terms with the Jaguars, two sources tell me.— Jeff Darlington (@JeffDarlington) March 22, 2017
When the Warriors announced the severity of Kevin Durant's knee injury, they did not rule out a return before the end of the regular season.
And based on the progress of his rehab, the team is "hopeful" but "cautiously optimistic" that Durant will indeed play before the end of the regular season, according to ESPN.
The Warriors have 11 games remaining on their schedule and their final regular season game is April 12 against the Lakers.
On Tuesday, prior to the Warriors game against Dallas, Durant was seen working out on the court and putting up jump shots.
Just a day earlier, Durant worked up a good sweat while riding a stationary bike in Oklahoma City.
Durant is expected to be re-evaluated by the Warriors' medical staff next week.
After initially struggling without Durant, the Warriors have won five straight games. Durant sat on the bench for the road wins in Oklahoma City and Dallas.
Over the weekend, Warriors PG Stephen Curry and PF Draymond Green addressed Durant's recovery.
“You can tell he’s making improvements and following the game plan,” Curry told the media. “I see him in the weight room doing cardio stuff trying to stay as close to game shape as he can while he’s hurt. You like to see improvements every day. We still don’t know when he’ll be back.”
“When he’s ready, we’ll know,” Green told the media. “But it’s not really our job to try to figure out every day how he’s doing. You can kind of see he’s getting better and you just leave it at that.”