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Okur named All-Star replacement

Okur named All-Star replacement



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NEW YORK (AP) -- Seattle's Ray Allen and Utah's Mehmet Okur were chosen Tuesday by commissioner David Stern as injury replacements for the All-Star game.

With Steve Nash (shoulder) and Allen Iverson (ankle) both pulling out of Sunday's game in Las Vegas, the Western Conference was in need of a guard. Allen is seventh in the league with 26.9 points per game.

Okur's clutch late-game play has helped Utah keep rolling despite the absence of Carlos Boozer, who was chosen for the All-Star game but also was forced to pull out because of a hairline fracture in his leg. That had left the Jazz, whose 34-17 record is third-best in the league, without a player in Sunday's game.

This is the first All-Star berth for the 6-11, 263-pound native of Turkey, who is in his fifth NBA season and third with the Jazz. Okur has started all 51 Jazz games and is averaging a career-high 18.2 points, along with 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists. Okur ranks second on the Jazz in both scoring and rebounding and has posted 15 double-doubles on the season. He also leads the team in three-point shooting, hitting 92-of-238 attempts (.387), the most in the NBA for a player 6-11 or taller.

Okur has been one of the most clutch players in the NBA this season, hitting 28 game-tying or leading field goals in the fourth quarter or overtime, including four-game winning shots in the final 40 seconds of games. He has also proven durable, having appeared in 231 straight games (all 213 since joining the Jazz), the fifth-longest active streak in the NBA.

Okur is the tenth player in Jazz franchise history to make the All-Star Game, and joins Boozer as the first Jazz representatives since Andrei Kirilenko in 2004. The other Jazz All-Stars are Boozer, Adrian Dantley (1980-82, ‘84-86), Mark Eaton (1989), Rickey Green (1984), Andrei Kirilenko (2004), Karl Malone (1988-02), Pete Maravich (1977-79), Len "Truck" Robinson (1978) and John Stockton (1989-97, ‘00). This is the first time the Jazz have had multiple players selected to the NBA All-Star game since 2000 with Malone and Stockton.

The 56th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 18, will air live on TNT and ESPN Radio beginning at 6 p.m. MT. The game will also be telecast in over 200 countries and broadcast on NBA.com.

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