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James Harden chosen to NBA All-Star Game

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We all knew it was happening, but now it's official.

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James Harden has been chosen to his third consecutive NBA All-Star team.

The Beard, the NBA's leading scorer at the season's midway mark and frontrunner for MVP, was chosen as a reserve by the coaches after dumb fans put Kobe Bryant in the game. Time did what it does to athletes of Kobe's age and mileage, and now the surefire Hall-of-Famer is on the shelf with a torn rotator cuff, opening the door for Harden to start the game as he rightfully deserves.

Harden's selection to the roster was first reported by Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski. USA Today's Sam Amick reported that Kevin Durant has also been chosen, a surely controversial choice because he's missed half the games and the Thunder have a losing record.

Durant's inclusion likely means Dwight Howard will be sitting at home. The race for the West All-Star spots is just ridiculous -- one of Damian Lillard, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Mike Conley won't make the squad either -- and Howard has had injury problems of his own. With DeMarcus Cousins, Tim Duncan, Blake Griffin and other studs who have been healthy all year, and aren't as roundly disliked as D12, as options, it's just hard to see Dwight cracking the squad.

The full rosters of the Western and Eastern Conference All-Stars will be announced on TNT's Inside the NBA at 6 p.m. CT.