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James Harden to start All-Star Game fourth year in a row

Really, was there ever a doubt?

NBA: Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden will start his fourth straight NBA All-Star Game in Chicago this February.

Thursday night, the final vote totals for the 69th NBA All-Star were revealed, and Harden (3,751,362 fan votes) trailed only Luka Doncic (6,111,735 fan votes) for fan votes among Western Conference guards. Of course, fan votes now make up only 50% of the vote for starters, with the other half coming from players and media. His fellow starters include the aforementioned Doncic, team captain is LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard. Hey it’s a Texas-California starting lineup.

Harden, now in his eighth straight All-Star game, all of which with the Rockets, is tied with Yao Ming for second-most All-Star selections in Rockets franchise history. Only Hakeem Olajuwon has more with 12 appearances.

The Rockets guard has upped his scoring again for the sixth straight season, averaging a league-high 36.6 points a game to go along with his 7.4 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game. Harden’s 36.6 PPG is currently the highest point average since Michael Jordan’s 37.1 PPG in ‘86-’87 — now making his humble 36.1 PPG last year the second-highest average since that mark.

Now all that is left for Rockets faithful concerning the All-Star game is announcing the reserves on Jan. 30, where Houston’s starting point guard, Russell Westbrook, is looking to nab a spot.

Among realistic options (sorry Alex Caruso), Westbrook received the fourth most fan votes in the West for anyone who isn’t a starter, and the second most votes among backup guards. Of course, fans have absolutely no say in reserve selection, as that’s left up to head coaches. But seeing as averages like 25 PPG, 7.3 APG, and 8.1 RPG would make anyone a starter any other year, there should be nothing to worry about concerning him making the reserves.

Also, if you’re like me and keep forgetting that this is a thing, teams will be selected by Team Captains, and leading vote-getters, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo on Feb. 6. On one hand, this isn’t that great for Houston fans, because there’s a chance they won’t see Rockets teammates on an All-Star team together since Dwight Howard and Harden in 2014. On the other hand, they’ll be able to collect both team jerseys with a Rockets member on each one.

And what’s $240 (plus tax) among real fans?

It might be a little hard to be too happy about an exhibition game for Rockets fans right now, but be sure to have some happiness in seeing your favorites experience success. After all, seeing their name in the All-Star lineup might be just the pick-me-up that they need.