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Joel Embiid to replace injured Kevin Durant as All-Star starter; James Harden still not a reserve

The big fella gets the nod, but his running mate is still waiting.

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Late last month, it was announced that Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid would not be among the 10 starters for the 2023 All-Star Game. In the East frontcourt, a trio of fellow MVP candidates bested him in Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Yet on Friday, the NBA tabbed three replacement starters and reserves for the injured Durant, Stephen Curry and Zion Williamson. Embiid will now fill in for Durant, while Ja Morant and Lauri Markkanen are nabbing Curry and Williamson’s starting spots. Anthony Edwards, De’Aaron Fox and Pascal Siakam have been added to the reserves group, meaning Sixers point guard James Harden is still on the outside looking in.

However, Jaylen Brown suffered a facial fracture during the first half of the Boston Celtics’ win Wednesday over Philadelphia and could miss time through the All-Star Break. He’s already been ruled out for Friday’s game against the Charlotte Hornets. If he does miss a couple weeks, the door may reopen for Harden to make his 11th consecutive All-Star appearance. Of course, that’s of secondary importance to Brown’s recovery and health.

Embiid, who was voted a starter the past five seasons, is averaging 33.3 points (64.1 percent true shooting), 10.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.1 steals per game this season. He and the Sixers will look to snap a two-game slide when they face the New York Knicks at 7 p.m. inside Wells Fargo Center on Friday night.

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