Cavs' Williams named as Eastern Conference All-Star replacement
Mo Williams finally got his due as NBA Commissioner David Stern named the Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard to replace injured East forward Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors in Sunday's All-Star Game in Phoenix, Arizona, dpa reported.
Williams wasn't voted onto starting squad by fan balloting, nor was he selected by the coaches as a reserve.
When the commissioner chose Boston's Ray Allen to replace injured Jameer Nelson of the Orlando Magic, the Cavaliers complained that Williams should have been named to join teammate LeBron James as the second player to represent the Cavaliers because of their sparkling record.
Williams, however, was all aglow after receiving the news earlier in the day that he will be making his first All-Star appearance as the Cavaliers were preparing to meet the host Indiana Pacers.
"It has a beautiful ring to it," Williams told reporters before the game. "I'm excited for myself and my teammates and the coaches. It's a great thing. It's one thing people can't take away from you."
Acquired in the off-season from Milwaukee to help James with the scoring load, Williams is averaging 17.1 points, and has helped the Cavaliers to the league's second-best record (39-10 mark, including a 23-1 record at home) behind the LA Lakers.
Bosh, averaging 22.7 points and 9.5 rebounds, was selected to his fourth straight All-Star Game. But the power forward will be forced to miss the game with a sprained right knee, suffered last Wednesday against the Lakers.
"It's unfortunate that Chris Bosh is unable to play in this year's All-Star Game in Phoenix," Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert said in a release on the club's website.
"The entire Cleveland Cavaliers organization is thankful that the NBA called on Mo' Williams to take his rightful place on the Eastern Conference squad."
Like Williams, J.R. Smith was all smiles after the Denver Nuggets' high-flyer was added to the Saturday night's Slam Dunk Contest, replacing Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay, who is suffering from a left hip flexor.
Making his second appearance in the fan favourite competition, Smith joins 2006 champion Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks, and Spanish rookie Rudy Fernandez of the Portland Trail Blazers in an attempt to take down defending champion Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.