NEW YORK - Steve Nash and Tim Duncan made late moves to claim starting spots for the Western Conference All-Star team.

Nash passed the inactive Tracy McGrady as the second guard, while Duncan disappointed Dallas fans hoping to see Dirk Nowitzki start by rallying past the Mavericks forward.

LeBron James was the leading vote-getter for the Feb. 14 game at Cowboys Stadium, becoming the first player to earn at least 2.5 million votes three times. He will make his sixth All-Star appearance, all as a starter.

"The fans still love and see what I do every night and they appreciate it, and I appreciate them for electing me as an All-Star starter," James said. "It's still special."

Joining James and the Sixers' Allen Iverson as East starters are Miami guard Dwyane Wade, Orlando center Dwight Howard and Boston forward Kevin Garnett.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was picked in the West along with Phoenix center Amare Stoudemire and Denver forward Carmelo Anthony.

Starters were decided by fan balloting at NBA arenas and electronically. The reserves will be chosen by votes by the head coaches in each conference and will be announced next Thursday.

A McGrady election would have been an embarrassment for the NBA, since he has played sparingly in only six games for the Houston Rockets. The team gave him permission to leave the team and work out on his own while trying to find a trade, yet McGrady still was second among West guards when the most recent update was released on Jan. 7.

Duncan's late surge gives him a 12th All-Star appearance. Bryant, who claimed his third All-Star game MVP last year when he shared it with Shaquille O'Neal in Phoenix, also will be appearing for the 12th time.

Garnett's selection was his 13th, trailing only O'Neal (15) among active players.

The NBA expects more than 80,000 fans, which would be the largest crowd ever to witness a live basketball game.

It's a return to Dallas for Nash, who spent six seasons with the Mavericks before signing with the Suns in 2004. He and Stoudemire give Phoenix two starters in an All-Star Game for only the second time, joining Charles Barkley and Dan Majerle in 1995.