The wait is almost over. The NBA will announce the reserves for the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at 7:00 p.m. tonight on TNT and three Atlanta Hawks players have a chance to be going to Hollywood.
However, for all three to play with the stars in Tinseltown, the NBA's coaches will likely have to over look one or two members of the Boston Celtics.
Hawks center Al Horford should make the team as the East's No. 2 center behind the Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard. And Joe Johnson's hot January has made him a likely selection at guard, but he faces stiff competition from Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo of the Celtics and possibly Raymond Felton of the New York Knicks.
The news isn't as good for Hawks forward Josh Smith, who will likely be on the outside looking in once again. There are just too many big named stars in big TV markets ahead of him, including Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett of the C's. Sprinkle in Chris Bosh of the best
82-0, 74-8, 68-14 team ever* a/k/a the Miami Heat or possibly C/F Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls as a Wild Card and it looks like it may be a stretch for Smith to make it onto the way-too-small 12 man Eastern Conference All-Star roster.
Johnson has pushed himself into All-Star consideration with an NBA Player of the Month-caliber first month of 2011. The Atlanta forward averaged 26 points, 4.8 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 13 January games to push his points per game average to 20.6 PPG.
Horford has been one of the steadiest Hawks this season, nearly averaging a double-double with 16.1 points and 9.9 rebounds per contest.
Smith has similar numbers to Horford (16.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG), but is stuck behind some perennial All-Stars in Beantown and the hype of the media darling Heat, who already have two starters voted into the game by the fans.
Heat forward LeBron James and his guard partner Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire of the Knicks, Derrick Rose of the Bulls and Howard will start for the Eastern Conference in the 60th NBA All-Star Game, which will tip off on Feb. 20 in Los Angeles.