[Link]Timberwolves guard Sam Cassell's wait to become an NBA All-Star ended Tuesday morning, when coach Flip Saunders told him the good news.
Cassell, having a career year, was one of 14 reserves named, seven from each conference. That means Cassell will join Saunders, his coaching staff and starter Kevin Garnett for the All-Star Game in Los Angeles on Feb. 15.
"It's an accomplishment, you know," said Cassell, who is averaging 21.3 points, 7.5 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the field. "Like I've been saying, I've been an All-Star in my mind -- and in a lot of other players' minds. Just never been on the team. I'm thankful I'm on the team. For a weekend, I'll definitely be one of the top 24 players in the game of basketball."
Cassell joins Utah forward Andrei Kirilenko on the Western Conference team as a first-time All-Star. The Eastern Conference had four first-timers: Indiana forward Ron Artest, New Orleans center Jamaal Magloire, New Jersey forward Kenyon Martin and Milwaukee guard Michael Redd.
There were a number of players who were left out, in both conferences. In the West? The Wolves' Latrell Sprewell, Dallas guards Michael Finley and Steve Nash, Denver rookie Carmelo Anthony and Portland's Zach Randolph. In the East, Cleveland rookie sensation LeBron James missed out, as did Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton of Detroit.
"In a lot of cases there is a mix of 10, 12 guys for those seven spots," Saunders said. "It doesn't surprise me who is on [the teams], and it doesn't surprise me who isn't. . . . I'm sure the vote was pretty close."