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Kristaps Porzingis believes he’ll make All-Star team

Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks at

Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 2, 2017. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

MIAMI — Kristaps Porzingis thinks he should be an All-Star this season.

Despite his recent struggles, he believes that if he’s not voted an Eastern Conference starter for the All-Star Game next month, the coaches will pick him as a reserve.

“I believe so,” Porzingis said before the Knicks faced the Heat on Friday night. “With all the different things that I’ve seen this season from coaches, the double-teams and all that, I do believe the coaches are paying a lot of attention to me. Hopefully, in their eyes, I deserve to get that spot.”

Porzingis, who entered Friday night’s 107-103 overtime loss to the Heat averaging a team-leading 23.8 points per game, is fourth in the fan voting among Eastern Conference frontcourt players behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James and Joel Embiid. The top three vote-getters will be starters. The fans account for 50 percent of the vote; NBA players and a media panel account for 25 percent each.

Porzingis’ goal is to help the Knicks make the postseason for the first time in his three-year career, but making the All-Star team is a main individual objective.

“Very important,” he said. “It’s a dream of mine to be an All-Star. Since I got to the NBA, that’s something I want to achieve individually, but also realizing that’s not how you want to be remembered — only as a good individual player.

“All of that will come with winning. If we win, we’re all going to look good and I’m sure I’m going to be an All-Star.”

Porzingis, who shot 5-for-14 and scored 15 points against the Heat, shot 10-for-32 and totaled 29 points in the previous two games. After Wednesday night’s loss in Washington, the second game of a back-to-back, Porzingis said he was “so tired.” After that remark produced some criticism, he tried to have fun with it.

“It was actually a strategy to make the Miami Heat relax a little bit, like, ‘oh, he’s tired,’ ” Porzingis said. “That’s why I did it. I feel good today. Don’t tell them that.”

Coach Jeff Hornacek said he might have to play Porzingis in “shorter stints” to keep him fresh in the fourth quarter. He also said he might consider resting Porzingis at the end of an upcoming six-game West Coast trip.

“We have that one Denver-Phoenix [back-to-back], when you go to altitude,” Hornacek said. “We’ll look at things then, but that’s not in the plans where we’re definitely doing that.”

2018 NBA ALL-STAR GAME VOTING

(Based on fan voting released Jan. 4)

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Frontcourt

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks) 863,416

2. LeBron James (Cavaliers) 856,080

3. Joel Embiid (76ers) 433,161

4. Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks) 359,459

5. Kevin Love (Cavaliers) 221,969

6. Al Horford (Celtics) 120,016

7. Jayson Tatum (Celtics) 98,586

8. Andre Drummond (Pistons) 85,374

9. Enes Kanter (Knicks) 83,102

10. Dwight Howard (Hornets) 57,730

Guards

1. Kyrie Irving (Celtics) 802,834

2. DeMar DeRozan (Raptors) 259,368

3. Victor Oladipo (Pacers) 251,886

4. Ben Simmons (76ers) 210,085

5. John Wall (Wizards) 175,990

6. Dwyane Wade (Cavaliers) 165,163

7. Isaiah Thomas (Cavaliers) 87,680

8. Kyle Lowry (Raptors) 85,070

9. Bradley Beal (Wizards) 71,079

10. Jaylen Brown (Celtics) 51,562

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Frontcourt

1. Kevin Durant (Warriors) 767,402

2. Anthony Davis (Pelicans) 393,000

3. DeMarcus Cousins (Pelicans) 356,340

4. Draymond Green (Warriors) 325,612

5. Paul George (Thunder) 291,495

6. Kawhi Leonard (Spurs) 212,650

7. Carmelo Anthony (Thunder) 194,239

8. Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves) 188,240

9. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers) 184,338

10. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs) 153,599

Guards

1. Stephen Curry (Warriors) 735,115

2. James Harden (Rockets) 602,040

3. Russell Westbrook (Thunder) 438,469

4. Klay Thompson (Warriors) 359,442

5. Manu Ginobili (Spurs) 231,460

6. Chris Paul (Rockets) 174,343

7. Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers) 148,622

8. Lonzo Ball (Lakers) 120,817

9. Devin Booker (Suns) 91,562

10. Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves) 88,009

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