With Victoria’s Steve Nash (shoulder) and Allen Iverson (ankle) both pulling out of Sunday’s game in Las Vegas, the Western Conference was in need of a guard. Allen is seventh in the league with 26.9 points per game.
Okur’s clutch late-game play has helped Utah keep rolling despite the absence of Carlos Boozer, who was chosen for the all-star game but also was forced to pull out because of a hairline fracture in his leg. That had left the Jazz, whose 34-17 record is third-best in the league, without a player in Sunday’s game.
Allen is headed to his fourth straight all-star game and seventh overall. Okur is a first-time selection.
Besides Nash, Iverson and Boozer, Yao Ming of Houston also had to pull out. New Jersey guard Jason Kidd is going to miss the next two games with a strained lower back, but the Nets didn’t say if he would play Sunday.
Also, the NBA announced that Hornets point guard Chris Paul will replace Nash in the Skills competition on Saturday night.