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News Summaries from The Sports Network - Thursday, December 25

James, Curry lead initial All-Star balloting

New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The first ballots are in, and Cavaliers forward LeBron James holds a slim lead over Warriors guard Stephen Curry for leading-vote getter for the 2015 NBA All-Star game.

James, an All-Star starter in 10 straight seasons and two-time All-Star MVP, has accumulated a league-best 552,967 votes, while Curry sits just behind him with 549,095 votes.

This season's game will be played Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

New York forward Carmelo Anthony (265,170) and Chicago big man Pau Gasol (247,953) are on pace to start in the frontcourt for the Eastern Conference next to James. Washington point guard John Wall (299,209) and James' former teammate with Miami, Dwyane Wade (265,917), lead all East guards.

Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis is third in overall voting with 524,623 votes. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (521,542) , who passed Michael Jordan for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list earlier this season, is fourth.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin (307,908) and Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (227,554) are also on pace to start for the West.

Voting will continue through Jan. 19 and the starters will be announced on Jan. 22.

Bryant out against Bulls

Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant cited "old age" and "sore knees" as his reasons for sitting out Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bulls.

"It's extremely difficult, especially playing here, playing on Christmas Day and playing in this city. I love playing here," Bryant said while speaking to reporters. "The fans have always been great. There's always a lot of energy in the building. At the same time, I've just got to try to be smart. It's really going against my nature, but I've got to be smart about this."

The 36-year-old Bryant, who is averaging 24.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists, did not play in Tuesday's home win over Golden State. Thursday was to have been his 16th career game played on Christmas Day.

"Old age. My knees are sore at this stage of the season," Bryant commented. "My Achilles are sore, both of them. My metatarsals are tight, back is tight. I just need to kind of hit the reset button.

"When I have a couple of days, the body realizes how messed up it is. Everything else starts hurting."

Bryant currently averages 35.4 minutes played over 27 contests this season, but his court time will be cut down.

"I'll get back to being healthy like I was at the start of the season," he said.

12/25 19:48:17 ET