Indiana Pacers

NBA All-Star Game 2021: Domantas Sabonis named as replacement for Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum to start

Make that two straight All-Star appearances for Indiana Pacers forward Domantas Sabonis.

In light of the announcement that Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant will now be unable to play in the game due to a hamstring injury, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has named Sabonis as the replacement player for the Eastern Conference's All-Star pool.

The league also announced that Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum will get the first All-Star start of his career in place of Durant, who was the East's leading vote-getter and a captain for the upcoming game. Per Marc Stein of the New York Times, the league has not decided what to do regarding Durant's captainship.

Tatum, who is in his fourth season, is averaging a career-best 25.6 points to go along with 6.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Celtics this season. This is also the second consecutive All-Star selection for the soon-to-be 23-year-old, who will be joined by his Celtics teammate in Jaylen Brown, who is making the first All-Star appearance of his career.

This is the fourth straight year in which Boston has had an All-Star starter, as Kemba Walker started for Team Giannis in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.

As for Sabonis, he finds himself back on the All-Star stage after earning the first selection of his career in 2020. The 24-year-old is putting forth the best season of his young career with averages of 21.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game while shooting 52.9 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from beyond the arc.

Sabonis joins Victor Oladipo, Paul George, Jermaine O'Neal and Reggie Miller as the fifth player in Pacers franchise history to earn an All-Star selection in consecutive years.

NBA All-Star 2021 takes place on Sunday, Mar. 7 in Atlanta, GA. The All-Star Game itself will be preceded by the Skills Competition and 3-Point Contest while the Slam Dunk Contest will take place at halftime.

Stick with NBA.com for more updates surrounding the upcoming All-Star Game.

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