NEW YORK (AP) — hris Paul and David West were picked for their first All-Star game Thursday night, giving the hometown Hornets a pair of players for the event New Orleans will host next month.

Detroit, Phoenix and Washington also had multiple players chosen as reserves for the Feb. 17 game. Boston will only send two of its Big Three to the Big Easy. Paul Pierce was voted in by Eastern Conference head coaches to join starter Kevin Garnett, but Ray Allen fell short.

“That’s crazy,” Pierce said. “I think Ray should have been on there based on our record and what we’re doing team-wise.”

The Pistons’ Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton are headed back for the third straight year, while the Suns will be represented by Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire. Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison also were recognized for their strong play, which has kept the Wizards in the middle of the playoff race despite the absence of injured guard Gilbert Arenas.

“To find a way to turn things around and play at a very high level and be very competitive in our conference,” Jamison said, “it speaks volumes for the type of year Caron and myself are having.”

Toronto’s Chris Bosh and Atlanta guard Joe Johnson were the other players picked for the East, which will be coached by Boston’s Doc Rivers. Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki, the reigning NBA MVP, Utah’s Carlos Boozer and Portland guard Brandon Roy were selected from the West.

Paul, Nash and Roy emerged from a crowded group of West guards to beat out the likes of Golden State’s Baron Davis, Utah point guard Deron Williams, and Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili from the defending champion San Antonio Spurs.

Also missing out during the worst season of his career was Shaquille O’Neal, ending his streak of 14 consecutive All-Star selections. That tied the record held by Jerry West and Karl Malone.

Paul, the 2006 Rookie of the Year, and West have helped the Hornets to a 32-13 record, which led the Southwest Division entering the night. New Orleans could still get another representative, as Byron Scott will coach the West if the Hornets win their next game, or Dallas loses either of its next two.

Paul is averaging 20.8 points, 10.7 assists and a league-leading 2.6 steals. He has just one fewer steal (110) than turnover for the season. David West averages 19.6 points and 9.4 rebounds.

Garnett, LeBron James, Orlando’s Dwight Howard, New Jersey’s Jason Kidd and Miami’s Dwyane Wade were voted by fans to start for the East. The West starters are Denver’s Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, San Antonio forward Tim Duncan and Houston center Yao Ming.

Coaches were then required to vote for two guards, two forwards, a center and two players regardless of position. East coaches bypassed a natural center, picking Bosh, a power forward, at that spot.

Allen, averaging 18 points for a Boston team that began the night with an NBA-best 35-8 record, was perhaps the most noticeable omission in the East. Orlando was hoping for a spot for Hedo Turkoglu, averaging a career-best 19.4 points.

“Obviously, I think Ray should have made it,” Rivers said.

“The fact that he had to sacrifice the most of the three. It’s unfortunate that the other coaches didn’t see it that way.”

Allen was beat out by Billups and Hamilton, who were selected for the first time together in 2006, when the Pistons were en route to a franchise-best 64 wins.

“I am excited. I’m geeked,” Hamilton said. “It just tells you what kind of success we’ve had as a team. And it’s a great opportunity going with Billups again. I feel like we kind of came in together and we’ve accomplished a lot together.”

Besides the tough choices at guards, the West center spot was deep, with Stoudemire beating out Denver’s Marcus Camby and the Hornets’ Tyson Chandler. Nowitzki was hoping teammate Josh Howard would be selected as a forward.

“It’s always a great honor to be chosen, but I’m very disappointed that Josh didn’t make it,” he said before the Mavericks’ played at Boston. “He’s having a pretty good year. He deserves to be there as much as I do, so that’s pretty disappointing.”

AP Sports Writers Jimmy Golen in Boston, Larry Lage in Auburn Hills, Mich., and Joseph White in Washington contributed to this report.

AP-ES-01-31-08 2042EST

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