Sources: James Harden to start

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NEW ORLEANS --  James Harden will replace Kobe Bryant as a starting guard for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game on Sunday, sources confirmed to ESPN.com's Marc Stein on Friday.

Harden, who is averaging 23.9 points and 4.7 rebounds for the Houston Rockets, will start in place of the Lakers' Bryant, who has not played since Dec. 17 because of a knee injury. Bryant's Western Conference roster spot was awarded to Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Bryant, however, was voted into the game as a starter, finishing second to Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry among Western Conference guards in fan balloting.

The Western Conference will be coached by Oklahoma City's Scott Brooks, who coached Harden with the Thunder from 2009 to 2012.

The game will be held in New Orleans as part of the NBA's All-Star Weekend.

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