The Heat's Alonzo Mourning is the leading vote-getter in the first returns of fan balloting for the NBA All-Star Game.

In the balloting, released yesterday, Mourning had received 302,515 votes, putting him far ahead of the Knicks' Patrick Ewing (42,376) in the race for the Eastern Conference's starting center.

The other top vote-getters in the East were Fs Vince Carter of the Raptors (297,870) and Grant Hill of the Pistons (214,910), and Gs Allen Iverson of the 76ers (293,892) and Eddie Jones of the Hornets (114,257).

C Shaquille O'Neal of the Lakers led all Western Conference players with 275,487 votes.

The Timberwolves' Kevin Garnett topped West forwards with 250,987 votes, followed by the Spurs' Tim Duncan with 209,595. The Suns' Jason Kidd (165,727) and the SuperSonics' Gary Payton (146,360) led guards.

The All-Star Game will be played Feb. 13 in Oakland, Calif.

ETC.: Spurs F Sean Elliott remained hospitalized with the flu. Elliott, who had a kidney transplant in August, was admitted over the weekend to Methodist Specialty and Transplant Hospital in San Antonio. . . . Heat G Tim Hardaway, sidelined the last 13 games with a jammed right knee, said he will not be able to practice for at least the next 10 days.