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NBA Weekend Betting: NBA All-Star Game Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 2/12/2014 11:05:40 AM

The NBA All-Star Game will be played in the party city of New Orleans. Once the game begins Sunday night, which team will throw a party on the court in the Big Easy? The Eastern Conference might have the two best individual teams in the league – will that be enough to offset the Western Conference’s depth?

2014 NBA All-Star Game

East All-Stars vs. West All-Stars

The Eastern Conference boasts the Indiana Pacers and the two-time defending champion Miami Heat. This means that the East will be represented by the top two teams in basketball, given the belief that the Pacers are in a stronger position than ever before to knock Miami off its perch. The East will put Indiana players Paul George and Roy Hibbert on the floor, while Miami’s Big Three of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh will be part of this Louisiana showcase as well. That’s five players on a roster for a conference whose third-place team, the Toronto Raptors, is only two games over .500 through 50 games (26 wins and 24 losses). There are some bright stars elsewhere on the East’s roster. Carmelo Anthony can certainly light up the night and score 25 points. John Wall is a terrific young point guard who should have fresh legs and the ability to run the floor, and Kyrie Irving can do everything Wall does, only better. It should also be said with respect to the East’s chances that Los Angeles Laker superstar Kobe Bryant will not be able to play for the Western Conference. This will level the playing field in favor of the East, robbing the West of one of its most luminous and complete talents. Yet, will all these advantages be enough for the East to win? The West is the deeper conference, for one thing. Second, the fact that Indiana and Miami will both want to rest up for the playoffs is something that will likely cut into Wade’s minutes in this game. LeBron, Bosh, George, and Hibbert will probably play at full speed, but Wade – given his knee problems – is not likely to get extended minutes from East head coach (and Indiana head coach) Frank Vogel. When you look at the rest of the East’s roster, there’s not a lot of star power. Chicago’s Joakim Noah has had an All-Star-worthy season, but he’s a defensive player in a game made for playmaking. Paul Millsap of Atlanta is in a similar position. Joe Johnson of the Brooklyn Nets and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors were highly questionable selections. They are not likely to hold up against the West’s bench, which includes Dwight Howard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, Chris Paul, James Harden, Damian Lillard, and Tony Parker. The West should be able to run the floor a lot better than the East, and there’s simply a higher caliber of player at almost every position on the two benches (Hibbert being the exception).

Prediction

The West simply has a much better collection of players up and down the full roster. The East will probably run out of steam in the second half, while the West’s depth should make the difference.

Pick: West

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