It’s finally Sunday, which means the NBA All Star Game tips off tonight from New York. The NBA Odds makers have the spread in favor of the West at -3, with a total nearly 300 points!
NBA All-Star Game: West vs. East: Matchup Breakdowns
The West has faced some injury problems heading into this game, as three of the five guys picked to start the game by the fans are injured and will not compete. Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis and Blake Griffin will all sit this one out, and that leaves the West with Stephen Curry, Marc Gasol, and a gap in their starting five. They will likely start LaMarcus Aldridge to fill in for Griffin, while it would not surprise me one bit to see Kevin Durant and James Harden fill in for the other two. Opposing them will be a smaller, but just as capable East team of Carmelo Anthony, Lebron James, Pau Gasol, Kyle Lowry and John Wall.
Where the lacks in size, they’ll likely make up for it in their speed and transition game. Outside of Pau Gasol, the East is going to run in this one, and with the no defense status of the All Star Game, it looks like this is where they’ll get most of their points. However the West is much bigger and stronger than the East, even with their injuries. The matchup between Aldridge and either Anthony or James is going to be a bloodbath. Aldridge is going to be able to get most any shot he wants with a smaller guy on him, and with Anthony’s injury, if he has to guard Aldridge to start the game, the West already has an advantage. Plus, the West replacement guys include Tim Duncan, who at age 38 can still school smaller defenders, even if they are Lebron James.
The Sharp Pick
Last season the East finally broke their drought in the All Star Game, beating their Western counterparts 163-155. However before last season in New Orleans, the West had won three years running, and four of the last five All Star Games. On top of that even though the field has been evened some because of the injuries, personally I still think the West has the better roster. The entire Hawks roster being All Stars this season is nice, but one through 12, the West is better.
I do think the game will be close however. The All Star game hasn’t seen a blowout since 2009. Remember that year? That was the season Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal were put back on the same squad and combined for 44 points at the Staples Center.
We aren’t going to see that kind of magic in this game, but I do think in the end the West will cover their NBA Odds of -3. The West has six of the top seven PER rated players on their roster, (Lebron is the exception for the East) and if it weren’t for Anthony Davis’ injury, they would have the top five in PER on their team, and seven of the top eight. The West also has four of the top five players who rank highest in offensive rating this season, but the East has the best guy in Jimmy Butler. It’s going to be a good game, but in the end the East likely won’t stay with the West.
NBA Pick: West -3.5 at BetOnline