NBA 2012 All-Star Game Preview
This Sunday night the stars come out in the NBA as the best of the best players from the Eastern Conference square-off against the elite players from the Western Conference in this season’s All-Star Game at the Amway Center in Orlando. The game is set to get underway at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on TNT.
Actually this weekend is much more than an All-Star break as there are a number of events planned starting with BBVA Rising Stars Challenge that will feature a game between the league’s best rookies and second-year players. The highlight of this game will be over-night sensation Jeremy Lin, who has suddenly made the New York Knicks relevant again through his stellar play.
There is also the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, but the highlight of the weekend is still Sunday’s All-Star Game. The named starting guards for the Eastern Conference are Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls and Miami’s Dwyane Wade. Rose is averaging 23.1 points and 7.7 assist a game and Wade is averaging 20.3 points and 5.5 assists.
The forwards are Carmelo Anthony from New York and another member of the ‘Big Three’ in Miami, Lebron James. Anthony has been hampered with a groin injury, but is still averaging over 23 points a game and James has been a beast this season with 29.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.0 assists per game. The starting center for the East is Dwight Howard, who could very well be playing in his last All-Star game in front of the home-town fans as his days in Orlando appear to be numbered.
The Western Conference starters feature a pair of guards from Los Angeles. Kobe Bryant represents the Lakers while Chris Paul gets the nod from the rival Clippers. Bryant continues to perform at a high level as the 33 year-old veteran is almost shooting his age with 30 points a game. Paul came over from New Orleans to help lead the Clippers to the top of the Pacific Division through the first half of the season.
The forwards will be Kevin Durant from Oklahoma City and another Clipper, Blake Griffin. Durant has the Thunder atop the Northwest Division with 26.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists. Griffen’s numbers are secondary to his monstrous dunks that are a mainstay on ESPN’s daily highlights. The center for the West is the Lakers’ Andrew Bynum, who is averaging 16.5 points while pulling down 12.1 rebounds a game.
One of the biggest prop bets for this game is the MVP Award. The current favorite is LeBron James at 13/2 followed by Kevin Durant at 7/1. The third-favorites are Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant at 15/2 and both Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin are next at 9/1. While any of these six players could easily win, go with the odds on Bryant as you get the feeling he will be out to make a statement as the elder statesman of this group.
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