The NBA All-Star Game may have zero effect on the remainder of the regular season, but that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a fun, star-studded occasion that fans love to watch. This year's game is no exception, and there is really no telling who will win this epic playground match of the ages.
This can be attributed to the fact that fans voted for frontcourt and backcourt players as opposed to men at individual positions, and the result has been remarkably deep rosters on both ends. The Western Conference may be the more competitive one in terms of teams, but the scrappy players of the Eastern Conference cannot be overlooked either.
This year, the East is headlined by none other than reigning MVP LeBron James. Teammates Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are also joining him, and the Miami Heat's key trio should provide a great scoring explosion with the help of New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony. Defensively, reigning Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler should provide plenty of solid work in the paint to go with some thunderous dunks.
The Eastern Conference is also sure to be helped by first-time All-Stars Jrue Holiday, Paul George and Kyrie Irving, all of whom bring their own unique skill sets. Holiday is a fine scoring point guard who does excellent work on both ends of the floor, while Irving does the same and is also an terrific three-point shooter. George is just a freak athlete, so there's no telling how he'll shine in this game.
However, the Western Conference is not to be counted out. This is a team that has Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard in the starting lineup, not to mention Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, and their fast-paced attack has the potential to run circles around Eastern Conference players used to playing a more balanced game.
It should be noted that the West's bench is incredibly deep, from fifth-leading scorer James Harden to the unbelievably electrifying Russell Westbrook. Should the two of them be healthy enough to play, the deadly tandem of Tim Duncan and Tony Parker cannot be ignored either. The same can be said for David Lee, LaMarcus Aldridge and Zach Randolph, all three of whom can carry the West defensively even though that is not going to be a factor in the game.
Look at it this way. The Eastern Conference's team may be deep, but the Western Conference's squad is absolutely stacked.
Thus, when it comes time to tip off in Houston this weekend, the West will be the team that makes the final key basket in the fourth quarter. The East's depth will be admirable, but an inability to keep up on offense will prevent the team from winning.
Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant will run the table for the Western Conference, with Russell Westbrook and James Harden providing tons of fireworks off the bench. The East will have to rely on its starters for most of the offense, the reserves being either too young or not strong enough offensively to be a factor.
The game will still be close, but to say that the Eastern Conference will have any sort of control would be foolish. It's the West's home court, and the number of players they have that can run and score in a short amount of time will swing the pendulum in their favor.
Fans will be able to enjoy the game regardless, but to say that the East will win would be just plain wrong.
Western Conference 153, Eastern Conference 148