Feb 16, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Eastern Conference forward LeBron James (6) of the Miami Heat tries to take the ball away from guard Kyrie Irving (2) of the Cleveland Cavaliers during practice for the 2013 NBA all star game at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NBA All-Star Game Preview

The 2013 edition of the Kia NBA All-Star Game, on paper, could be one of the most exciting in recent memory. A remarkable nine of the league’s top 10 scorers will play in Houston on Sunday at 8 p.m. (on TNT) with the one exclusion being the snubbed Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors. Tonight’s game will also be interesting due to some young stars, like the Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving, making their first All-Star appearances alongside the old guns consisting of Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett. Plus, the NBA All-Star Game is the best in all of sports – the players go for broke and the scores are always high. To put it simply, this game is a can’t-miss event.

The East’s roster is a blend of the old and new, with the old generation taking a large portion of the starting lineup. Coached by Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, the starting lineup for the East will be more versatile than the West. When Boston’s Rajon Rondo went down with a season-ending injury, there was an opening in the starting lineup for the East. While Irving was the logical choice, Spolestra went with his own player, forward Chris Bosh, to get the start. Thus, the starting lineup for East will look like this: LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Bosh and Garnett. Expect James to bring up the ball most of the time with this lineup, which will make things interesting for the West on the defensive end. Chris Paul, the West’s starting point guard, will not be able to defend ‘The King” one-on-one, so how Western Conference coach Gregg Popovich decides to defend James will be interesting. Off the bench, the East has several offensive weapons, as well as players who will be able to fill roles well. Irving will be the sixth man, and his scoring ability will make the second unit instantly potent. The x-factors for the East (Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah) will also come off the bench, giving the team a good rebounding presence off the bench. They also have Brook Lopez, Jrue Holiday and others to join in on the fun. The more I look at this roster, the more I really think it is strong from top to bottom.

The West, on the other hand, has two players that worry me. First off, will Dwight Howard be effective? And with his injury, should he even be playing? Also, will Tim Duncan play any meaningful minutes? My guess is no, and the same goes for Tony Parker. But on a positive note, the West has some great scorers. Kevin Durant may be the best in the league, and James Harden will be a great contributor off the bench. They also have Russell Westbrook, Zach Randolph and LaMarcus Aldridge available, which gives them a solid second unit. Their starting unit, consisting off Paul, Bryant, Durant, Blake Griffin and Howard, is very good, but I tend to favor the East’s.

In the All-Star video we posted, I predicted that the West would be the victor in this game. But as Sunday came along, I changed my mind. I’m picking the East to beat the West, and here is why: more scoring and better rebounding. The bench big men are going to be too much to handle, and the West will not be able to handle it. The West may have more scoring off the bench, but with James, Wade, Irving and Anthony, I think the East will have enough to get it done.

Official Right Down Euclid Predictions

Chris Manning:  East 144, West 140, MVP – LeBron James

Zak Kolesar: East 141, West 135, MVP – Carmelo Anthony

Dan Pilar: West 167, East 148, MVP – Blake Griffin

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Tags: Blake Griffin Carmelo Anthony Cleveland Cavaliers Kyrie Irving Lebron James

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