The NBA All-Star game has gotten a revamp, with the teams now split up based on choices by team captains. Superstars LeBron James and Stephen Curry were given the honor of choosing players, which is a departure from the past format which pitted the Western Conference All-Stars against their Eastern Conference foes.
The West had won three straight all-star games and seven of the past 10, and would have been the heavy favorite once again. While the East has James, the West has the majority of the talent and it likely would have been a mismatch.
So the organizers instead went with a different setup and it will be interesting to see how the new dynamic affects the contest.
The All-Star Game is going to be intriguing to watch in NBA odds.
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NBA All-STAR GAME
Date and Time: Friday, February 18, 2018, 7 p.m. ET
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Opening NBA All-Star Game Odds at BetCris: Check Back Later
NBA All-Star Game TV Coverage: TNT
The order of the picks haven’t been revealed, but the teams have been made. James will start for his team, as will Kyrie Irving at point guard, Kevin Durant at forward, Anthony Davis at forward and a yet-to-be named player that will replace the injured DeMarcus Cousins in the starting lineup.
James’ bench will feature guard Russell Westbrook, guard Bradley Beal, forward Victor Oladipo, forward Paul Georgia, center Andre Drummond, guard Goran Dragic and guard Kemba Walker. LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, John Wall and Kristaps Porzingis were originally drafted by James but have bowed out because of injuries. Raptors coach Dwayne Casey will lead James’ all-stars.
The players starting alongside Curry will be guard James Harden, guard DeMar DeRozan, guard/forward Giannis Antetoukounmpo and center Joel Embiid. The presence of Antetoukounmpo, also known as the Greek Freak, is intriguing as he has set the NBA on fire this season and could have a big game.
The reserves on Curry’s team will be guard Damian Lillard, forward Jimmy Butler, forward Draymond Green, guard Kyle Lowry, guard Klay Thompson, center Karl-Anthony Towns and forward Al Horford. Curry’s team will be coached by Houston’s Mike D’Antoni.
374. That’s the number of points the teams combined for in the 2017 All-Star game, as the West came away with a 192-182 victory. There has never been a ton of defense in All-Star games, but it has gotten really bad of late as it has turned into a glorified pickup game.
It remains to be seen if the new format will stoke the competitive fire more, but it seems unlikely. It will be interesting to see teammates face off with each other, but in the end the usual cast of characters like James, Durant, Curry, Harden and Westbrook will likely dominate.
The scoring total will once again be extremely high as both teams will run up and down the court with little regard for defense.
NBA All-Star Game Free Picks
In the usual format the West would be favored, but now that the teams are mixed up it’s hard to figure out how this game is going to go. James’ team does feature himself, Durant and Westbrook, and that’s a really big-time trio.However, Curry’s team has all sorts of shooters. He is the best in the game, while Thompson and Harden can really fill it up. Even Towns is able to hit from downtown despite being a big man. In a game with no defense, Curry’s team could take control by regularly hitting from downtown as it is more proficient from there.
This game could come down to which side takes it more seriously, and if that’s the belief then the more prescient choice will be James’ team because it features the ultra-competitive Westbrook.
NBA All-Star Game ATS Pick: Take the “over” on the All-Star game scoring total
NBA All-Star Game Score Prediction: Team LeBron 200, Team Curry 185
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