NBA All-Star Game Preview

OPENING TIP

I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the NBA All-Star game, as far as the actual game is concerned. I do, however, love all the trade buzz surrounding All-Star Weekend.

It’s one of the reasons I decided to become a sportswriter, back in the days when we were still writing our stories via chisel and granite. OK, not really — but it sometimes sure feels that way.

Anyway, All-Star weekend always makes me reflect on a few things. Namely, how fortunate I am to have a job I love, covering a sport I love, for a company that’s no slouch in the sports industry. That would be none other than FOX Sports.

A lot of people don’t know what my actual job is. Here’s how I describe it: I’m an NBA columnist and broadcast analyst for FOX Sports, with a heavy emphasis on the Cavaliers for FOX Sports Ohio.

But yes, I also write about everyone from the Lakers to Celtics, to even the Bobcats and Wizards, or any other team that might be making news on any given day. I hate no one, and root for everyone.

How’s that for journalistic integrity?

I guess the point is, All-Star Weekend makes me realize that deep down, I’m a paid NBA fan. It makes me remember how thankful I am that you bother to read and follow along on Twitter, how you’re the backbone of everything I do.

So as for the actual game … eh, whatever. It’s a pickup game. I enjoy it, but that’s as far as it goes.

But when it comes to reflecting on what I do and that you notice, this weekend is undoubtedly the most special of the season.

Venue: Toyota Center, Houston.

TV: 8 p.m. EST, TNT

All-Time Series: East leads, 36-25.

ROSTERS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Starters

C Kevin Garnett, Boston
PF Chris Bosh, Miami
SF Carmelo Anthony, New York
SF LeBron James, Miami
SG Dwyane Wade, Miami

Reserves

C Tyson Chandler, New York
SF Luol Deng, Chicago
G/F Paul George, Indiana
PG Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia
PG Kyrie Irving, Cleveland
C Brook Lopez, Brooklyn
C Joakim Noah, Chicago
PG Rajon Rondo (injured, will not play)

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Starters

C Dwight Howard, L.A. Lakers
PF Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers
SF Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City
SG Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
PG Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers

Reserves

PF LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland
PF Tim Duncan, San Antonio
SG James Harden, Houston
PF David Lee, Golden State
PG Tony Parker, San Antonio
PF Zach Randolph, Memphis
PG Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City

Pregame notes:

• Kyrie Irving leads the league in clutch-time usage rate, using 52.6 percent of the Cavaliers’ possessions in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime with a score differential of five points or less.

• Joakim Noah is part of the league’s most effective lineup (minimum 100 minutes). The Bulls’ lineup of Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Noah has outscored its opponents by 29.9 points per 100 possessions in 104 minutes together.

• Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler are part of the league’s best offensive lineup (minimum 100 minutes). Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, J.R. Smith, Anthony and Chandler have scored 123.1 points per 100 possessions in 179 minutes together.

• Kevin Durant has highest on-court Net Rating among All-Stars. The Thunder are outscoring opponents by 13.3 points per 100 possessions with Durant on the floor.

• LaMarcus Aldridge leads the league with 521 mid-range shot attempts. In fact, he’s attempted 140 more shots from mid-range (between the paint and the three-point line) than any other player.

• James Harden leads all guards and ranks third among All-Stars (behind Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler) in free throw rate, attempting 58 free throws per 100 field goal attempts.

–  notes courtesy of NBA News

Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO