LeBron James leads the Eastern Conference into a battle with Kevin Durant and the Western Conference in the 61st annual NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, Florida.
Event: Eastern Conference Vs. Western Conference - 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
Date/Time: Sunday, February 26, 2012 - 7:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Amway Center (Capacity: 18,846), Orlando, Florida.
Broadcast Info: The 61st annual NBA All-Star game will be televised nationally and worldwide on TNT, with Marv Albert, Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller on the call. Kevin Harlan and Kenny Smith, who are also part of the TNT broadcast team, were part of the broadcast team that covered the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night.
Odds: The Eastern Conference is a three-point favorite in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
National Anthem Singers: Mary J. Blige (US Anthem); Neverest (Canadian Anthem).
Halftime Show Performers: Pitbull, Ne-Yo, Nayer.
Eastern Conference All Stars: Starters - Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard: Reserves - Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, Roy Hibbert, Andre Iguodala, Joe Johnson (injured), Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo (replaces Johnson), Deron Williams. Head Coach: Tom Thibodeau.
Western Conference All Stars: Starters - Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin, Andrew Bynum. Reserves - LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Kevin Love, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Russell Westbrook. Head Coach: Scott Brooks.
NBA All-Star Game History: The Eastern Conference leads the all-time series against the Western Conference, owning a 36-24 record against the West in the All-Star Game. The first NBA All-Star Game was played in 1951 and held at the Boston Garden, with the East defeating the West, 111-94. Ed Macauley was the first ever NBA All-Star Game MVP. The East would win seven of the first ten All-Star Games. Since 2000, the West has won seven of 12 All-Star Games.
Last Year's All-Star Game: Despite being outscored 43-31 in the fourth quarter, the Western Conference escaped with a 149-143 win over the Eastern Conference at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Kobe Bryant was named the MVP of the game after scoring a game-high 37 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. LeBron James and Amar'e Stoudemire led the East with 29 points apiece and James also had a team-leading 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
Storyline: The 61st annual All-Star Game will have plenty of storylines, as all-star games usually do. This is the first time since 2003 that the All-Star Game is being played in an Eastern Conference city. For starters, Lob City will be taking part in the game, with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers both starting. The two of them, Griffin in particular, are practically made for all-star games.
Locally, there are two players to focus on, with both Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics coming of the bench for the East. Pierce is making his 10th career All-Star appearance, and this could be the final time Pierce takes part in an all-star game as he continues to age and his production wanes. Rondo is making his third appearance.
Players To Watch: All of them. They're All-Stars. But seriously, the two players who will likely steal the show are LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Arguably the best two players in the league, it will be fun to see the two athletic bigs go at it. Blake Griffin, of course, will be fun to watch, too. Also, never count out Kobe Bryant, the 14-time NBA All-Star.
Prediction: Well, we're definitely not going to be seeing a defensive battle. As usual, this will be a high scoring affair, and everything indicates that it will be a close game. A close 280 total point game. The East is slightly favored, but I think Kevin Durant is on a mission to prove his dominance and will win the MVP Award. Final Score: West 152, East 143.
For more coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend 2012, visit the SB Nation All-Star stream. For additional Boston Celtics coverage, visit our team page and blog, CelticsBlog.