Playing in the NBA All-Star Game is an honor and that’s why Carmelo Anthony has decided to fight through an ailing ankle to suit up this year. Even if Anthony wasn’t having a career season, he’d be in the game simply because of his name, which is the case for all the starters each season. However, that never applied more than it does this year to Dwight Howard, who is starting for the Western Conference. See, it’s things like this that make the NBA All-Star Game impossible to predict.
Over the last decade, the Eastern and Western Conferences have played pretty evenly, going back and forth winning the exhibition. Every year, though, fans vote the Western Conference as the better roster, regardless of the outcome. As usual, that’s debatable this year, but as far as the players’ performances go specifically in the All-Star game, this year should show one specific difference.
The Eastern Conference has superstars just like the West, but LeBron James is one who will give it his all in the All-Star game, even when other players–specifically those on the West’s roster–won’t. That may prove to be the difference.
Let’s face it, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan aren’t going to be diving after loose balls and giving it 110 percent during the All-Star game because it doesn’t mean anything to them, especially when compared to their health during the stretch run and the playoffs. While a guy like Kobe Bryant is setting records and breaking his nose during the exhibition, real title contenders are saving themselves for the games that matter most.
So, in short, we’re right back where we started from. However, if it comes down to Kobe vs. LeBron in the All-Star game as far as effort to decide the game’s winner, bet on James this year. Of course, betting on anything during NBA All-Star Weekend is ludicrous, but you already knew that, right?