NBA All-Star Game 2013: Speed Will Lead West to Third Straight Win

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2013

Feb 26, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Western Conference guard Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (24) posts up against Eastern Conference guard Dwyane Wade (3) of the Miami Heat in the third quarter of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game at the Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that the Western Conference is the superior one in the NBA, and that will show at this year's All-Star Game in Houston. Due to the abundance of teams that play a fast-paced game out west, there is no doubt that the Western Conference will run the table in everyone's favorite playground game and win for the third year in a row.

Look at it this way. Though the Eastern Conference is home to a great run-and-gun team in the Miami Heat, LeBron James and company are the exception, not the rule. Besides James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Brook Lopez, the rest of the East players are from teams that play a slow-paced defensive game that calls for isolation on offense.

That isn't to say that the Western Conference is devoid of iso-teams by any means, but the roster says it all. Except for Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies, the team is full of players from teams that use the run-and-gun game quite often in their approach. Even if it isn't their coach's main philosophy, every player has the energy and enough experience playing that game to make a difference come All-Star Weekend.

Just how will the West use speed to win the game? The answer is simple: point guards.

Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker and Chris Paul (should his bruised knee be healed) are the three men lucky enough to represent the West at the point, and this deadly trio will use their offensive prowess to keep the Western Conference ahead from start to finish.

Paul is an excellent scoring point guard, and he runs one of the NBA's speediest offenses in that of the Lob City Los Angeles Clippers. He is the master of the lob and can also work the pick and roll well, and has also shown fine speed and footwork on the defensive side.

Tony Parker is not what one would call an electrifying scorer, nor does he use the run-and-gun game regularly in San Antonio. However, he is an excellent distributor and when it comes time to run, he can more than answer the bell.

This brings us to Russell Westbrook, the Robin to Kevin Durant's Batman in Oklahoma City. He is an excellent scoring point guard, averaging 22.6 points and 8.2 assists per game, and his Thunder rank first in points scored.

Combine all of the skills of these point guards, and the West has the speedier backcourt by a long shot. Throw in the presence of veteran Kobe Bryant, who plays in the signature run-and-gun offense of Mike D'Antoni, plus the dynamic James Harden coming off the bench, and it's hard to believe that the Eastern Conference will be able to maintain that type of pace.

Don't get me wrong. This game is going to be completely devoid of defense and a high scoring contest with an extremely close score.

It's just that when it comes to streetballers that can run nonstop, the West has the enormous advantage. As a result, once the final buzzer sounds, they will be the winning team for the third year in a row.