NBA All-Star Game 2013: Predictions for Sunday Night's Star-Studded Matchup

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IFebruary 16, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 20:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Western Conference reacts in the first half in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center on February 20, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

There will be plenty of thrills, smiles and highlight-reel plays when the 62nd annual NBA All-Star Game tips off from the Toyota Center in Houston on Sunday night.

The NBA's best will meet for bragging rights this weekend, capping off All-Star weekend 2013 with the the break's most anticipated event, the East vs. West All-Star Game. The East leads the all-time series 36-25 dating back to 1951, but the West has owned the event over the last two years, averaging 150 points per game since 2011.

With tipoff on the horizon, we'll put on our prediction hats for the NBA's main event this weekend.


LeBron's Dunks Will Steal the Show

LeBron James has no interest in the Slam Dunk Contest, but that doesn't mean hanging from the rim is off-limits on Sunday night. 

We've seen LeBron throw down eye-popping jams all season long with defenders draped all over him, so just imagine what the two-time All-Star Game MVP has in store for fans in Houston this weekend. 

Last year and in years prior, LeBron has teased fans around the globe with some impressive in-game dunks at the All-Star Game. The fact that he throws down some of the most challenging dunks with ease is what makes his high-flying exhibits of athleticism so compelling. 

Who knows how many points LeBron will score this weekend? Regardless, he's sure to put away a few noteworthy jams in transition.


West Will Reign Supreme 

Although this defenseless matchup could go either way, I'm predicting that the Western Conference will win the All-Star Game for the third straight year. 

Though both sides are loaded with superstar talent, I believe the West's squad boasts more quality scorers. Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and James Harden each rank in the top five in scoring this season, and Durant and Kobe have combined to win the game's MVP award five times over the years.

I look for the West's trio of dynamic scorers to outdo LeBron James and company on Sunday night, as they have in the past two years. 

The last time a side won three straight in the All-Star Game was in 2004, with the West coming away with the victory.


Durant Will Win MVP for Second Straight Year

NBA legend Bob Pettit was the first and last player to win back-to-back All-Star Game MVPs. He accomplished the feat more than five decades ago, in 1959.

If anyone is capable of joining Pettit on such an elite list of back-to-back winners of the award, it's the 6'9" scoring machine, Kevin Durant. The Oklahoma City Thunder star poured in 36 points last year to power the West and he will be the favorite to do it again in 2013.

Durant is leading the league in scoring this season, averaging over 29 points per night. Plus, the four-time NBA All-Star is averaging 35 points per game through two career ASG starts, which bodes well for him on Sunday night.

Given his ability to get to the rim, nail outside shots and convert almost every time from the foul line, Durant has got to be the hands-down favorite to take home MVP honors in 2013.


Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter. 

Follow _Pat_Clarke on Twitter