NBA All-Star 2013 Starting Lineups: Matchups to Watch During the Game

Shawn BrubakerContributor IIFebruary 17, 2013

MIAMI, FL - FEBRUARY 10:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives around Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat during a game  at American Airlines Arena on February 10, 2013 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The 2013 NBA All-Star Game can send fans salivating to see Carmelo Anthony match up with Kevin Durant at the same time Dwyane Wade faces off with Kobe Bryant. All of the starter pairings are fantastic this year. All are worthy of mention.

Take a look at these rosters and get amped.


Eastern Conference All-Star Starting Lineup

LeBron James (F, Miami Heat)

Dwyane Wade (SG, Miami Heat)

Carmelo Anthony (F, New York Knicks)

Chris Bosh (F, Miami Heat) *Injury replacement for Rajon Rondo

Kevin Garnett (F/C, Boston Celtics)


Western Conference All-Star Starting Lineup

Chris Paul (PG, Los Angeles Clippers)

Kobe Bryant (SG, Los Angeles Lakers)

Kevin Durant (SF, Oklahoma City Thunder)

Blake Griffin (PF, Los Angeles Clippers)

Dwight Howard (C, Los Angeles Lakers)


As stacked as these rosters are, some matchups stand out as particularly intriguing.

When the starters take the court in Houston on Sunday, watch out for these one-on-one battles during the action.


Kevin Garnett vs. Dwight Howard

The starting centers in the All-Star Game come from the NBA's two most-storied franchises. All is as it should be.

Seriously, both of these guys are sure-fire future Hall of Famers, making this a battle similar to the great matchups between Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain.

Adding to the intrigue is the contrast in styles between these two players. Garnett is a fiery player, to the point of being annoying as a trash talker. Dwight Howard, on the other hand, is so sensitive that even the Los Angeles Times had some fun at his expense.

Garnett may have lost a step, and Howard may be playing at less than 100 percent. Both of these guys should bring their best performance here, though, guaranteeing an intense matchup between centers from two rival franchises.

Dwyane Wade vs. Kobe Bryant

There is no question that Wade and Bryant are the best two shooting guards in the league. Kobe may be the best performer in All-Star Game history, while Wade is fresh off his second championship. Sparks will fly in this matchup.

Statistically, Kobe has the edge, as he averages more points, assists and rebounds than Wade. Wade, though, is asked to do so little with his stellar supporting cast that his stats have taken a hit. Despite his lower stats and recent injury history, Wade is every bit the player and scorer that Kobe is.

Watching the two best shooting guards in the league go head to head is a rare treat, and it's something every NBA fan should be pumped to watch.

LeBron James vs. Chris Paul

When Rajon Rondo went down for the season, speculation swirled about who his replacement in the starting lineup would be. Common sense said Kyrie Irving or maybe Jrue Holiday to make sure the East had a prototypical point guard.

Instead, Chris Bosh was tabbed as the starter, according to ESPN.

That means 6'8" LeBron James will be a point guard, according to the Houston Chronicle's Reid Laymance. His matchup? Six-foot point guard Chris Paul. Count me among those who want to see this matchup.

Paul has the clear edge in terms of quickness, ball skills and playmaking ability. To be fair, Paul has the clear edge in those attributes on just about everybody.

In most games, though, Paul is using those attributes on a player close to his own size. Never does he match up against a player who averages 8.2 rebounds per game. If he wants to, LeBron can pretty much have his way with Paul physically.

What will be interesting to watch is whether LeBron uses that advantage or whether he tries to play like a prototypical point guard. Watching him play out of position like this should be fun, but he should be more than up to the task.

The only possible snag in this matchup is that the West would be insane to let Paul guard LeBron on defense. A more likely scenario would have Paul guard Dwyane Wade, with Kobe switching over to take on LeBron.

For the fans' sake, though, I hope these two have an intense matchup, as it looks to be the most intriguing.