One of the great aspects of the NBA All-Star Game is the opportunity it lends us to watch the game's greats wage in a few one-on-one battles.
The All-Star Game always offers up some entertaining team play while also allowing for certain matchups to steal the spotlight on a few possessions.
Although there are plenty of isolation plays to be found in any regular-season NBA game, it's nothing like it is in this exhibition contest. There are bound to be possessions that are essentially just a one-on-one matchup.
Have a look at the rosters for this game, and then I'll highlight the possible matchups I'm most looking forward to.
When: Sunday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: TNT Overtime
|BC||Dwyane Wade||18.4 PPG, 4.7 APG, 4.7 RPG, 21.4 PER, .578 TS%|
|BC||Kyrie Irving||21.6 PPG, 6.3 APG, 3.1 RPG, 20.28 PER, .521 TS%|
|FC||LeBron James||26.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 6.4 APG, 28.8 PER, .661 TS%|
|FC||Paul George||23.0 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 3.5 APG, 22.10 PER, .575 TS%|
|FC||Carmelo Anthony||27.2 PPG, 8.9 RPG, 3.0 APG, 24.96 PER, .555 TS%|
|BC||John Wall||19.8 PPG, 8.5 APG, 4.4 RPG, 19.91 PER, .521 TS%|
|BC||DeMar DeRozan||21.8 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.6 APG, 17.99 PER, .517 TS%|
|BC||Joe Johnson||15.7 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.8 RPG, 14.98 PER, .553 TS%|
|FC||Chris Bosh||16.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.1 BPG, 20.55 PER, .612 TS%|
|FC||Roy Hibbert||11.8 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.5 BPG, 16.52 PER, .524 TS%|
|FC||Joakim Noah||11.7 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 19.09 PER, .518 TS%|
|FC||Paul Millsap||17.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 20.39 PER, .550 TS%|
|BC||Stephen Curry||24.0 PPG, 9.1 APG, 4.5 RPG, 23.0 PER, .585 TS%|
|BC||Kobe Bryant||13.8 PPG, 6.3 APG, 4.3 RPG, 11.3 PER .505 TS%|
|FC||Kevin Durant||31.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.2 APG, 31.17 PER, .645 TS%|
|FC||Blake Griffin||23.0 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 3.4 APG, 22.97 PER, .584 TS%|
|FC||Kevin Love||25.0 PPG, 12.9 RPG, 4.1 APG, 26.89 PER, .583 TS%|
|BC||Chris Paul||19.6 PPG, 11.2 APG, 4.6 RPG, 27.47 PER, .578 TS%|
|BC||Damian Lillard||20.6 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.5 RPG, 18.87 PER, .571 TS%|
|BC||Tony Parker||18.1 PPG, 6.2 APG, 2.4 RPG, 20.12 PER, .571 TS%|
|BC||James Harden||23.7 PPG, 5.5 APG, 4.9 RPG, 21.12 PER, .593 TS%|
|FC||LaMarcus Aldridge||24.3 PPG, 11.6 RPG, 2.8 APG, 23.30 PER, .518 TS%|
|FC||Dirk Nowitzki||21.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 2.9 APG, 23.9 PER, .589 TS%|
|FC||Dwight Howard||18.1 PPG, 12.5 RPG, 1.7 BPG, 21.12 PER, .581 TS%|
Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James
The two best players in the NBA both do a wonderful job of involving their teammates.
So, although there have been some classic showdowns between these two in games that come with their full-time teams, the one-on-one matchup doesn't always materialize
It will materialize in this exhibition game.
Both Durant and James will spent a lot of time with the ball in their hands, and I imagine even the other players on the court won't mind fixing their gaze onto the two superstars for a showdown.
What I'm most curious to see is the intensity that James will bring. The Oklahoma City Thunder just trounced James' Miami Heat. Also, with Durant dumping in 30 or more points every night, KD is quickly becoming the popular choice for this year's MVP award.
Paul George vs. Kevin Durant
The hype around the Durant-James rivalry is certainly understandable, but in the end, it may be this one that defines the season.
Paul George has led the Indiana Pacers to the East's best record with a spectacular brand of defense and offense.
The National Post's Eric Koreen named Durant the league's most valuable player for the first half of the season and George the most improved. This is a bit odd for George considering he won the award last year, but Koreen explains:
George won this award last year, but he has gone from all-star to superstar this year—his scoring and efficiency have improved dramatically, while he remains one of the league’s elite perimeter defenders. Several other players have become valuable rotation pieces or starters out of nowhere, but nobody’s ascent is more important for this year’s title chase than George’s.
I believe George has the best shot of slowing down Durant in a one-on-one setting, and I want several possessions in the upcoming exhibition game to put that match on display.
Also, I want to see George try to back up this statement:
Hey, look! There are big men in this game, too. That is not something you can tell by looking at the starters.
For my money, these two reserves were the biggest starting-lineup snubs.
Hibbert is the defensive heart of a Pacers defense that has the chance to be historically good. He is a monster around the rim and makes the job of perimeter defenders infinitely easier knowing he has their back.
Then there is LaMarcus Aldridge.
LaMarcus Aldridge had a big night in the Blazers Thursday win. Here’s why he should be starting the All-Star Game. http://t.co/M6Xoj3S1ML— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 24, 2014
The Portland Trail Blazer is averaging 24.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and one block with a PER of 23.3 for the season. He has also led the Blazers to the third-best record in the Western Conference.
It's hard to say how much time Hibbert and Aldridge will spend matched up against each other. Aldridge would be a strong option for the West at center to try to pull Hibbert out from under the basket.
In the end, I look for both players to come out determined to prove they belonged with the starters.
LaMarcus Aldridge: “I Definitely Should Have Been [An All Star] Starter” http://t.co/u627BLuK8t— Dime Magazine (@DimeMag) January 24, 2014
This will create for a fun battle on the boards and everywhere else on the court.