NBA All-Star Game 2014: Predicting the Top Performers from Each Conference

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NBA All-Star Game 2014: Predicting the Top Performers from Each Conference
Ben Margot/Associated Press

If you're a fan of offense, then the NBA All-Star Game is for you. The 2014 edition of this contest is sure to bring about plenty of firepower from two very talented and deep rosters.

Since the same faces generally continue to show up at this event each year, we have a pretty good idea as to what they are capable of accomplishing in the game. In 2013, the Western Conference beat the Eastern Conference by a score of 143-138.

This year should feature the same kind of high-octane basketball.

With so many points sure to be scored on Sunday night, let's take a look at which players will come away with the top performances from each conference and give a prediction as to what kind of numbers they will put up.

 

Eastern Conference

LeBron James, Miami Heat

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

James is a two-time All-Star Game MVP and is no stranger to this event. Last year, he put up 19 points, three rebounds and five assists. Expect those numbers to increase in 2014.

In a tight race with Kevin Durant for league MVP, James will surely want to put on a dazzling performance to gain the favor of voters. He enters this contest on a hot streak, scoring at least 30 points in five of his last seven games.

Not only has been been shooting well from the field, but he has stepped up his game in all areas. Despite a massive amount of points scored in that span, he still recorded at least seven assists four times and at least eight rebounds five times.

James looks like the epitome of the all-around, do-it-all player that he can be when he's in top form. It also helps that he has teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to help him along.

One last nugget of information on James: He's chasing history, according to Zach Harper of CBSSports.com:

LeBron James needs 21 points to pass Oscar Robertson for fourth-most points in All-Star Game history. He needs 26 to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for third most and 37 to pass Michael Jordan for No. 2. If he manages to drop 55 points, he'll pass Kobe Bryant and become the all-time leader in All-Star Game points.

He'll surpass at least two of those names on Sunday night.

Prediction: 34 points, six rebounds, four assists

 

Western Conference

Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Sure, this seems like a rather easy pick. After all, Durant is right up there in the race for the league's MVP honors. However, this pick would have gone to Chris Paul had he been completely healthy, but Paul is just coming off of a shoulder injury and may not play at 100 percent on Sunday.

Durant, on the other hand, is completely healthy and will look to record at least 30 points in his fourth-consecutive All-Star Game.

The West is filled with an immensely versatile amount of talent. From the big-bodied Blake Griffin to the long-range shooting Stephen Curry.

Some may think that having that kind of a talented cast around Durant could hinder his performance. Actually, it will be the other way around.

With so much attention being paid to players across the board, Durant will see more one-on-one matchups than he has all season long. His ability to put up points on thin defense will be fully on display during Sunday's contest.

We all know that Durant has been fantastic throughout the 2013-14 season; however, it looks as though he's been saving his best for the month of February.

Through seven games this month, Durant has tallied a monster average of 33.1 points per game. He has also averaged 8.3 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game over that span. Like James, Durant is coming into this contest riding a severe hot streak.

Not only will Durant come away as the top performer for the Western Conference, but he will surpass James once again to earn All-Star Game MVP honors.

Prediction: 42 points, eight rebounds, two assists

 

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