The NBA All-Star Game received a refreshing boost a year ago, when the format was altered to two teams selected by captains.
The 2019 edition of the All-Star Game will try to bank off the momentum of the competitive contest at Staples Center to further reinforce how much the format change was needed.
For the second year in a row, LeBron James is a captain of one squad, and his team will be opposed by a team captained by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone will be in charge of Team LeBron sideline, while the Milwaukee Bucks' Mike Budenholzer teams up with two of his star players as head coach of Team Giannis.
2019 NBA All-Star Game Information
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
For the second consecutive season, the All-Star Game rosters were chosen through a draft, headlined by the top two players in the fan vote.
James and Antetokounmpo alternated selections in the draft to select their respective rosters, with the starters chosen first.
The game itself is your typical regulation basketball game that lasts four quarters, but the All-Star Game is typically more high-scoring than regular-season or playoff contests.
Team LeBron 151, Team Giannis 144
Sunday's game should follow the trend set by the 2018 edition, as more defense will be played once the second half begins.
In the two previous years before the format change, the victorious team scored more than 190 points, and while more offense is good, the crowd also appreciates a bit of defense during some stretches of the contest.
On paper, Team LeBron has the stronger roster and is chock-full of experienced stars on both the starters and reserves list.
The two-time All-Star captain and James Harden should burden most of the scoring responsibilities at the start for Team LeBron, while Kawhi Leonard will be tasked with being the team's defensive stopper.
The one advantage Team Giannis should have from the start is its paint presence, as Joel Embiid and Antetokounmpo should receive opportunities to score down low with no traditional frontcourt star in the Team LeBron starting five.
But once Team LeBron starts to make adjustments, that will change, as Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and LaMarcus Aldridge will rotate on to the floor.
Team LeBron's scoring rhythm shouldn't be hampered at any stage, either, with Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal coming off the bench.
The Team Giannis bench is made up of first-time All-Stars and a few veterans, and how those groups of players mesh together will be crucial to the squad's success.
Russell Westbrook and Blake Griffin should be the driving forces off the bench to start for Team Giannis before D'Angelo Russell, Khris Middleton and others take over the scoring duties.
The only concern for Team Giannis is it might lack chemistry from the start, which won't be a problem for Team LeBron, which boasts stars who have played with or against each other for years and know all of the strengths and weaknesses of their teammates.
With four first-time All-Star selections on its roster, Team Giannis may be forced to come back after dealing with some first-half struggles.
The fourth quarter will be decided by James, who is a three-time All-Star Most Valuable Player, Harden, Antetokounmpo and a few others.
While the final score will be close, the advantage opened up by Team LeBron in the first half will be enough to keep it ahead until the final buzzer.
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