The 2012 NBA All-Star game, the L.A. story -

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When you sit down to watch the 61st NBA All-Star game played at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida at 4:30 PST on Sunday February 26, 2012 you might notice a strong local flavor. The Clippers and Lakers both have two players in today's game and all four are starters.

Kobe Bryant is the Western Conferences leading vote getter with 1,555, 479 votes earning his 14th consecutive All-Star game selection as the starting shooting guard. Joining Bryant in the starting lineup are Chris Paul (Clippers, 5th selection), Kevin Durant (Thunder, 3rd selection), Blake Griffin (Clippers, 2nd selection) and Andrew Bynum (Lakers, 1st selection).

It will be interesting to see Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant play together in the same backcourt. The pairing will allow Lakers fans to see not only what could have been, but also what David Stern did not allow to happen … for basketball reasons.

Western Conference All-Stars reserves: LaMarcus Aldridge (Blazers, 1st selection), Marc Gasol (Grizzlies, 1st selection), Kevin Love (Timberwolves, 1st selection), Steve Nash (Suns, 8th selection), Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks, 11th selection), Tony Parker (Spurs, 4th selection) and  Russell Westbrook (Thunder, 2nd selection). Scott Brooks, head coach Oklahoma City Thunder, will coach the West.

Dwight Howard is the Eastern Conference leading vote getter with 1,600,390 votes earning his sixth consecutive All-Star game selection as the starting center. Joining Howard in the starting lineup are Derrick Rose (Bulls, 3rd selection), Dwayne Wade (Heat, 8th selection), LeBron James (Heat, 8th selection) and Carmelo Anthony (Knicks, 5th selection).

Eastern Conference All-Star reserves: Chris Bosh (Heat, 7th selection), Luol Deng (Bulls, 1st selection), Roy Hibbert (Pacers, 1st selection), Andre Igoudala (76ers, 1st selection), Joe Johnson (Hawks, 6th selection – Injured), Deron Williams (Nets, 3rd selection), Paul Pierce (Celtics, 10th selection) and Rajon Rondo (Celtics, 3rd selection as replacement for Joe Johnson). Tom Thibodeau, head coach Chicago Bulls, will coach the East.

The rosters for the exhibition game, chosen in two ways, the starters selected via fan ballot, two guards, two forwards and one center who receive the highest vote. The reserves selected via votes of the NBA head coaches in their respective conferences. The coaches cannot select their own players.   

The All-Star game is a midseason showcase that features arguably the 24 best the league has to offer. The previous statement is up for debate. Every year several deserving players go un-selected for whatever reason.

This year a strong case can be made for Ryan Anderson – Magic; having a breakout year averaging 16.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and shooting 43 percent from the 3-point line. James Harden – Thunder, averaging 16.8 points, 3.5 assists, 4.0 rebounds with very efficient shooting numbers (47 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from the 3-point line and 86.9 percent from the free throw line) as a stabilizing force on a Thunder team tied for the best record in the league.

Pau Gasol – Lakers, Brandon Jennings – Bucks, Kyrie Irving – Cavaliers, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson – Jazz have all played well enough and have made a solid impact on their teams and deserve to be in uniform today as All-Stars.  

27 Feb, 2012

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