Heat, Thunder prepared to take NBA All-Star Game by storm? - Washington Examiner

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LeBron, Durant shine for conference leaders

The Academy Awards may lack a true blockbuster this year, but the same can't be said about the 61st NBA All-Star Game.

With Miami and Oklahoma City leading the Eastern and Western Conferences into the midseason break, and expected by many to be the last teams standing when the NBA Finals start in June, their respective stars are likely to shine and take over at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.

East All-Stars *Starter; +Injured, won't play
Carmelo Anthony* (New York)
LeBron James* (Miami)
Derrick Rose* (Chicago)
Dwyane Wade* (Miami)
Dwight Howard* (Orlando)
Chris Bosh (Miami)
Luol Deng (Chicago)
Roy Hibbert (Indiana)
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia)
Joe Johnson+ (Atlanta)
Paul Pierce (Boston)
Rajon Rondo (Boston)
Deron Williams (New Jersey)
Coach: Tom Thibodeau (Chicago)
West All-Stars
Kevin Durant* (Oklahoma City)
Blake Griffin* (L.A. Clippers)
Kobe Bryant* (L.A. Lakers)
Chris Paul* (L.A. Clippers)
Andrew Bynum* (L.A. Lakers)
LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland)
Marc Gasol (Memphis)
Kevin Love (Minnesota)
Steve Nash (Phoenix)
Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas)
Tony Parker (San Antonio)
Russell Westbrook (Okla. City)
Coach: Scott Brooks (Oklahoma City)

Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who is second in the NBA in scoring (27.9 points a game), will make his second straight All-Star Game start. Third-leading scorer and fellow NBA MVP front-runner LeBron James (27.4 ppg, 8.1 rebounds, 6.8 assists a game) and Heat teammate Dwyane Wade come into the weekend riding an eight-game winning streak that snuffed out the Jeremy Lin craze Thursday.

Of course, the NBA's leading scorer is four-time All-Star Game MVP Kobe Bryant (28.4 ppg), who may have to step aside reluctantly just as the Los Angeles Lakers had to in the playoffs last spring against Dallas. Bryant's biggest challenge this season shares Staples Center. The Los Angeles Clippers boast two West starters in Chris Paul and his lob-targeted teammate Blake Griffin, who at 22 is the youngest and least experienced All-Star.

While last year's game featured only three first-timers, this year's contest will have three debuts on each side.

Without Yao Ming, Tim Duncan and Pau Gasol, Lakers center Andrew Bynum will start in his first All-Star Game, while Marc Gasol ensures that the Spanish family's legacy still continues. With Carmelo Anthony starting for the East, room for Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge also became available.

Anthony's New York Knicks teammate Amare Stoudemire didn't earn a trip to Orlando, and neither did perennial Boston Celtics stars Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.

Instead, Chicago swingman Luol Deng, Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala and Indiana and former Georgetown center Roy Hibbert will make their All-Star debuts on the East bench.

"Just how far he's come from the time he walked on campus here, I haven't coached anyone who's worked as hard as Roy," Hoyas coach John Thompson III said.


26 Feb, 2012

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNGq3Ubq8wFV6pjMHlJYXWnbwIF4VQ&url=http://washingtonexaminer.com/sports/nba/2012/02/heat-thunder-prepared-take-nba-all-star-game-storm/312531
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