Can the East take this year’s All-Star Game?

Can the East take this year’s All-Star Game?

21:15 SAST | 10 Feb 2017

The Western Conference All-Stars have won four of the last five NBA All-Star games and this has done much to support the opinion the West is the stronger of the two conferences.

The last time the East won was in 2014 and coincidentally, it was in New Orleans and they had a reasonably strong starting lineup which included LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George.

This year, the All-Star Weekend returns to New Orleans and features an equally strong Eastern Conference squad that might just be able to pull off another win.

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LeBron James will be making his 13th appearance, Kyrie Irving, who was the 2014 All-Star MVP, will be back for the fourth time, DeMar DeRozan, who had his All-Star debut in 2014 returns for the third time, Chicago Bulls sharp shooter Jimmy Butler got selected for his third appearance and Nigerian-Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo will make his much-deserved debut at the event.

Just one look at this year’s list of starters from the Eastern Conference, one can see that they have a good chance of winning the game although they will be up against some very strong competition in Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis.

Being that it is an All-Star matchup and does not come with the pressures of a regular season or playoffs game, the boys from the East could take the night with some great plays.

James’ All-Star stats are not too different from his regular season averages with 24.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game, Irving averages 19 points, 4.7 rebounds and 7.7 assists, Butler and Antetokounmpo are yet to make their marks on the All-Star scoreboard, but if their regular season numbers are anything to go by, they are bound to have quite an impact as starters this year.

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It goes without saying that Western Conference squad will not let them have it easy and will also come with an efficient lineup of strong reserves, but the East reserves are not second-rate players either.

One way they could potentially take the game is by going against All-Star Game trends and turning up their defensive play. James, Butler and Antetokounmpo are very efficient on the offensive end and could put some good pressure on their Western Conference counterparts.

The rotation with some of the reserves will also determine their chances of victory as they have some great offensive and defensive talent to choose from on the bench.

Either way, this year’s East – West clash promises to be an exciting game that will be worth staying up for. It will be broadcast on Kwesé sports on Monday, 20 February at 3 am CAT.

By Kaunda Chama

@therealkaunda on Twitter

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