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Team LeBron vs Team Giannis
2019 NBA All Stars match
|Venue: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC|
|Match time: Fulltime|
|Team LeBron||Team Giannis|
It’s All Star time! Team Giannis tackles Team Lebron, as the highly entertaining 2019 NBA All-Star weekend draws to a close. Join The Roar for lives scores and a blog of the match, starting from 12 noon AEDT.
The NBA All Star game rolls into Charlotte for the 2019 version of the 68-year-old competition.
First held to distract basketball fans from the now infamous Point Shaving gambling scandal of the 1950s, it has become a mainstay on the NBA calendar ever since.
The NBA All Star starters are decided by a combination of fan, coach and media voting – with the remaining 14 reserves selected by head coaches in the league.
Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were the two highest vote-getters from this format – and were subsequently appointed captains of the two sides. It is the second year running that this has occurred.
Two seasons ago, the NBA abolished the ‘East vs West’ structure of the All-Star game, instead allowing a pool of players to be picked, who were then sorted into teams (think playground style).
American TV broadcasted the ‘draft’ of the two sides for the first time this year, with the two captains selecting one after the other until the cupboard was bare.
Last year was one of the more competitive all-star games in recent memory, with many pundits putting it down to the aforementioned abolition of the East vs West structure of a (now) bygone era.
Often the winner of the All-Star game was a mere reflection of which conference was stronger season to season.
With the fluid, pro mobility nature of the league as it exists in its current form, it makes for more exciting viewing having this new format locked in for years to come.
A brief glance at the two starting lineups sees an edge for Team Lebron.
He has the reigning MVP, and point-scoring phenom James Harden, the mercurial Kevin Durant, arguably the best two-way player in the league in Kawhi Leonard, and his former teammate, Olympic gold medallist and NBA champion Kyrie Irving. That is scary.
Team Giannis isn’t bad mind you.
Alongside the captain, Joel Embiid is the best big man in the league right now, Paul George is shooting the lights out for the Oklahoma City Thunder, Steph Curry is, well, Steph Curry – I fully expect him to hit a rainbow from beyond half court this afternoon, and Kemba Walker is having a career scoring season, playing in front of his home fans in Charlotte.
The benches match up well, but Team Giannis’ artillery slightly shades James’.
I say that, because Nikola Jokic, Khris Middleton, Nikola Vucevic and D’Ángelo Russell are all first-time all-stars who have a point to prove.
They will play hard when they get minutes, and keep the intensity flowing in a match that very occasionally can lose its flow, as players look for highlight dunks and funky passes on every second play.
There’s a lot of trash talkers on the floor, some compelling sub-plots between and around players, and, most importantly, a collection of insane basketballers. It will be a lot of fun.
It won’t be the comfortable Team LeBron win that many predict, but I think they will just have too much for Giannis’ men, squeezing home in the fourth.
Team LeBron by 4
Where: Spectrum Center, Charlotte, NC
When: Monday, Feb. 18
LeBrown James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden
Reserves: Anthony Davis, Klay Thompson, Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, LaMarcus Aldridge, Karl-Anthony Towns, Bradley Beal, Dwayne Wade.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George, Kemba Walker
Reserves: Khris Middleton, Nikola Jokic, Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, D’Angelo Russell, Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Lowry, Dirk Nowitzki