NBA All-Star Game Tips & Preview – Team LeBron V Team Durant

The daily NBA preview takes it to the rim with tips for the annual All-Star game, with Team LeBron aiming for a fifth consecutive win. 

12:00 (AEDT), Mon 8th Mar @ Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland

Last meeting: February 16, 2020: Team LeBron 170 d Team Giannis 150 at State Farm Arena

Final Thoughts: LeBron James leads a team bearing his name into the NBA All-Star game for the fifth time. His side will face a line-up helmed by Kevin Durant, who – as he was last year – is currently injured and will not play.

James’ fellow starters are Steph Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Anteokounmpo and Nikola Jokic. His bench includes Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Luka Doncic, Donovan Mitchell and first-time All-Stars Darius Garland, Fred VanVleet and Jarrett Allen, who replaces the injured James Harden.

Durant has 76ers big man Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Trae Young and All-Star debutants Ja Morant and Andrew Wiggins in a new-look starting five. Devin Booker, Zach LaVine, Rudy Gobert, Khris Middleton and Karl-Anthony Towns are on the bench, alongside All-Star newcomers LaMelo Ball and Dejounte Murray.

James’ teams have prevailed in all four All-Stars games since the East v West system was ditched in 2018.

Last year Team LeBron surged to a 170-150 victory in Atlanta – the All-Star game’s biggest margin since 2016. Antetokounmpo (35 pts, 7 reb) carried off the MVP award, while Curry (28 pts) and Damian Lillard (32 pts) both hit eight three-pointers. Chris Paul led the team with 8 rebounds and 16 assists. James (4 pts, 4 ast) played just 12 minutes.

Seven of the last eight All-Star games have produced totals of 312 points or more. The margin has been five points or less in seven of the last 11 encounters.

Lebron has won three All-Star MVP awards (2006, 2008, 2018) – one short of the record held by Bob Pettit and Kobe Bryant – while KD is a two-time winner (2012, 2019). Antetokounmpo ($5.00) is the favourite to go back-to-back, with Embiid and James (both $6.50) on the second line of All-Star MVP betting. A debutant has not won the MVP honour since 1987, but Morant ($7.00) shapes as a genuine chance of ending that drought.

On paper, Team LeBron should have the edge. In Jokic, Giannis and Curry, their starting line-up includes three of the top four contenders for the NBA regular-season MVP award, plus James. Embiid, Morant and Tatum provide Team Durant with an impressive nucleus, but LeBron, in particular, will be fired up to get the W in Cleveland.

Tip: Line/Total Double – Team LeBron -4.5/Over 319.5 @ $2.68