NBA All-Stars to put on a high scoring show in Toronto
Robbie Purves | February 12, 2016
West v East
- NBA All-Star Game
- Monday, February 15th
- Tipoff: 01:00 GMT
- Air Canada Centre
- BT Sport 1
The league’s elite flock to Toronto
As the last piece of confetti fell on the turf in San Francisco at Super Bowl 50, the eyes of US sports fans now turn to the NBA All-Star game.
The NBA’s best talent will be on show in Toronto, Canada, this weekend as retiring Kobe Bryant makes his farewell, 18th All-Star appearance.
Players like Steph Curry, LeBron James and Kevin Durant lead the way, with both Eastern and Western Conferences boasting impressive rosters.
The West will have a starting line-up of; Curry (Golden State), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City), Kobe (Los Angeles Lakers), Durant (Oklahoma City) and Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio). Fans vote on who should start the game, and therefore a player’s popularity often counts more than merit or skill.
Reigning MVP Curry will be leading the West against the East. They have a wealth of scorers on their roster including Durant and Kawhi Leonard and look to set to out score the East by a big margin.
Kobe is having a far from sterling season by his standards but, as a result of the voting system, will start after heading the voting by a significant margin. He announced his retirement from the game with an ode to basketball poem, which declared his love for the game but said how he just couldn’t continue putting his body under the strain of the NBA.
LeBron leads East in his 12th All-Star appearance
The East will start with Dwyane Wade (Miami), Kyle Lowry (Toronto), LeBron (Cleveland), Paul George (Indiana), Carmelo Anthony (New York). Wade was perhaps a surprise inclusion as his 15-16 season numbers are not great. Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas is averaging three points and two assist more than Wade, yet was second bottom of the Eastern Conference’s guard voting leaderboard.
In three of the last four All-Star games the sides have scored more than 300 points and both teams suggest we are in for another high scoring affair. Coral has the total points total to be over 311.5 at 19/20.
Russell Westbrook took the games All-Star MVP award last year – scoring 41 points. Westbrook is could put in another special performance but, with Curry performing the way he is with the flying Golden State Warriors, he is the most likely candidate to collect the award this year.
Porzingis to shine in Rising Stars Challenge
The NBA has made its All-Star weekend into a must watch event. Along with the now infamous Slam Dunk Contest and the celebrity game which will see rapper Drake coach one of the teams – the Rising Stars Challenge will take place at 02:00 GMT. The Rising Stars Challenge will see first and second year players meet in a USA v The World matchup.
Latvia and New York Knicks’ star, Kristaps Porziņgis with Canadian Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins will line up against 2015 slam dunk winning Zach LaVine and the 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor – amongst others.
With their talented roster, Team World could cause an upset and are 9/4 to beat Team USA.