The 62nd NBA All-Star Game will take place tonight at 8 p.m. EST in Houston, Texas.
The Western Conference won the game last year 152-149 and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant was named the MVP with 36 points.
Durant will come into this year’s game as the favorite to win the MVP award again. LeBron James is a close second but when it comes to winning MVPs in All-Star Games, Durant is the best.
Durant has the all-time highest scoring average in All-Star Game history at 28.3 points per game. He also became the first player to score 30 or more points in consecutive All-Star Games last year.
Durant even has the all-time scoring record in the Rookie-Sophomore Game with 46 points back in 2009.
Durant, who has led the league in scoring three straight seasons and doing it again this year, will likely light it up again tonight. Durant only knows one speed when he is on a basketball court. While most players tone it down a little in games like this, Durant’s version of that is still one that fills it up in a heartbeat.
The only way you are winning the All-Star Game MVP is if your team wins the game. The one man that may stand in the way of Durant winning this is his teammate: Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard.
Howard is the complete opposite of Durant in these games. He doesn’t take them seriously at all and will be more interested in shooting threes and handling the ball on the perimeter than winning. There’s nothing wrong with having fun during this game but when doing so keeps you from competing and giving the fans a good product on the floor, it’s a huge problem.
A big reason why the West got out to a big lead on the East last year was Howard. Howard had nine points in the game and went 0-for-4 from three-point range.
The West will have to try and overcome a silly Howard to come out on top tonight and give Durant a chance to win the MVP again.
There’s a good chance the MVP and the outcome of the game will come down to a showdown between Durant and LeBron. They will be guarding each other from the start in this one and should be down the stretch as well if the game is close.
LeBron also scored 36 points last year in a loss and is the second all-time points per game leader in All-Star history at 25.9. He’s been on another level this season and especially lately when it comes to shooting. If he can carry that momentum into tonight where there is less defense than ever then he could really challenge Durant for the MVP.
We could also see a more passive Durant in this game. He’s been more of a passer this season trying to emulate LeBron to a degree. If he lets up even a little and plays that role tonight, it could cost him the MVP.
Coverage of the game will begin at 7 p.m. EST on TNT. The game will tip-off shortly after 8 p.m. EST.