Team Giannis at Team LeBron
|Date & Time||Sunday February 17, 2019, 8:00 PM (EST)|
Charlotte, North Carolina
The Line: Team Giannis +6 -- Over/Under: 300.5
Team LeBron and Team Giannis meet Sunday in the NBA All-Star Game at the Spectrum Center.
Team LeBron will be led by Denver Nuggets Michael Malone, who has turned a non playoff team into a squad pushing for the top seed in the West. Team LeBron has an absolutely loaded starting five of Kevin Durant, LeBron, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. It really doesn’t get much better than that, and that’s without mentioning a bench made up of Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and Ben Simmons. It’s kind of ridiculous LeBron was able to put together a roster this stacked, as you can make a case this is one of the most talented rosters we’ve seen in the All-Star Game in over a decade. There’s really no weakness to Team LeBron and they have guys who can lockup defensively when they decide to play hard in the final 12 minutes. All-Star games are all about having fun and enjoying the moment, but Team LeBron has to feel it’s supposed to win this game given the collection of talent on this side. Anything else besides a comfortable win would be a letdown for Team LeBron.
Team Giannis will be coached by Mike Budenholzer of the Milwaukee Bucks, the most consistent team in the league up to this point and he should be frontrunner for coach of the year. Team Giannis has arguably the top-two players in the running for MVP in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George leading its starting five, while Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid and Kemba Walker round out the starting unit. Outside of Curry, you question the outside shooting on this squad, but having Walker could be key, as players may force feed him with the game being in his building the same way they did Anthony Davis when the game was in New Orleans. Russell Westbrook is also coming off the bench for Team Giannis, and we all know how serious he takes these games. Team Giannis is a much more thin roster compared to Team LeBron, but the top heavy talent could be enough to make this game interesting.
On paper, Team LeBron should win this game by a lot and I wouldn’t talk you out of it taking the chalk. However, these are meaningless exhibition games at the end of the day and it consists of wide open threes and uncontested dunks for the first three quarters. The game really comes down to a squad that can put together a two or three minute stretch of quality defense. There’s a reason why nine of the last 11 all-star games have been decided by eight or less points. Even when the West was beating up on the East, those games were close. So, while I wouldn’t be shocked at Team LeBron moping the floor with its opponent in this contest, history suggests taking the points.