NBA All Star Game News and Notes

NBA All Star Game News and Notes

All-Star Wagering
By Josh Jacobs

The sentiment shared by most, including bettors and handicappers, is that the All-Star game should be avoided for your own good. College basketball on Saturday has filled the void for what’s a relatively quiet weekend of wagering. But if you’re hard pressed for a Sunday trip to the window and the handful of college tip-offs aren’t your cup of tea, then the All-Star game is one of few options.

Last year, LeBron James and Ray Allen helped the East squeeze off a 134-128 win in New Orleans. Most books had installed the East as a hefty, eight-point underdog while the total failed to go ‘over’ the 265 ½-points by an ever so slight, half-point.


In this hyped pick up game, the Eastern Conference has four, first-time selections on its roster. Those players include Danny Granger (25.4 PPG, 5 RPG), Mo Williams (17.1 PPG, 4.1 APG), Devin Harris (21.8 PPG, 6.5 APG) and Jameer Nelson (16.7 PPG, 5.4 APG). Unfortunately for Nelson, a tear of the labrum in his right shoulder suffered in a 105-95 loss against the Mavericks on Feb. 2 shutdown Orlando’s point guard for the season. Boston’s veteran guard, Ray Allen (17.9 PPG, 2.8 APG) will take spot on the bench in Nelson’s absence.

Coming out of the tunnel for the East will be Dwyane Wade (28.3 PPG, 7 APG), Allen Iverson (18.2 PPG, 5.1 APG), Dwight Howard (20.5 PPG, 14.1 RPG), LeBron James and Kevin Garnett (16.4 PPG, 8.9 RPG). This is a starting group of players who combine for 35 All-Star appearances.

The Western Conference will field Kobe Bryant (27.7 PPG, 5 APG), Chris Paul (21.3 PPG, 10.8 APG), Yao Ming (19.8 PPG, 9.6 RPG), Amare Stoudemire (21 PPG, 8.1 RPG) and Tim Duncan (20.8 PPG, 10.5 RPG) on the hardwood to begin the contest. But in comparison to the four (three active) first-year players taking a seat on the East’s bench, the West claims supremacy in All-Star experience.

This is a group composed of wily veterans such as Shaquille O’Neal (17.3 PPG, 8.9 RPG), Tony Parker (20.4 PPG, 6.4 APG) and Chauncey Billups (18 PPG, 6.2 APG). But to dissect and argue who’s got the more talented team is a moot point. This is especially true given the lack of defense played.

The Numbers

If the roster doesn’t necessarily help us to decipher what will result in Sunday’s gathering maybe historical scores, spreads and totals will. Take a look at the following table. Here we have results from the last 10 All-Star games (the 1998-99 season had no All-Star game played due to the lockout).

All-Star Game History

Year     Result     Spread     Total
2008     East 134, West 128     East +8     Under 262.5
2007     West 153, East 132     West -4 1/2     Under 256.5
2006     East 122, West 120     East +4 1/2     Under 257
2005     East 125, West 115     East +5 1/2     Under 263
2004     West 136, East 132     East +7     Over 255
2003     West 155, East 145     West -5     Over 255
2002     West 135, East 120     West -2     Over 253
2001     East 111, West 110     East +4     Under 257
2000     West 137, East 126     West -4 1/2     Over 255
1998     East 132, West 120     East -7     Over 250

What we get is both teams splitting five wins apiece with the East taking the financial edge a 6-4 record against the spread. And although the total is also at 5-5, the ‘under’ has been the play of recent games, going a perfect 4-0 in the last four years.

But as tough as it might be to pick the winner in these contests, books have also suffered. In just three of the last 10 games, books listed a total that has come within two points of the actual score. In-fact most betting spots have been off the mark by an average of 17.3 PPG. In 2003 that margin defined the difficulty of predicting the final outcome of these contests as the West outpointed the East, 155-145 in double overtime.

This time around, has listed the West as 4 ½-point favorites with a total of 263 attached. This is the 14th time since 1990 that books have decided to list the Western Conference All-Star team as a favorite.

The fact remains that each one of these Sunday games displays all offense and no defense. This in turn drives totals through the roof and point spreads which might otherwise represent football matchups. To complicate matters is the unpredictable 11-11 ATS record between both squads.

If you must lay down action on the largest pickup game in the NBA then basketball instinct and general intuition might be the way to go.

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Re: NBA All Star Game News and Notes

What bettors need to know: NBA All-Star game

East All-Stars vs. West All-Stars (-4.5, 263)

There’s no question what the overriding story is heading into Sunday’s All-Star game in Phoenix: Shaq and Kobe together again.

While Kobe Bryant will probably be an All-Star for the rest of his career, barring injury, Shaquille O’Neal is enjoying a renaissance season. The Big Cactus is playing his best basketball since leading the Heat to the title. He’s participating in his 15th All-Star game (first as a coach’s selection), the most among active players and second all time to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Shaq is averaging 17.3 points (highest since '05-06) and 8.9 rebounds while shooting 58 percent and blocking 1.5 shots a game, and his numbers are above those in the past two months.

On Sunday, he will play on the same team with Bryant for the first time since the 2004 NBA finals, when the Lakers were knocked off by Detroit and precipitated the Kobe-Shaq divorce. O’Neal says most of that supposed bickering was a media creation and that the two are on friendly terms.

"Kobe's playing at a very high level right now,” Shaq said to reporters. “It'll be like old times. I can remember, not that long ago, we were the best tandem ever created in the game. So it's going to be fun out there."

The East has won three of the past four games and LeBron James has won two of the past three MVP awards.

Does size matter? The West has the size advantage in this game - are four 7-footers are on the West squad. Tim Duncan, Amare Stoudemire, Yao Ming, Dirk Nowitzki, Shaquille O’Neal, Pau Gasol and David West are all comfortable banging bodies in the paint.

The East has mega-stars in big men Dwight Howard (probably the best of them all) and Kevin Garnett, but that’s about it in terms of true frontcourt players. Toss in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade into the mix and the East’s starting lineup looks to be the better of the two.

The East’s forwards, James, Danny Granger, Rashard Lewis and Paul Pierce, spend much more time outside the paint than they do in it. The loss of power forward Chris Bosh (injury) should hurt for depth in paint.

Bet on Kobe or LeBron? The debate rages on which is better, and they have dominated the All-Star game MVP award lately. James has won two of the past three, taking it home in 2008 after scoring 27 points, handing out nine assists and grabbing eight boards. James also holds the current highest All-Star career scoring average at 24.3 points.

He should be aided by the fact Cavs coach Mike Brown will be guiding the Eastern club.

Kobe, meanwhile, wasn’t a factor last year because of that injury but won the MVP 2007 All-Star game. He also took the honor in 2002.

No matter what you do, bet on a future Hall of Famer. There really hasn’t been an MVP winner not bound for Springfield since Glen Rice in 1997.

A few numbers: The winning team in this game has scored fewer than 130 points just six times in the past 25 All-Star Games. However, this year’s opening total of 263 might be a tad high it has been surpassed just three times since 2000 (tied once). The record is 303, set in 1987.

That opening line of 4.5 this year would have come into play for the underdog just three times since 1994.

The Western Conference has a 5-4 edge over the East in the All-Star game since 2000. But the last three times the game as been in a Western Conference city (not counting the 2007 game in Vegas), the East has won. The game hasn’t been played in an Eastern Conference town since 2003. The East leads overall 35-22.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson is 2-1 as an All-Star coach. He lost as East coach in his debut in 1992 but won in 1996. His lone stint as West coach was a win in 2000.

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2009 Eastern Conference All-Stars

1 * Allen Iverson (Detroit) G 6-0 180 07/07/75 Georgetown

3 * Dwyane Wade (Miami) G 6-4 216 01/17/82 Marquette

23 * LeBron James (Cleveland) F 6-8 250 12/30/84 St. Vincent/St. Mary HS

5 * Kevin Garnett (Boston) F 6-11 220 05/19/76 Farragut Academy (HS)

12 * Dwight Howard (Orlando) C 6-11 265 12/08/85 SW Atlanta Christian Academy (GA)

2 Joe Johnson (Atlanta) G 6-7 235 06/29/81 Arkansas

14 # i Jameer Nelson (Orlando) G 6-0 190 02/09/82 Saint Joseph's

20 Ray Allen (Boston) G 6-5 205 07/20/75 Connecticut

33 # Danny Granger (Indiana) F-G 6-8 228 04/20/83 New Mexico

34 Paul Pierce (Boston) F 6-7 235 10/13/77 Kansas

4 i Chris Bosh (Toronto) F 6-10 230 03/24/84 Georgia Tech

2 # Mo Williams (Cleveland) G 6-1 190 12/19/82 Alabama

34 # Devin Harris (New Jersey) G 6-3 185 02/27/83 Wisconsin

9 Rashard Lewis (Orlando) F 6-10 230 08/08/79 Alief Elsik HS (TX)

Head Coach: Mike Brown (Cleveland)

2009 Western Conference All-Stars

24 * Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers) G 6-6 205 08/23/78 Lower Merion HS

3 * Chris Paul (New Orleans) G 6-0 175 05/06/85 Wake Forest

21 * Tim Duncan (San Antonio) F 6-11 260 04/25/76 Wake Forest

1 * Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix) F 6-10 245 11/16/82 Cypress Creek (Orlando, FL)

11 * Yao Ming (Houston) C 7-6 310 9/12/80 China

41 Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas) F 7-0 245 06/19/78 Germany

32 Shaquille O'Neal (Phoenix) C 7-1 325 03/06/72 Louisiana State

7 Brandon Roy (Portland) G 6-6 211 07/23/84 Washington

7 Chauncey Billups (Denver) G 6-3 202 09/25/76 Colorado

16 Pau Gasol (L.A. Lakers) F-C 7-0 250 07/06/80 Spain

30 David West (New Orleans) F 6-9 240 08/29/80 Xavier (OH)

9 Tony Parker (San Antonio) G 6-2 180 05/17/82 France

Head Coach: Phil Jackson (L.A. Lakers)

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