The NBA: Stars Are Aligned

Meet the starters for the 2012 NBA All-Star Game.
(finished image by Hoop Nut; faces from Yahoo! Sports,
and jersey images from SB Nation)

*Unless otherwise specified, all images are by the Associated Press.

EAST All-Star Starters: Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose

WEST All-Star Starters: Andrew Bynum, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul

That’s 7 of my 10 picks right there. I voted for Josh Smith as an East forward, Pau Gasol as the West center, and Kevin Love as a West forward. I can live with the choices, though, since Melo, Bynum and Blake should provide some nice highlights that will make us flood YouTube.

Now for the reserves.

Here are, whom I believe, are some prime candidates for either team: (leaving out the injured guys)

EAST Centers: Joakim Noah, Tyson Chandler, and Greg Monroe
EAST Forwards: Josh Smith, Ryan Anderson, Chris Bosh, Danny Granger, Paul Pierce, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Garnett, Amar’e Stoudemire
EAST Guards: Brandon Jennings, Joe Johnson, Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Kyrie Irving

WEST Centers: Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Al Jefferson, Tim Duncan
WEST Forwards: Kevin Love, Paul Millsap, Danilo Gallinari, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, Rudy Gay
WEST Guards: Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry, Kevin Martin, Steph Curry, Ricky Rubio, Steve Nash, Jason Terry, Monta Ellis, Tyreke Evans

Based on the starters alone, I think the East will have a bit of an edge. They have the best center in the world, they have the reigning MVP, and they have, admittedly, the best all-around player on the planet (yes, that’s LBJ).

The East should win.

Oh, but they have Melo.


After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

MEM over ATL, 96-77 – Finally. After failing to book a W in Atlanta for a little more than 6 years, the Grizz finally bagged one. And how! Rudy Gay led 4 other Grizzlies in scoring twin digits to help Memphis snap an Atlanta-losing spell dating back to late 2005.
CHI over NYK, 105-102 – Derrick Rose displayed paramount fortitude in repeatedly turning back the Knicks’ rallies as the Bulls find themselves amidst a 9-game road trip. The Knicks, meanwhile, have lost their 10th in 12 games.
SAS over NOH, 93-81 – Tim Duncan is still hanging in there, and so are the Spurs. TD scored 19 points as the Spurs ran past the Hornets in the final frame to get their 3rd straight victory. He’ll probably see some rest time, however, as the Spurs plan on preserving him as much as they can.
SAC over POR, 95-92 – John Salmons hit three triples and shot 8-of-14 overall from the field to help Sacramento get only its 2nd win over the Blazers in 14 meetings. For his part, Salmons is hoping this performance will check his shooting slump – 35% from the field and just 21% from beyond the arc prior to this game.
GSW over UTA, 119-101 – When Steph Curry, Monta Ellis, and David Lee all combine for 85 points, the Warriors will surely be pretty tough to beat. This was the Warriors’ highest-scoring game of the season, and they hope they can continue against the Kings on Sunday (Manila time).
DEN over LAC, 112-91 – Timofey Mozgov probably didn’t like that his chief claim to fame was being on the wrong end of a Blake Griffin dunk back in 2010, and that Griffin was probably pumped to do a number on him again after posterizing Kendrick Perkins two days ago. So when the Clips’ All-Star forward tried to jam it home against Mozgov in the 3rd canto, the Russian shut the door hard and made sure it was Griffin’s to look up.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) – 34
Monta Ellis (GSW) – 33
Derrick Rose (CHI) – 32
Steph Curry (GSW) – 29
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) - 28

Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) & David Lee (GSW) – 14
Jason Thompson (SAC) & Dante Cunningham (MEM) – 12

LaMarcus Aldridge's big double-double still wasn't
enough for the Blazers to prevail over Sacramento.

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Derrick Rose (CHI) & Jamal Tinsley (UTA) - 13
Steph Curry (GSW) – 12

Derrick Rose's 13 assists helped stymie the late
rally of the New York Knicks.

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Mike Conley (MEM) – 4
A LOT with 3

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) & Marcus Camby (POR) – 5
Joakim Noah (CHI) – 4

Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Danilo Gallinari (DEN) – 5
Kyle Korver (CHI), John Salmons (SAC), Landry Fields (NYK), & Monta Ellis (GSW) – 3

Feb. 2, 2012 First Five
C – LaMarcus Aldridge (POR) – 28pts, 14rebs, 2asts
F – Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) – 34pts, 11rebs, 2asts, 1stl, 1blk
F – Danilo Gallinari (DEN) – 21pts, 6rebs, 5 treys, 4asts
G – Derrick Rose (CHI) – 32pts, 13asts, 4rebs, 1stl
G – Steph Curry (GSW) – 29pts, 12asts, 5rebs, 3stls

Danilo Gallinari has been the most golden nugget for
Denver this season.

Honorable Mention:
Monta Ellis (GSW) – 33pts, 4rebs, 3stls, 3 treys, 2asts
Tim Duncan (SAS) – 19pts, 9rebs, 2stls, 1ast, 1blk
David Lee (GSW) – 23pts, 14rebs, 2asts

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:

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