Feb 16, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Team LeBron forward LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts after a play during the fourth quarter during the 2020 NBA All Star Game at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
LeBron James seeks fifth straight win as team captain in the NBA All-Star Game
Kevin Durant will not be available for the game due to injury
Find the odds, betting analysis, and prediction below
In the latest NBA All-Star Game format, the King has been King.
Back in Cleveland, LeBron James will try to make it a perfect 5-for-5 as a captain, as Team LeBron seeks a second straight win against Team Durant.
Durant can only play GM role, as a knee injury has sidelined the Brooklyn Nets star, and his return to NBA play is expected later this month.
Not surprisingly, it’s Team LeBron listed as a 5.5-point favorite.
It tips off Sunday night at 8pm ET from Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, home of the Cavaliers and can be seen live on TNT.
2022 NBA All-Star Game Odds
Over 321.5 (-110)
Under 321.5 (-110)
Odds as of Feb 19 at BetMGM
All-Star Game Replacements
Durant is being replaced on the roster by Charlotte Hornets dynamo guard LaMelo Ball, while Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum slides into the starting lineup.
Golden State forward Draymond Green, one of the favorites in the 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year odds, will miss the game with a back injury. He’ll be replaced by Spurs’ guard Dejounte Murray, making his first all-star appearance.
Lots of ❤️ for @dariusgarland22 and @_bigjayy_ at #NBAAllStar Practice! #LetEmKnow pic.twitter.com/GajbMGzHr2
— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) February 19, 2022
Team LeBron’s lone injury is Philadelphia’s James Harden, who was dealt at the trade deadline by Brooklyn.
Harden has yet to suit up with his new team as he recovers from a hamstring injury, and will be replaced by Cavaliers’ big man Jarrett Allen.
Team LeBron Betting Analysis
James has done well piecing together strong rosters — he’s been a constant as captain since this format has started, topping Team Curry 148-145 back in 2018.
Lakers’ LeBron James on the All-Star Game: “It’s the only time and the only game throughout the season where I’m okay talking about my minutes.” pic.twitter.com/kTFGU2KsEe
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 19, 2022
LeBron’s first of two wins vs Team Giannis was in 2019, in a 178-164 drubbing. The following midseason showcase featuring the current Elam ending finish, as teams played an untimed fourth quarter, with a target score established by the team leading after the third quarter.
The mark was set as leading team +24, an homage to the late Kobe Bryant.
This was one of the memorable all-star games in recent memory, with Team LeBron overcoming a 9-point 4th-quarter deficit to win 157-155, with Anthony Davis hitting the clutch free throws to end it.
Last year, James’ squad blew out Team Durant 170-150. After not being able to top him, Giannis shined as one of James’ top draft picks, going a record 16-for-16 from the field en route to 35 points and taking MVP honors.
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Team Durant Betting Analysis
While James’ roster is dotted with usual all-star studs like Giannis, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic and Chris Paul, Durant’s side leans more on the size and potential front.
2 years ago, Embiid had this disgusting Dream Shake against Lebron in a close Allstar game
— 👽 (@SirEMBIID) February 19, 2022
With KD sidelined, it appears that 2022 NBA MVP odds favorite Joel Embiid becomes the centerpiece of the operation. Their side should have stellar big-man play throughout, as Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert are also on the roster.
First-time all-star Ja Morant, a virtual lock in the 2022 NBA Most Improved Player odds, could be an electric difference maker on Sunday. He’ll be flanked by fellow first-time lead guards Ball and Murray.
😤 44 PTS for Ja Morant 😤 pic.twitter.com/Ui2KX5buD7
— NBA (@NBA) February 17, 2022
Still, there’s a large scoring void without the captain, and Embiid will need support from guys like Devin Booker, Trae Young, Zach LaVine and Tatum to step into a starring role among stars to keep this from a second consecutive blowout.
NBA All-Star Game Prediction
Even with LeBron’s great statistical season, he’s basically built a roster that will allow him to play around the 13 minutes he logged last all-star game.
Since this fantasy draft format was adopted, there have been two games that have come down to a final possession and two have ended in a blowout. Team LeBron has gone 3-1 ATS in this format.
In terms of total, only one of the four games has crossed this current 321.5 mark, with last year’s game falling 1.5 points short.
There’s always a question of energy and effort in these contests, and if it’s close in the fourth quarter, it’s likely we’ll get to see a finish like 2020.
It all depends if Team Durant can stay in range, which looks a little daunting just looking up and down the rosters. Couple that with LeBron returning to Cleveland, and this one could get ugly.
The pick: Team LeBron -5.5 (-110)