Blake Griffin has played in every NBA All Star Game of his career, but he'll miss this one while recovering from surgery to remove a staph infection from his elbow. It's too bad because in a game that invariably features a flurry of lob passes and dunks, Griffin is among the most exciting finishers in the league.
Clipper fans will still be able to watch Chris Paul, one of the few pass-first All Stars, a player who will be content to feed the other four scorers on the team rather than looking for his own shot.
Among the story lines of the game to watch:
Pau Gasol of the Bulls and Marc Gasol of the Grizzlies will be the first ever brothers to start in an All Star Game. Playing for different sides, will see if this is a bear market or a bull market.
Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, aka the Splash Brothers, are the starting backcourt for the league-leading Golden State Warriors, and they'll start this game for the West as well, playing for their very own coach, Steve Kerr.
East Coach Mike Budenholzer has four of his Atlanta Hawks players to call on in Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver. Since none of the four were voted to start the game, Budenholzer has the option of doing a hockey style line change to bring in 80% of his own starting lineup. If you care about the outcome of this game, the presence of four Hawks is of interest, because whereas the East clearly doesn't have the top to bottom talent of the West, Atlanta has compiled the best record in the East playing exquisite team ball, which they could certainly do with, for instance, four Hawks and LeBron James at small forward.