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NBA’s All-Star Weekend A Big Success For Book

The NBA’s 2013 All-Star Weekend in Houston is in the books, and for the book it was mostly a resounding success.

The Dunk Contest and Three-Point Contest are the most hyped of the skills competitions on All-Star Weekend, but it was actually the Skills Competition itself that took more action than anything else, including the actual All-Star Game. It proved to be the players’ top victory. Portland guard Damian Lillard, the front-runner for Rookie of the Year award, won the obstacle course competition in a time of 29.8 seconds, beating Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday in the final round. Lillard went off at 3/1 for the event and took easily the most action of any player.

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The other top result for players was in the Three-Point Contest, with San Antonio’s Matt Bonner winning head-to-head in the first round against Indiana’s Paul George, the longest shot in that event. George was a flop with an air-ball and a score of just 10 points in the first round, the worst of any player.

Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving won the contest and that was a terrific result for the book with Irving at 11/2. He scored 23 points in the final round, two points shy of the record, to beat Bonner by three. The book also did well on Irving head-to-head in the first round against the Knicks’ Steve Novak, one of the favorites in the event.

Toronto Raptors rookie Terrence Ross took the Dunk Contest, beating defending champion Jeremy Evans in the final round via fan voting. Ross winning at 5/1 also was good for the book. In the Shooting Stars, Team Bosh of the Heat’s Chris Bosh, WNBA star Swin Cash and Hall of Famer and former Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, won at 7/2, another great result for the book.

In Sunday night’s game, the Western Conference won its third-straight All-Star Game, beating the East 143-138 as a 2.5-point favorite. That was a slight win for the book with 49% of the action on the West. Only about 17% of the action on the moneyline was on the West at -140 and around 46% on the under 294 points.

The Clippers’ Chris Paul was named the game’s MVP, his first and the first ever for a Clipper. Paul had 20 points and 15 assists to join Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas as the only players in All-Star Game history with at least 20 points and 15 helpers in a game. Paul is now averaging 12.4 assists in All-Star Games, which is tops in NBA history. He closed at 12/1 to win MVP honors and the book did well there. Also wins for the book were the Western Conference having the highest-scoring player in the game – Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, the MVP favorite, had 30 – and Kobe Bryant scoring his first point before LeBron James did.

Bettors did well on the largest lead of the game staying under 17.5 points, the Clippers’ Blake Griffin scoring the first point for the West (7/2), Durant with the first three-pointer of the game (4/1) and Griffin and LeBron both making their first field-goal attempt.

Updated Futures

Every team has played at least 50 games in the NBA, so the All-Star Break isn’t technically the halfway point of the season. The site has posted updated futures, however, with the Miami Heat opening the second half as 3/2 NBA title favorites. Because the Eastern Conference is perceived as rather weak, the Heat also are huge 4/9 favorites to win a third-straight conference title.

Oklahoma City, which has been handled twice this season by Miami, is the 13/4 second-favorite to win the championship and 3/2 to win the deep West. San Antonio (6/1), the Clippers (15/2) and the New York Knicks (14/1) round out the top five title favorites.

On the MVP odds, LeBron is the overwhelming 1/5 favorite off his recent hot stretch. James saw his NBA-record streak of six-straight games with at least 30 points and 60% shooting end last Thursday in Oklahoma City as he finished with 39 points on “only” 58.3% shooting. In February, LeBron is averaging 30.4 points on an absurd 69% from the field to go with 6.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Durant is the only player within MVP sniffing distance of LeBron at 5/2. Likely the only way James doesn’t win his fourth MVP is if he misses several games due to injury.

Early-Week Live Betting Games

The NBA’s second half tips off Tuesday night with two Live Betting games at the book: Bucks at Nets and Spurs at Kings. Brooklyn point guard Deron Williams is expected to play after missing the final two games before the break with inflammation in his ankles.

On Wednesday, the book offers Hornets at Cavaliers and Celtics at Lakers. It’s the first time on the court for the Lakers since the passing of owner Jerry Buss on Monday. He owned the team since 1979 and the Lakers won 10 titles in that span. Buss was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

It could also be the final game for Kevin Garnett in Celtics green as he has been rumored in a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers. KG has said all along that he doesn’t plan to waive his no-trade clause. There also was talk of a potential Rajon Rondo for Dwight Howard swap between the Celtics and Lakers, but L.A. GM Mitch Kupchak has stated he won’t be trading Howard. The trade deadline is Thursday.

Check back Thursday for the weekend Live Betting schedule at the book.

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