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NBA All-Star Game: Jarrett Allen from the Cleveland Cavaliers replaces Team LeBron’s James Harden

Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez/The Associated Press

It’s been a couple of interesting weeks for James Harden. The All-Star shooting guard was traded in a blockbuster deal back on February 10 from the New Jersey Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers. The five-player swap included the 76ers former three-time All-Star Ben Simmons who now joins the Nets along with two future first round draft picks.

Now, Harden, who was selected by LeBron James to be a member of Team LeBron in the 2022 NBA All-Star game, will be forced to miss the contest entirely. A nagging left hamstring injury will keep Harden – and his magnificent beard – sidelined for the festivities.

Harden’s injury left open a spot on Team LeBron’s roster. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was forced to fill that void with a selection of his own choosing. Silver had already added injury replacements LaMelo Ball and Dejounte Murray to Team Durant who will fill in for the team’s namesake Kevin Durant as well as for Draymond Green. And now with Harden out, the commissioner chose to add Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen to Team LeBron.

The late scratch of Harden along with the addition of Allen as a backup center to Team LeBron didn’t affect the overall betting odds on the game. LeBron James has a four-game NBA All-Star win streak, and with the roster he’s assembled for this game, Team LeBron is favored by -5.5 points. Last year, Team LeBron defeated Team Durant by 20 points, 170-150, and the spread back then favored Team LeBron by -4.5. NBA betting sites didn’t move on the breaking Harden injury news, keeping Team LeBron a steady favorite for 2022’s contest.

The betting favorite in the past seven NBA All-Star games has won the game outright. During that same time against the spread, the favorite has posted a solid 5-1-1 record. The over-under on the exhibition game currently stands at 318.5. Last year, it was 319.5 and the game’s final score just squeaked past that number with a final total of 320. Even so, over the past 15 years, betting the over on NBA All-Star game has gone 13-2. Considering that defense is barely played in the game, that tally is far from surprising.

The addition of Jarrett Allen to Team LeBron, however, is a bit of a surprise in and of itself. This marks Allen’s first All-Star appearance in his six NBA season. While posting career high averages for scoring, rebounds, and assists so far this season, Allen still may be more of a home-town addition than anything. With the game being played in Cleveland this year, having the Cavaliers center join fellow teammate Darius Garland on the roster makes good marketing sense. Garland, the Cavaliers second year point guard, is also making his NBA All-Star game debut in this game.

As for 10-time All-Star Harden, the newly acquired 76ers shooting guard has yet to suit up for his new team. He has been practicing with the rest of the team while strengthening his injured hamstring. If everything stays on schedule, Harden should be able to join the 76ers starting lineup as soon as the All-Star break concludes.

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