It will be the Eastern Conference versus Western Conference when All-Star Saturday Night takes center stage at the Toyota Center.
This time around, there is a more serious competition element to what used to be just a silly night of skills contests.
Dwyane Wade is the Eastern captain and Chris Paul leads the West. The roles are largely symbolic, although both will be plenty visible starting at 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT.
"I'll be rooting all my guys from the East on," Wade said on Friday. "And hopefully we win it. That's all I care about is that the East wins this year."
Pride is normally all that's at stake on All-Star Saturday, but, after the four competitions are over, there will be an All-Star Saturday Night Champion. NBA Cares and State Farm will donate $350,000 to the winning conference's charities with $150,000 going to the losing conference's charities.
What is now tradition, the four contests will be the Shooting Stars, Skills Challenge, 3-point Contest and the so-called main event, the Slam Dunk.
Each competition will offer points, tally them all up after the Dunk contest and you've got the winner.
First up is the Shooting Stars. There are two teams from each conference with one All Star, one WNBA star and one legend on each squad.
The West team is headlined by James Harden of the host Houston Rockets, who is making his first All-Star appearance, and Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
They are joined by Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx of the WNBA and Tina Thompson, the WNBA's all-time leading scorer. The legends will be former Rockets' teammates Robert Horry and Sam Cassell.
The East will be big-man heavy with its All Stars. Chris Bosh of the defending champion Miami Heat and Brook Lopez of the Brooklyn Nets will team with Swin Cash and Tamika Catchings of the WNBA and legends Muggsy Bogues and Dominique Wilkins.
Let's let the league explain: "There are six locations of increasing difficulty, with each team attempting to make all shots in numeric order in the fastest time. Each team will select a specific player rotation to follow throughout the competition. Each shot must be made before the next player begins shooting in succession. Teams have up to two minutes to complete the entire shooting course."
Last year, the New York team of Landry Fields, Allan Houston and Cappie Pondexter defeated Team Texas with Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, Sophia Young and Kenny Smith.
The two East teams and two West teams will have their times added together to get a total time. Twenty points will be awarded to the conference with the fastest total time in the Team round. The fastest team from each conference advance to the Championship round and 10 points go to the conference of the winner.
Next on the docket is the Skills Challenge, which features players going through an obstacle course that features various dribbling, passing and shooting stations.
Tony Parker finally made good in his third attempt at a title last year and the San Antonio Spurs All-Star guard will be back to defend. He could equal Steve Nash and Wade as the only multiple winners in the 10-year history of the event.
Parker will join Jeremy Lin of the host Rockets and Rookie of the Year in waiting, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. The East trio will be led by first-time All Star, Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers, Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks and Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons.
Once again, times will be added in the team round and the conference with the fastest total time will get 30 points. The best from each conference meet in the Championship round and the winner's conference gets 10 points.
We inch closer to the more meaningful events with the 3-point Contest. Last year's winner, Kevin Love, isn't back to defend, so a new champion will be crowned.
The East has two All Stars competing with Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Paul George of the Indiana Pacers. Steve Novak of the New York Knicks is the third member of the trio.
The West will feature Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Hornets and Matt Bonner of the Spurs.
Curry and Novak are tied for second in 3-point shooting percentage this season. Bonner shares fourth and Irving is 13th. Anderson is tops in the NBA in 3-pointers made and 3-pointers attempted and George is 10th in long-range shots made.
Add up the total number of 3-pointers made and the winning conference gets 40 points. The 3-Point Contest champion earns 10 points for his side.
The finale will be the Dunk Contest and even that is broken into teams.
Kenneth Faried, fresh of his MVP award from the Rising Stars Challenge game on Friday, represents the Denver Nuggets and Western Conference. He is joined by defending champion Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz and Eric Bledsoe of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The East team is James White of the Knicks, Gerald Green of the Pacers and Toronto Raptors rookie Terrence Ross.
Each competitor gets two dunks in the Team Round with a five-judge panel awarding anything from a 6 to 10. For every dunk that earns a perfect 10, that conference gets 10 bonus points.
The total score for the two dunks by the three players from each conference will be added and the conference with the most points receives 50 points. The tops from each side meet in the finals, which is judged by fan vote. The champion picks up 55 points for his conference.
Handicapping the Dunk Contest is next to impossible, but Faried, aka "The Manimal," who had 40 points in Friday's Rising Stars (Defense-Optional) Challenge, Green and White all hive high hopes.
"I've got a dunk that will really go down in history," Green said. "This dunk is going to be one of the best dunks of all times."
White is an Internet darling of dunking. (Check out YouTube if you don't believe me.) Also, the last two times Houston has hosted the All-Star Game, a New York Knicks player has won this competition. (Kenny Walker in 1989 and Nate Robinson in 2006.)
The Sports Network