It started as the L.A. guys against the Miami and Boston guys, and to an extent it ended that way too -- with Kobe Bryant trash-talking Paul Pierce at one end and telling LeBron James to shoot the ball at the other during the West's 152-149 win over the East.
But for most of the time in between, the story was the Miami Heat against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and in particular James against Kevin Durant. The two small forwards -- unquestionably the two best small forwards in the game, and quite possibly the winner and runner-up in this season's MVP voting -- fittingly tied for a game-high 36 points on Sunday night, which was only decided when James turned the ball over with a chance to tie in the final seconds.
Both players also got huge efforts from their All-Star sidekicks. Miami's Dwyane Wade had a triple-double that included 24 points, while Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook contributed 21 points and five offensive boards.
And it doesn't take a rocket scientist to start thinking about these guys matching up in June. With the Thunder and Heat holding identical -- and league-best -- 27-7 records at the break, the two teams appear to be on a collision course, as much as the protagonists want to talk it down.