With Kobe’s latest season ending injury, the West All-Star team now has an opening in it’s starting lineup, and it has lead to a huge debate over which reserve candidate will be the one to replace the Black Mamba: Klay Thompson or James Harden? Looking at base satistical numbers, the way seems to be clear for James Harden who is having a fabulous season and is currently second in the MVP running. Up until recently, it seemed clear he would become the starter of the All-Star game, until something amazing happened. Klay Thompson, already in the middle of a breakout season, exploded for 37 points in the third quarter. Klay Thompson showed his diverse skillset with mid-range jumpers, alley-oops, and an astounding performance from three point land. During the period, he ended up 13-13 from the field, with a perfect 9-9 from range. He set records for most points in a single quarter, as well as most three pointers in a single quarter. He has been extremely influential in his team’s franchise-record start of 37-8. Even after this game, he followed it up with multiple 30 point performances and has shown how he has developed as a player. Another plus that he has over James Harden is that the other starting West guard is his back court running mate, Stephen Curry. These two have had an almost telepathic connection, finding each other in their sweet spots constantly. Ultimately, it’s up to the coach of the West, who happens to be Thompson’s coach at Golden State, Steve Kerr. This potential bias could favor strongly toward Thompson, but a coach has to at least attempt to be unbiased so that allows Harden to have a strong shot. In the end, I feel like partnering up the Splash Brothers in the starting five of an NBA All-Star game is too good of an opportunity to miss, even if it comes at the expense of another great player.