NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 16, 2008 -- Last year's All-Star Game had its moments, but it started pretty sloppy and never really got all that sharp.

Now, when you've got 10 guys on the floor that are not used to playing together, a little sloppiness is a given. But we were clearly missing something in Las Vegas.

We were missing a point. Actually, we were missing two of them.

Jason Kidd and Steve Nash were both selected as All-Stars in 2007, but neither was able to suit up for the game because of injuries. As a result, the only point guards in the game were Gilbert Arenas, Chauncey Billups, Allen Iverson and Tony Parker. And none of those guys is a "true" point guard, one that will distribute the ball, push the tempo and get everybody involved.

"They're gonna pass the ball," Chris Bosh said of Kidd and Nash this weekend. "They're gonna put it where it needs to be put and they're gonna make plays. They control the tempo of the game. When you have superstar point guards like that, that can really help the game out."

This year, both Kidd and Nash are healthy, and the West also has Chris Paul, giving us three point guards to help make this game cleaner and more exciting. Kidd is starting for the East, while Nash and Paul will be coming off the bench for the West (although one of them could be subbing in very early for Kobe Bryant).

"You'll see things run a lot more smoothly [this year] and the ball move a lot better," Tim Duncan said.

The pace will be quick and fast break points will come early and often. In fact, neither coach, Byron Scott for the West and Doc Rivers for the East, put in a single offensive play at practice on Saturday.

"These games are all about pace," Rivers admitted. "We're running."

"You're not gonna run a whole lot of plays," Scott added. "You want to make these guys create, have fun and enjoy themselves. Open court basketball is the best way to bring out that creativity."

The rest of the players in the game know that, and are thankful for the presence of the point guards that weren't in uniform last year.

"The All-Star Game is always about fun and running," Dirk Nowitzki said. "And the point guards are part of that. Nash and Jason are probably the best passers in the league. It would definitely be good for the run and gun."

And good for the viewer as well.