Howard said he was looking forward to playing this weekend with James, Anthony and Dwyane Wade, who join league MVP Derrick Rose in the powerful Eastern Conference starting lineup.
The West is an L.A. story, with Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum of the Lakers joining the Clippers' Paul and Blake Griffin. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant rounds out the first five.
The All-Star weekend would have been in jeopardy had the lockout lasted much longer. An agreement was reached during Thanksgiving weekend and the season opened on Christmas, allowing for a 66-game schedule.
The play has been sloppy and injuries have piled up as players navigate a schedule that forced them to play on three straight nights for the first time since 1999, following the last work stoppage. All the All-Stars said they were eager to be here, even though many probably would benefit from the rest.
And Wade said ugly play won't be a problem Sunday night.
"I think Sunday is going to be great," he said. "I think players are obviously with all these games, the body is feeling a little certain way right now. We're going to enjoying this break, but Sunday's going to be just competitive. It's going to be exciting for the fans to watch."
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