NBA All-Star Weekend 2018: Dates, TV Schedule, Event Info and Preview

NBA All-Star Weekend 2018: Dates, TV Schedule, Event Info and Preview

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After a wild trip to the NBA trade deadline, the Association offers fans a break of sorts with its NBA All-Star Weekend, highlighted by a new format in the big game itself. 

Make no mistake, the offensive-minded showcase will continue to drum up the numbers. But there’s an additional layer of intrigue here after LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors chose their teams ahead of the battle at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. 

This star-studded All-Star Weekend runs from Friday through Sunday, with the full schedule of events available at NBA.com

The first major event of the weekend is the Celebrity All-Star Game, which tips at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. 

This is exactly what it sounds like, with Celebrity Lakers and the Celebrity Clippers ready to collide in front of a national audience. 

The roster is an interesting one, with major names such as Caleb McLaughlin from Stranger Things and Dascha Polanco from Orange Is the New Black, to name a few.

Top Rank’s Crystina Poncher illustrated the full list: 

At 9 p.m. ET, the action switches over to TNT for the Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars. This one is also exactly what it sounds like and boasts United States and World rosters oozing with, well, rising talent. 

Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Malcolm Brogdon are a few of the notables on the United States roster, while Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons head up the World roster. 

NBA TV provided the full rosters: 

Perhaps the biggest name fans will come away from the game knowing, though, is Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell. The No. 13 pick who looks well on his way to some individual hardware and ended up as the steal of the draft as he averages 19.5 points, 3.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game on 44 percent shooting from the floor. 

Mitchell also has a spot in one of Saturday’s event, with the first of three contents beginning at 8 p.m. ET on TNT. First up is the Skills Challenge, won by Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks a year ago. Second is the Three-Point Contest, which unfortunately won’t feature the expected names such as Curry. 

Then there’s the Slam Dunk Contest, where Mitchell will look to best the high-flying Victor Oladipo: 

It will be easier said than done for Mitchell, who switched from the first event to the last. He’ll also have to deal with Larry Nance Jr. of the Cavaliers, whose father won the first-ever Slam Dunk contest in 1984. 

But let’s not forget Dennis Smith Jr., either, considering he has the blessing of dunk-contest legend Vince Carter himself. 

The dunk contest gives way to Sunday, where the 67th NBA All-Star Game begins its coverage at 7 p.m. ET on TNT. As expected, the rosters come in with some heavy hitters from both conferences. 

               

Team LeBron

Starters

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors

Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics

DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans**

           

Reserves

LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs

Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards

Goran Dragic, Miami Heat*

Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons*

Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder*

Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers

Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets*

Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers**

Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks**

John Wall, Washington Wizards**

                 

Team Curry

Starters

Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors 

James Harden, Houston Rockets

DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers

              

Reserves

Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves

Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors

Al Horford, Boston Celtics

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors

Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

Note: * denotes injury replacements and ** denotes originally selected players who are being replaced.

     

Talk about another Finals-worthy duel—will Curry’s deep shooting or LeBron’s all-around game win out in an offensive-minded affair? 

It’s hard to say, though one has to be on the lookout for Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, who always turns it up a notch compared to everyone else at the event and figures to shoulder some of the load for Team LeBron. 

Though Westbrook may not be alone in the effort department anymore now that the league has announced a $75,000 difference in pay for winners and losers in an effort to up the quality of the game. The winners getting to take home a cool $100,000 on top of individual contract bonuses has many ready to go all out.

“Well, I would like to think so,” Boston Celtics forward Al Horford said, according to ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes. “I think guys will definitely take the game more seriously. In the last couple of years, the games haven’t been good, and we’re all aware of that. Regardless of that, I think guys are going to come out and compete. But that’s a big incentive, for sure. We’re going to be diving for loose balls out there.”

A better product is great news for everyone. Which isn’t to suggest past offensive outbursts were boring, but the idea these world-best rosters could live up to their potential while giving 100 percent is nothing short of intriguing. 

The bonuses and how it impacts players will play a huge part in determining whether this new format is a success, though given the talent as a whole, it’s hard to imagine the entire weekend does anything short of entertain.  

       

All stats and info via ESPN.com unless otherwise specified.

Breaking Sports News

via Bleacher Report – Front Page http://ift.tt/yO6Sgr

February 14, 2018 at 10:02AM

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