NBA All-Star Game Preview: What to Expect from This Year's Game
The 62nd annual NBA All-Star Game takes place in Houston's Toyota Center this year. The game itself is slated for February 17th, while the Slam Dunk Contest and Three Point Contest are scheduled for the 16th. The rosters as they stood when they were first announced look like this:
Eastern Conference Starters
F No. 07 Carmelo Anthony (Knicks)
F No. 06 LeBron James (Heat)
C No. 05 Kevin Garnett (Celtics)
G No. 09 Rajon Rondo (Celtics)
G No. 03 Dwyane Wade (Heat)
Eastern Conference Reserves
F No. 09 Luol Deng (Bulls)
F No. 24 Paul George (Pacers)
C No. 01 Chris Bosh (Heat)
C No. 06 Tyson Chandler (Knicks)
C No. 13 Joakim Noah (Bulls)
G No. 11 Jrue Holiday (76ers)
G No. 02 Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers)
Western Conference Starters
F No. 35 Kevin Durant (Thunder)
F No. 32 Blake Griffin (Clippers)
C No. 12 Dwight Howard (Lakers)
G No. 24 Kobe Bryant (Lakers)
G No. 03 Chris Paul (Clippers)
Western Conference Reserves
F No. 12 LaMarcus Aldridge (Trail Blazers)
F No. 21 Tim Duncan (Spurs)
F No. 50 Zach Randolph (Grizzlies)
C No. 10 David Lee (Warriors)
G No. 13 James Harden (Rockets)
G No. 09 Tony Parker (Spurs)
G No. 00 Russell Westbrook (Thunder)
Since those names were announced, a few things have changed. Firstly, and most obviously, Rajon Rondo suffered a season-ending knee injury, and therefore was replaced by Brooklyn Nets star center Brook Lopez. Lopez is averaging 19 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game right now, which is enough for him to be considered one of the league's most dominant centers.
Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs is also currently down for the count with a knee and ankle injury. It is likely that he will be back for the All-Star game, but is currently listed as day-to-day.
Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich—who is also coaching the West All-Star team—may not be too keen on giving Duncan a heavy workload, as he is the most valuable player on the San Antonio team. Duncan is currently averaging 17.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. No small feat for the 36-year-old.
This will be Duncan's 14th All-Star appearance. Only Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett have more appearances among active players with 15.
The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest takes place at 8:30pm on February 16th. Participants have yet to be announced, but Kevin Durant, last year's second-place participant, will likely be there again.
The fan favorite Sprite Slam Dunk Contest takes place right after the three-point shootout. Last year, little-known Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evens threw down the winning dunk.
Coach Gregg Popovich is certainly excited about the game.
“[It is] a heck of an opportunity to enjoy amazing talent, that’s not just a B.S. or trite statement. It’s true." He said. "When you’re around those guys you look around the room and you can’t believe you’re in the same room with them. It’s a huge honor just to be a part of it.”
If coach Pop can say that about the game, then there's no doubt it's an amazing experience. I envy those of you lucky enough to go.
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