NBA All-Star Game
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans
When: Sunday, Feb. 19, 8 p.m. ET
TV: TNT (U.S.); Sportsnet (Canada)
The NBA All-Star Game: Where defense is the furthest thing from anybody’s mind.
Sunday marks the 66th edition of the midseason exhibition showcasing 12 top players each from the Eastern and Western Conferences, with the West holding down a record of 37-28 dating back to 1951.
The East has dropped five of the last six meetings.
Will that streak end Sunday night, or will the best of the West reign supreme once again?
Eastern Conference roster
|PG||Kyrie Irving||Cleveland Cavaliers||4|
|SG||DeMar DeRozan||Toronto Raptors||3|
|SF||LeBron James||Cleveland Cavaliers||13|
|G/F||Jimmy Butler||Chicago Bulls||3|
|G/F||Giannis Antetokounmpo||Milwaukee Bucks||1|
|PG||Isaiah Thomas||Boston Celtics||2|
|PG||John Wall||Washington Wizards||4|
|PF||Kevin Love (injured)||Cleveland Cavaliers||4|
|F||Paul George||Indiana Pacers||4|
|PF||Paul Millsap||Atlanta Hawks||4|
|PG||Kemba Walker||Charlotte Hornets||1|
|PG||Kyle Lowry||Toronto Raptors||3|
|F||Carmelo Anthony (replacement)||New York Knicks||10|
Head coach: Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics
Western Conference roster
|PG||Stephen Curry||Golden State Warriors||4|
|G||James Harden||Houston Rockets||5|
|F||Kevin Durant||Golden State Warriors||8|
|F||Kawhi Leonard||San Antonio Spurs||2|
|F/C||Anthony Davis||New Orleans Pelicans||4|
|PG||Russell Westbrook||Oklahoma City Thunder||6|
|SG||Klay Thompson||Golden State Warriors||3|
|F||Draymond Green||Golden State Warriors||2|
|C||DeMarcus Cousins||Sacramento Kings||3|
|C||Marc Gasol||Memphis Grizzlies||3|
|C||DeAndre Jordan||Los Angeles Clippers||1|
|F||Gordon Hayward||Utah Jazz||1|
Head coach: Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors
Past All-Star Game results
- 2010: East 141, West 139
- 2011: West 148, East 143
- 2012: West 152, East 149
- 2013: West 143, East 138
- 2014: East 163, West 155
- 2015: West 163, East 158
- 2016: West 196, East 173
All-Star Game records (single game)
(Courtesy: Land of Basketball)
All-Star Game Most Valuable Player contenders
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
He’s the reigning back-to-back MVP, after all, and he didn’t need to play very long to lock up those honors (25 and 22 minutes in 2015 and 2016, respectively). Coming off the bench shouldn’t hinder his chances of putting up another insane line, just like he’s done in the past.
Perhaps part of him wants to go for a third in a row just to prevent any member of the Warriors from taking it themselves. It wouldn’t be as sweet as the Thunder wiping the floor with Golden State in the playoffs, but a small victory is a victory nonetheless.
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
It’s been six years since a player from the hometown team was named All-Star MVP, with the Black Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant, doing so in 2011 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“The Brow” is the lone Pelicans representative Sunday, and the team’s only All-Star since the days of Chris Paul, so he’ll want to put on a memorable performance for the N’awlins faithful. Points shouldn’t be hard to come by in a presumed larger role to appease fans: In two of the three All-Star Games he was healthy enough to suit up for, Davis missed just two of his 19 total attempts for 34 points.
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Lest we forget, Irving was MVP the last time the East emerged victorious in 2014, which was coincidentally also held in New Orleans. The now 24-year-old had 31 points and 14 assists on 14-of-17 shooting that night.
He didn’t have the opportunity to play last year after missing most of the start of the season recovering from a fractured kneecap. Well, he’s back now, running the point as a starter just like he did two years ago. History has a strange way of repeating itself …
All-Star Game MVP odds
(Odds courtesy: Bovada)
Will Kerr dare play a lineup of Westbrook and 4 Warriors?
May the basketball gods bless us all with such a glorious moment, however fleeting it may be.
We’ll all find out together whether or not Kerr decides to troll Westbrook to such a degree, even if he refuses to admit it would be a troll job. Westbrook is basically water to the Warriors’ oil, so who knows what would happen should he be asked to take the floor alongside four of his rivals, including Durant.
Imagine how awkward it would get if Westbrook brought the ball up the court, refused to pass it to anyone, and looked to score on his own sans the assistance of Golden State’s elite. Uncomfortable for them, yes, but hilarious for everyone watching from afar.
Please don’t disappoint us, Kerr.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images/USA Today Sports)