The 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend kicked off on Friday evening with the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.
In case you missed the action on All-Star Friday, here is a recap:
BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge
This year, the NBA introduced a new format for the Rising Stars Challenge. Rather than pitting the rookies against the sophomores, the teams were split between U.S. born players and international players.
In the first quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo did a little bit of everything, registering plenty of points, rebounds and assists early on. He also received some light-hearted flak from Alvin Gentry, coach of the U.S. team, for trying to block Mason Plumlee on a breakaway dunk attempt.
Early on, Rudy Gobert, Cody Zeller and Nerlens Noel all took turns running the floor and finishing at the rim with big dunks, showing off their size, skill and athleticism.
Andrew Wiggins had his share of impressive first half dunks, including a half court lob from Dennis Schröder toward the end of the first half.
Trey Burke had a nice ball fake on Jazz teammate Dante Exum for an easy layup in transition. Exum was faked out again, this time by Zach LaVine, who threw down an impressive dunk through traffic. Teammate Shabazz Muhammad followed up LaVine’s dunk with an impressive jam of his own.
Around the 7:30 mark of the first half, Mason Plumlee and Gorgui Dieng traded big-time dunks on consecutive possessions. After some more big dunks, both teams started taking turns shooting from beyond-the-arc.
At the end of the first half, the World led the USA team, 69-67. The World shot 63 percent from the field, seven-of-14 on three-pointers and tallied 20 points in transitions, 40 points in the paint and 11 dunks. The U.S. team shot 57 percent from the field, five-of-16 from beyond-the-arc and tallied 20 points in transition, 42 points in the paint and 12 dunks.
Plumlee kicked off the second half with a quick steal and his fifth dunk of the night. Then, five minutes into the first half, Exum found teammate Gobert at the rim for a nice lob, which the big man finished with authority. A few minutes later, Noel tried to throw down a dunk over Gobert, but Gobert rejected him at the rim. Gobert then ran the floor and received a nice pass for an uncontested tomahawk dunk in transition. Gobert continued his impressive play by blocking a Victor Oladipo layup attempt with his elbows. The block led to a Matthew Dellavedova layup on the other end, which put the World team up 96-90 with a little over 10 minutes to go in the game. Plumlee decided to join the block party at the 4:30 mark by emphatically swatting a Schröder attempt at the rim.
It was a tight game down the final stretch. The World held a 112-109 lead with just over a minute and a half to go when Wiggins finished through contact at the rim and hit the free-throw to put the World up 115-109. Then, Gobert rejected Plumlee at the rim, which led to a monster jam in transition by Schröder, putting the World ahead 117-111. Gobert then grabbed an offensive rebound off of a Nikola Mirotic missed three-pointer and slammed it home, giving the World a seven point lead with 41.3 seconds left in the game.
The World eventually won by a score of 121-112
LaVine and Oladipo led the way for the U.S. team, scoring 22 points each.
For the World, Gobert posted an impressive 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in almost 21 minutes of action. However, the MVP went to Wiggins, who finished with 22 points, four assists and six rebounds.
Sprint Celebrity All-Star Game
Kevin Hart entered Friday’s Celebrity All-Star Game looking to defend his three consecutive MVP awards.
The West, behind some nice passing from Chris Mullin, and balanced scoring would pull away in the second half, winning by a final score of 57-51.
Skylar Diggins and Grizzlies owner Robert Pera scored 13 points each, while Mullin, Jesse Williams and Win Butler chipped in eight points each.
Hart’s team fell, but he still managed to earn MVP honors and finished with 15 points in 29 minutes of action.
After notching his fourth MVP award in a row, Hart announced his retirement from the annual Celebrity All-Star Game.
Report: NBA All-Star Game Starters Announced
LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and rising second-year stars Luka Doncic and Trae Young headline the star-studded group of present and future superstars who make up the starters for the 69th All-Star Game.
James, the catalyst for the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers, will captain the Western Conference team for the second straight season. Antetokounmpo, the Milwaukee Bucks’ star and reigning Kia MVP, captains the Eastern Conference team for a second straight season as well.
A fresh face in the starters’ mix this season is Dallas wunderkind Luka Doncic, who joins Houston’s James Harden as the two starters in the backcourt. Clippers forward and reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and Lakers forward Anthony Davis round out the All-L.A. frontcourt.
Boston’s Kemba Walker is joined by Atlanta’s Trae Young in the East backcourt. Like Doncic, Young is a first-time All-Star and starter in just his second NBA season. Antetokounmpo will be flanked by Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, another first time All-Star and starter, in the East frontcourt.
Adam Silver Believes Next Year’s ASG Draft Will be Televised
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he was pleased with the new format for the league’s All-Star Game and believed that next year’s player draft would be televised.
“I thought it was incredible. I can’t tell you how appreciative I am of the players,” Silver told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne following a 148-145 win for Team LeBron over Team Stephen at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
2018 NBA All-Star Sunday Recap
Michael Petrower recaps the All-Star Game from Sunday in Los Angeles.
The 2018 NBA All Star Game had some added appeal this year, with Captains LeBron James and Stephen Curry selecting playground style from the pool of All-Stars. Although it was not televised, it drew a lot of interest to say the least.
Team Lebron was headlined by Kevin Durant (the alleged first pick), Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and Kyrie Irving. Sadly, Team Lebron suffered big losses with John Wall, Demarcus Cousins, Kevin Love and Kristaps Porzingis going down with injuries. Team Stephen was led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, Joel Embiid and Demar DeRozan.
NBA fans were ready to indulge on the highlight real of plays to commence…That was, until the NBA inflicted a marathon-like performance that seemed a bit unnecessary, to say the least. Kevin Hart was at the center of theatrics that had NBA fans scratching their heads questioning what was on their television screen. Fergie topped off the saga with what was one of the more questionable national anthems we’ve seen in recent years. However, if you stuck around long enough, the game started at 8:40 PM EST and the flashy plays that we hoped for, began.
Joel Embiid made his first A;l-Star game appearance and kicked off the scoring festivities for Team Stephen with a ferocious and-one dunk. Team Stephen led all of the first quarter and won the quarter 42-31. Karl Anthony Towns led the first quarter scoring with 11 points. Team LeBron, however would storm back and cut the lead to two, 78-76 at half. LeBron came into his 14th straight All-Star game and lead his team at the half with 15 points. Klay Thompson also lead Team Stephen with 15 points at half.
The second half ensued and after some back and forth between the two teams, Team Stephen was leading by three going into the fourth quarter, 112-109. Team Stephen grew their lead to 11 while LeBron and KD got some rest. But after the two came back in, the 11-point deficit was erased after a LeBron three and the teams were now tied at 144 with 1:16 left in the fourth quarter.
DeRozan would make a free throw to put Team Stephen up one point, but Lebron followed with a strong two-pointer to put his team up one. DeRozan tried to answer, but threw away a pass which resulted in an easy two points for Russell Westbrook to ice the game. Team LeBron was the 2018 All Star Game winner with a score of 148-145.
LeBron James went on to win his third All Star MVP after finishing with 29 points to go along with 10 rebounds, eigh assists and a steal on 12-17 shooting. DeRozan and Damian Lillard lead Team Stephen with 21 points each.