This year, the 2015 NBA All-Star Game seemed more like the NFL Pro Bowl since many of the league’s elite players didn’t compete in the midseason classic. Just like many football stars skip the Pro Bowl, a number of superstars were forced to pull out of the NBA All-Star Game due to badly timed injuries.
Kobe Bryant, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin and Dwyane Wade had to sit out, while LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler and John Wall decided to play, but were each beat up and competing at less than 100 percent due to a variety of ailments.
The one silver lining of these injuries is that we had the opportunity to see some new faces take the floor during this year’s All-Star Game. Dirk Nowitzki, Damian Lillard, DeMarcus Cousins and Kyle Korver were added to the rosters as injury replacements (with Cousins and Korver making their first All-Star appearances). Korver’s addition gave the Hawks a record-tying four All-Stars participating in the game.
Due to the numerous injuries, the West’s starting lineup had to be altered as well. West head coach Steve Kerr had to make some changes to the starting five that voted by fans, beginning the game with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol. East head coach Mike Budenholzer didn’t have any injuries to his starters (just his bench) so he was able to stick with the starters voted in by the fans: John Wall, Kyle Lowry, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Pau Gasol.
Even before the game tipped off, NBA history was made as the Gasol brothers became not only the first pair of brothers to face off against each other as All-Star starters, they also became the first ever European players to be voted into the starting lineups by fans. Nowitzki started in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game after Yao Ming was pulled out of the game due to injury, but the Gasol brothers are the first players to actually be voted as starters.
Once the game got under way, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook caught fire.
James was dominant in the first quarter, hitting six of his first nine shots (including 3-5 from three-point range) to score 15 points for the East. With those 15 first-quarter points, he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan for the second-most career points in All-Star game history (trailing only Kobe Bryant). He finished the first half with 22 points on 8-12 shooting from the field.
Then, Westbrook came off of the bench to score 25 points in his first nine minutes on the floor. He was ridiculously hot, hitting 9-12 shots from the field (including 3-5 from three-point range). Westbrook’s 25 points set a record for most points in All-Star game half. He would add to his record, finishing the first half with 27 points.
Korver was a pleasant surprise as well, scoring 12 points in seven minutes in the first half. He shot 4-7 from three-point range and made his presence felt. He was the East’s second-leading scorer, which is very impressive since he was the last player added to the All-Star game and only made it due to Wade being injured (although many people around the league felt he should’ve been selected by the coaches).
At halftime, the West led the East, 83-82. The fact that the game was so close was somewhat of a surprise, as the West led by double figures for much of the first two quarters. However, James and Korver shot the East back into the game to make things interesting.
If you like high-scoring games, this was a perfect contest for you. The two teams combined for 165 points through two quarters, which tied an All-Star game record for most combined points in a half.
The second half continued to be a high-scoring affair, as the two teams would ultimately combine for 321 points (an All-Star record). The East and West shot a total of 130 threes (making 48), which is another All-Star record.
The West ended up beating the East, 163-158. At one point, the West led by 20 points, but the East managed to fight back and make it an interesting game that was decided in the final minutes.
Westbrook led all scorers with 41 points in just 22 minutes, while also chipping in five rebounds and three steals. He was named the All-Star MVP, and deservedly so since he was dominant offensively all night.
James Harden also filled the stat sheet for the West, finishing with 29 points (on 11-16 shooting), eight rebounds, eight assists and two steals. Aldridge also played well, contributing 18 points on 7-11 shooting from the field (including 4-4 from three-point range).
James led the East with 30 points (on 11-21 shooting), seven assists, five rebounds and two steals.
However, the biggest surprise for the East was the dominant game by Korver. He finished with 21 points, knocking down all seven of his shots from three-point range and taking just 13 attempts. With so many stars around him, he got a number of open looks and took advantage. Very few people would’ve predicted that Korver would be the game’s fourth-leading scorer, but that just shows that the All-Star Game can be somewhat unpredictable.
This was a fun, high-scoring contest in which 16 of the game’s 24 players scored in double digits. While it would’ve been fun to see these teams at full strength, this ended up being a pretty entertaining game and, at the end of the day, that’s what the All-Star game is about.
If you missed last night’s All-Star Saturday Night events (including the dunk contest, three-point shootout and skills challenge), be sure to check out our Saturday recap. If you missed Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge and Celebrity All-Star Game, check out our Friday recap.
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.