NEW YORK, Jan. 26, 2017 – Two-time reigning Kia NBA All-Star MVP Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and first-time All-Stars Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz, DeAndre Jordan of the LA Clippers and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets lead the list of 14 players selected by the NBA’s head coaches as reserves for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans.
Joining Westbrook, Hayward and Jordan as Western Conference reserves are DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors. With Green and Thompson earning spots alongside West starters Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, the NBA-leading Warriors (39-7) have matched a league record with four All-Star selections.
In addition to Walker, the East reserves are Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors, Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks, Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics and John Wall of the Washington Wizards. Love joins East starters Kyrie Irving and LeBron James to give the East-leading Cavaliers (30-14) three All-Stars, tying a franchise record last reached in the 1992-93 season.
The 66th NBA All-Star Game, set for Sunday, Feb. 19 at 8 p.m. ET at Smoothie King Center, will be televised by TNT and will also be available on the Watch TNT App and on TNT Overtime. In addition, the game will be broadcast on ESPN Radio, with audio also available on the ESPN app. The midseason classic will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.
Westbrook, who led the West to victories in the 2015 and 2016 All-Star Games, is the only player in league history to win the Kia NBA All-Star MVP Award outright in back-to-back years. Now a six-time All-Star selection, Westbrook (30.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 10.4 apg) is on pace to join Oscar Robertson of the 1961-62 Cincinnati Royals as the only players to average a triple-double for an entire season.
2017 NBA All-Star Reserves Announced
Eastern Conference All-Star Reserves
- Paul George, Pacers: George, who is averaging 22.2 points and 6.0 rebounds this season, scored 41 points and sank a record nine three-pointers in the 2016 All-Star Game.
- Kevin Love, Cavaliers: Love (20.5 ppg, 11.0 rpg), who earned his fourth All-Star selection, is the only player in the East averaging at least 20.0 points and 10.0 rebounds.
- Kyle Lowry, Raptors: An All-Star for the third year in a row, Lowry is averaging a career-best 22.4 points and ranks fourth in the NBA in three-pointers made with 143.
- Paul Millsap, Hawks: Millsap (18.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.8 apg) is making his fourth consecutive trip to the All-Star Game since joining Atlanta in 2013.
- Isaiah Thomas, Celtics: The 60th and final pick of NBA Draft 2011 presented by State Farm ranks second in the NBA in scoring with a career-high 29.1 points, helping him secure his second All-Star berth in a row.
- Kemba Walker, Hornets: Walker, who is averaging a career-high 23.0 points, becomes Charlotte’s first All-Star selection since Gerald Wallace in the 2009-10 season.
- John Wall, Wizards: An All-Star for the fourth straight year, the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December is averaging a career-high 23.1 points and ranks third in NBA in assists (10.1 apg) and second in steals (2.23 spg).
Western Conference All-Star Reserves
- DeMarcus Cousins, Kings: The NBA’s fifth-leading scorer (28.0 ppg) has been named an All-Star for the third consecutive season.
- Marc Gasol, Grizzlies: Now a three-time All-Star, the Spanish center is averaging career highs of 20.6 points and 4.2 assists to go with 64 three-pointers made; he entered the season with 12 threes made in his first eight seasons combined.
- Draymond Green, Warriors: An All-Star for the second straight season, Green ranks 19th in the NBA in rebounding (8.5 rpg), eighth in assists (7.5 apg) and third in steals (1.93 spg) for a team that leads the league in offensive and defensive rating.
- Gordon Hayward, Jazz: Averaging career highs of 21.8 points and 5.7 rebounds, Hayward is Utah’s first All-Star selection since Deron Williams in the 2010-11 season.
- DeAndre Jordan, Clippers: A first-time All-Star in his ninth season, Jordan leads the NBA in rebounding (14.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (69.0).
- Klay Thompson, Warriors: Named to his third straight All-Star Game, Thompson owns the NBA’s highest-scoring game of the season (60 points vs. Indiana on Dec. 5) and leads the league in points on catch-and-shoot plays (10.6 ppg) for the third time in four years.
- Russell Westbrook, Thunder: The NBA scoring leader has posted 23 triple-doubles in 2016-17, putting him on pace to equal Robertson’s single-season record of 41 in 1961-62.
The 14 reserves were chosen by the 30 NBA head coaches, who were asked to vote for seven players in their respective conferences – two guards, three frontcourt players and two additional players at either position group. They were not permitted to vote for players from their own team.
Source: NBA Press Release
Anthony Davis Breaks All-Star Scoring Record, Wins MVP
Pelicans star Anthony Davis openly proclaimed ahead of Sunday’s All-Star Game that he was going after the MVP award, and he didn’t make his master plan on how to do so much of a secret.
“Coach [Alvin] Gentry already told me every time I catch it to put it up,” said Davis upon being selected to his fourth straight spot on the Western Conference team. Davis took an All-Star record 39 shots and scored 52 points to lead the West over the East at the 66th All-Star Game, 192-182 — the highest-scoring game in league history. The 23-year-old’s point total smashed the previous record of 42, set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962.
Source: Justin Verrier of ESPN
2017 NBA All-Star Sunday Recap
A breakdown of the final day of 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend.
Coming in to the 2017 NBA All-Star game, the biggest storyline was Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as teammates again for one night. But it was hometown hero Anthony Davis who stole the show.
The Pelicans star scored a game-high 52 points, breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s All-Star record of 42 points, as the Western Conference pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 192-182 win. A four time All-Star, Davis shot 26-for-39 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds as he took home his first All-Star MVP award.
It was also the third consecutive win for the West, who have now won six of the last seven matchups, as well as the highest scoring All-Star game in NBA history.
Westbrook and Durant did end up having a moment together in the first quarter, when Westbrook passed the ball ahead to Durant in the post, and Durant threw it right back to him for an alley-oop dunk. The play got their Western Conference teammates up off the bench, and they broke into a round of applause during a timeout.
After a back and forth affair for much of the night, the West was able to create separation in the fourth quarter as Davis and Westbrook took over. Davis threw down several thunderous dunks and Westbrook, who scored 41 points of his own, added a few deep threes. He shot 16-for-26 from the field, pulled down five rebounds, and dished out seven assists.
Durant had only the fourth triple double in All-Star history with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists.
The East was led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, who scored 30 points on 14-for-17 shooting in his All-Star debut. He dazzled the crowd throughout the game with athletic, high flying dunks. Cavalier teammates Lebron James and Kyrie Irving added 23 and 22 points, respectively. Irving also dished out 14 assists.
Other players making All-Star appearances for the first time were Gordon Hayward and DeAndre Jordan for the West, and Kemba Walker for the East. Hayward finished with eight points, two assists, and tied John Wall with a game high four steals. Jordan had six points, two assists, and three rebounds. Walker had seven points and six assists.
In all, it was a very entertaining game and made up for the somewhat lackluster Saturday night.
All-Star Weekend 2018 will be held in Los Angeles.
2017 NBA All-Star Saturday Recap
Basketball Insiders recaps All-Star Saturday night from New Orleans
Another year, another great All-Star Saturday night. Packed with excitement throughout, it was a great time for the players, spectators and those watching at home.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
The Skills Challenge started off with the two guard matchups, pitting Gordon Hayward and Isaiah Thomas against John Wall and Devin Booker, respectively. Hayward ultimately came out on top against Wall, while Thomas cruised by Devin Booker into the semifinals.
On the big man side of the bracket, DeMarcus Cousins matched up with Kristaps Porzingis while Nikola Jokić went up against New Orleans’ own Anthony Davis. Cousins lost out to Porzingis when he was unable to hit the three-point jumper to end the round, while Jokić came from behind to beat Davis.
In the semifinals, Hayward squeaked by Thomas while Porzingis, who flew out to an early lead, barely managed to beat Jokić to the three-pointer.
Hayward and Porzingis matched up in the best round of the event. Both men hustled up and down the floor, making their first pass and layup at the exact same time. Porzingis emerged victorious, though, after knocking down his first three-pointer. The event ended with him being rushed on the court by Cousins, Davis and Jokić and taking home the Taco Bell Skills Challenge trophy for the big men—for the second straight year.
JBL Three-Point Contest
The three-point contest kicked off with Kemba Walker—who started off cold but salvaged the round by hitting four of five money balls in his final rack—finishing with 19 points. Kyrie Irving followed, upping Walker’s score by 1. Wesley Matthews looked like a deer in the headlights, making eight of 25 shots and scoring only 11 points en route to a first round exit.
Next, Eric Gordon came out scorching, sinking 18 three-pointers and scoring 25 points—the highest score in the first round. Nick Young, C.J. McCollum and Kyle Lowry joined Matthews on the sideline, scoring 18, 10 and nine points, respectively. Reigning champion Klay Thompson made a quick and surprising exit from the contest as well, as he managed to score 18 points. That score, while respectable, left him one shy of advancing, meaning that Walker, Irving and Gordon would advance to the next round.
Walker started off the final round by scoring 17 points, losing out to Irving and Gordon, who each turned in 20 points and, as a result, entered into an overtime shoot-off for the title. Ultimately, Gordon was crowned champion and handed the JBL Three-Point Contest trophy, besting Kyrie’s 18 points with 21 of his own.
Following a touching tribute video to the late Craig Sager, TNT’s Ernie Johnson announced that Gordon, Irving and Walker, along with a few surprise guests including Reggie Miller, James Harden and DeMar DeRozan, were given one minute to shoot as many three-pointers as possible. Each converted three-pointer, Johnson announced, would result in a $10,000 donation to the Sager Strong Foundation. Following some half-court attempts from Stephen Curry and a Shaquille O’Neal assisted layup from Sager’s son, Ryan, the donation amount eventually came to a total of $500,000.
Verizon Slam Dunk Contest
Other than Sager’s tribute, the Slam Dunk Contest was the most exciting event of the night. Pitting dunking aficionados DeAndre Jordan and Aaron Gordon against relatively unknown names in Derrick Jones Jr. and Glenn Robinson III, the contest was absolutely packed with energy and excitement.
To start off, Jordan managed to leap over a DJ table with DJ Khaled, who was holding the ball that Jordan grabbed and flushed. The dunk scored a 41 with the judges. Glenn Robinson III followed up Jordan’s dunk with an amazing one of his own, jumping over the equivalent of one-and-a-half men—one sat on the other’s shoulders. He performed the dunk while pumping the ball between his legs and flushing it through the hoop for a perfect score of 50. Derrick Jones Jr., who hurdled four people before throwing it down, earned 45 points.
Next was one of (if not the) craziest dunk attempts in the contest’s existence. Aaron Gordon, who tipped everyone off that one of his attempts would use modern technology, was aided by a flying drone. Gordon had the drone hold the ball about 15 feet off the ground. The plan was for the drone to release the ball and for Gordon to catch it on a bounce and dunk it. He managed to grab the bouncing ball and bring it between his legs before the dunk, but it took Gordon four attempts to successfully complete the dunk. He ended up with a low score of 38.
On his second dunk, Gordon scored a measly 34 points, giving him a total of 72. He failed at all four of his attempts and was eliminated. Next, Jordan turned 180 degrees before bringing the ball between his legs and through the hoop for a score of 43 points, giving him a total of 84. Robinson III sent Jordan packing, though, after he pulled a dunk straight out of the history books, dabbing before putting it through the hoop, à la Dee Brown in the 1991 contest. Robinson III scored 41 points on the dunk, giving him a total of 91. Jones Jr. then managed one of the best dunks of the night, taking it off a bounce off the side of the backboard and through his legs, stuffing it for a perfect score and a total of 95.
In the final round, Robinson III started off by leaping over teammate Paul George and windmilling the ball into the basket on his second attempt for a score of 44 points. Jones followed up with his worst effort of the night, failing to make any of his attempts and earning a score of 37 from the judges. However, Jones came back with a perfect score on his next dunk, taking the ball through his legs off the bounce and flushing it with authority. That gave him a total of 87 points. Robinson III matched Jones Jr.’s perfect score with one of his own, again jumping over George as well as two others, pumping it between his legs and throwing it down behind his head for a final score of 94. Robinson III walked away victorious and with the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest trophy.
The 2017 All-Star Saturday, gripping from start to finish, will go down as one of the better in recent memory.
Here’s hoping Sunday’s game is as good if not better.