Western Conference (27-37) vs. Eastern Conference (37-27)
Location: Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario
Radio: ESPN Radio
Time: 7:00 PM CST
Whew. That was a helluva Saturday night. First, rookie Karl-Anthony Towns beat Isaiah Thomas in the Skills Challenge, in what can be described as an upset. The Skills Challenge has always been viewed as a guard-oriented event. But this year, they broke the competitors into a guard division and a big man division. The winner from each division battled in the final. It was assumed that Thomas would run away with the final, but Big KAT kept up with him and showed his otherworldly versatility in winning the event.
In the 3-point contest, the usual suspects (and the youngest guy in the league) ended up in the finals. It was a huge win for Team Lightskin, as Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, and Devin Booker battled it out for the 3-point crown. Thompson ended winning the event, making every single money ball in the final rack to give him a total of 27.
The final event of the evening was probably the most riveting. Aaron Gordon and Zach Lavine put on a dunk contest for the ages, rivaling that of Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins in 1988 and Vince Carter vs. Tracy McGrady in 2000. The acrobatics those two players exhibited caused the contest to go into “double overtime,” as Lavine scored a 50 on his final dunk and Gordon only scored a 49.
Now comes the main event. As fun as Saturday night was, Sunday night could be just as entertaining. When you combine 24 of the best players on the planet on one court, the possibilities are endless. Here’s to highlight plays, a competitive finish, and no injuries.3 Big Things
1. Kobe’s last stand
This will likely be Kobe Bryant’s final All-Star. He has already announced this will be his final season and has announced that he has no intentions of playing on Team USA this summer. This will be the final time he will be on the same court with all his peers. Ironically, the same court where he once scored 81 points in a regular season game. While this year has been difficult, the 4-time All-Star game MVP will like nothing more than to leave the fans and his opponents with some more signature moments to remember him by.
2. Durant and Westbrook – Western Conference Starters
Let that soak in for a minute, Thunder fans. The All-Star game starters are voted on by the fans. Not just Thunder fans, but the entire world of basketball fans. People in China, India, France, Spain, Australia, Canada, and Mexico all voted for the starters, and enough of them voted for not just one, but two players from the team located in Oklahoma. Believe me, Oklahoma City doesn’t have enough people that care about NBA basketball to move the needle that much. We are extremely lucky to have this opportunity. Savor it, Thunder fans.
3. All-Star game MVP?
You can usually tell who’s gunning for the MVP from the beginning. Most players treat the All-Star game like an exhibition. But if a player notices that his first couple of shots have fallen and he’s got a rhythm, he starts to get that look. He starts to shoot more and doesn’t pass quite as often. Westbrook had that look after his first couple of shots went in last season and went on to win the award. Who will that be this year? My choice is Stephen Curry. He already has an MVP. Adding an All-Star game MVP would add a little bit more to his legacy.