NBA All-Star recap


By: Madelaine Ho

Another NOLA-hosted high-profile event is a success.

NBA All-Star Weekend kicked off with the Sprint Celebrity All-Star Game Friday, Feb. 14 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, and was followed by the Rising Star Challenge, formerly known as, Rookies versus Sophomores, and sponsored by Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA).

Some celebrity participants were Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Terrence Jenkins (E! News anchor), Michael B. Jordan (“That Awkward Moment”), actor and comedian Kevin Hart, Jesse Williams (“Grey’s Anatomy”), “America’s Got Talent” host Nick Cannon, WNBA players Skylar Diggins and Elena Delle Donne, New Orleans native and actor Romeo Miller. Teams were coached by ESPN’s “NBA Countdown” hosts Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose. Jalen Rose’s team took home the win with a final score of 60-56. Kevin Hart was named the MVP of the game, but gave his award to a more deserving participant Arne Duncan who rallied 20 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists.

The Rising Stars Challenge featured two teams of first and second year players picked by former NBA players Chris Webber and Grant Hill. With the first pick, Team Webber selected the Pelicans’ own Anthony Davis while Team Hill selected point guard Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers.

Joining Davis on Team Webber, are Boston’s Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn), Tim Hardaway Jr. (New York), Steven Adams (Oklahoma City), Victor Oladipo (Orlando), Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia), and Trey Burke (Utah). Joining Lillard on Grant Hill’s team are Pero Antic (Atlanta), Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers), Harrison Barnes (Golden State), Terrence Jones (Houston), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Jonas Valanciunas (Toronto) and Bradley Beal (Washington). Team Hill cam away with the win to a score of 142-136. Pistons’ center Andre Drummond took home the MVP. Drummond rallied 30 points and a Rising Stars-record 25 rebounds.

All-Star Weekend continued Saturday night with the Sears’ Shooting Stars Challenge, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and the Sprite Slam Dunk contest.

Each contest was divided into East vs West. The captain for the East is Indiana Pacer forward Paul George and the captain for the West is Golden State guard Stephen Curry. The winner of each contest was rewarded $100,000 to the charity they were representing and the loser conference was rewarded $50,000. Each team was rewarded $250,000.

The Sear’s Shooting Stars Challenge was divided into four teams; two in the Western Conference and two in the Eastern Conference.

Representing the Western Conference on team one; Stephen Curry (Golden State), his father and NBA Legend Dell Curry, and WNBA player Becky Hammon. Team 2 featured Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City), NBA Legend Karl Malone, and WNBA player Skylar Diggins. Representing the Eastern Conference on team one: Tim Hardaway, Jr. (New York), his father and NBA Legend Tim Hardaway and WNBA player Elena Dell Donne

Representing team two for the Eastern Conference was Chris Bosh (Miami), NBA Legend Dominique Wilkins, and WNBA player Swin Cash. Chris Bosh’s team took home the win. Bosh was 2 for 2 from half court shots.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge underwent a couple of changes to make the competition more interesting. This year there were 4 teams of two; two representing each conference. Representing on team 1 for the East: DeMar DeRozan (Toronto), and rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), and on team 2 for the East: rookie Michael Carter-Williams (Philadelphia) and rookie Victor Oladipo (Orlando).

Representing on team 1 for the West: rookie Trey Burke (Utah) and Damian Lillard (Portland), and on team 4 for the west: Goran Dragic, (Phoenix) and Reggie Jackson (Oklahoma City). The bounce pass was eliminated and at the end of the obstacle course the first player passes the ball to his teammate to score a basket.

The Skills challenge came down to two teams; Michael-Carter Williams and Victor Oladipo vs Trey Burke and Damien Lillard. Burke and Lillard barely edge out Carter-Williams and Oladipo. The final time was separated by a tenth of a second, 45.2 to 45.3.

‘The Foot Locker Three-Point Contest participants included; Arron Afflalo, (Orlando), Bradley Beal (Washington), Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Joe Johnson (Brooklyn), Marco Belinelli (San Antonio), Stephen Curry (Golden State), Damian Lillard (Portland) Kevin Love (Minnesota). This year a money ball rack was added and players can choose where on the court to put it. The moneyball is worth 2 points. The contest came down to Belinelli and Beal. The final round came down to a tie and forced to go to a tie-breaker. Belinelli edge out Beal with a score of 24 to 18 in the tie-breaker.

The Sprite Slam Dunk participants were divided into two teams. Representing the East were Paul George (Indiana), John Wall (Washington), and Terrence Ross (Toronto). Ross was the 2013 slam dunk champ. On the West was Harrison Barnes (Golden State), Damian Lillard (Portland), and rookie Ben McLemore (Kings).

The Slam Dunk contest also underwent several changes to make the contest more interesting. Instead of having individual rounds, each team participated in a freestyle round and a battle round. In the freestyle round each team had 1 minute to come up with the most creative dunks and each player on both teams must dunk. In the battle round, a player from each team go head to head. The Eastern conference swept both rounds and took home the win. John Wall was name the individual slam dunk champ.

On Sunday, the NBA All-Star game kicked off with a pre game concert at the Bud Light District with performances by pop artist Jason Derulo, singer-songwriter Aloe Blacc and Grammy nominated recording artist Mack Wilds. Opening tip-off for the All-Star game began with introductions and a performance by Pharrell Williams, with guest performances by Sean “Diddy” Combs, Snoop Lion, Nelly, and Busta Rhymes. Singer Gary Clark Jr. did a guitar rendition of the National Anthem.

The halftime show brought together Trombone Shorty,  Dr. John, Gary Clark Jr., Janelle Monae, and Earth, Wind and Fire.

This year’s All-Star game was the highest scoring game in All-Star history. A total of 318 points was scored, breaking the previous record of 303 in 1987. The final score for the All-Star game was East 163 – West 155. Cavalier guard Kyrie Irving came away with the Kia All-Star MVP. Irving rallied 31 points (14/17), 14 assists, and 5 rebounds. Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Clippers’ forward Blake Griffin each rallied 38 points. Durant and Griffin’s 38 points is the 3rd highest points scored in an All-Star game. Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony broke the record for most 3s in an All-Star game with 8.

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