Basketball

2019 NBA – All-Star Weekend – Basketball at it best plus some more

BY MARK ARCHER
Contributor

Friday, February 15, 2019

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THE National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Weekend takes place this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, and for some teams, the break can't come soon enough.

There have, however, been some outstanding performances thus far his season and overall the league has been very competitive. Most notably, the Houston Rockets' James Harden has gone 30 games straight with at least 30-points (only bettered by Wilt Chamberlain with 31) and OKC Thunders' Russell Westbrook has the NBA-record of 10 straight triple-doubles.

The Top 8 Teams from each conference (going into the break) are listed below but most are precariously perched and some (including LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers) are not currently in the playoff frame and have a lot of ground to cover.

The weekend will feature the usual highlights with some very slight changes to the selections for the All-Star Teams. The full events are listed below:

All-Star Celebrity Game: Friday, February 15th - All-Star Weekend kicks off with NBA legends, WNBA stars, actors and musicians teaming up. Among those scheduled to play are Ray Allen, Terrence J, JB Smoove, Doctor Oz, Steve Smith, Bad Bunny and Sue Bird. The reigning MVP, Quavo, a member of the hip-hop group Migos, poured in 19 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists en route to MVP honours in Los Angeles last season. He will be attempting to go for back-to-back titles. The most recent celebrity game player to win consecutive MVPs was Kevin Hart, who won four straight from 2012 to 2016.

Rising Stars Challenge: Friday, February 15th - The NBA's next generation hits the court for the Rising Stars Challenge. For the fifth straight year, the USA faces the rest of the world in a showcase of the league's best first and second-year players. Second-year standout Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, who took home top honours in last year's dunk contest, headlines a USA roster that includes the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kyle Kuzma. On the other side of the court, after coming up just short in All-Star Game voting, sensational Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic leads a World Team stacked with talent, including Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons, 2018 number 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton and Chicago Bulls big man Lauri Markkanen.

All-Star Saturday Night: Saturday, February 16th - A field of eight compete head-to-head in a three-round timed tournament, with the brackets' two winners battling for the title in the final round. Players must complete the following obstacle-course drills: ball-handling, passing, layup/dunk, 3-pointer. The competitors this year are: Mike Conley, Luka Doncic, De'Aaron Fox, Nikola Jokic, Kyle Kuzma, Jayson Tatum, Nikola Vucevic and Trae Young.

3-Point Contest: Saturday, February 16th - Ten of the NBA's best shooters take the court for the two-round competition, with each player having 60 seconds to shoot and make as many of the 25 balls as he can. Four of the five racks of balls include four regulation NBA balls (one point) and one “money” ball (two points). The fifth rack consists only of money balls and can be placed at any of the five shooting locations. The competitors this year are: Devin Booker, Seth Curry, Stephen Curry, Danny Green, Joe Harris, Buddy Hield, Damian Lillard, Khris Middleton, Dirk Nowitzki and Kemba Walker.

Dunk Contest: Saturday, February 16th - Four of the game's high-flyers (Charlotte Hornets' Miles Bridges, Atlanta Hawks' John Collins, OKC Thunder's Hamidou Diallo and New York Knicks' Dennis Smith Jr) take centre stage in this the (arguably) premier event of the weekend.

The format is as follows:

Round 1: Each competitor will complete two dunks, and the two players with the highest composite scores will move on to the championship round. The maximum score per round is 100, while the lowest score is 60.

Championship Round: The remaining two competitors will each complete two dunks; the player with the highest composite score is crowned champion. As is the case for Round 1, the maximum score per round is 100, while the lowest score is 60.

Tiebreaker (if necessary): A one-dunk “dunk-off” will determine who advances to the championship round or who is crowned champion. If, after a championship-round dunk-off two players are still tied, a “judges' choice” will determine the 2019 winner.

68th NBA All-Star Game: Sunday, February 17th - For the second straight year, the two teams competing in the All-Star game were selected using a playground-style draft. The 10 starters were selected via a vote combination: 50 per cent from fans, 25 per cent from players and 25 per cent from basketball media. The two starters with the most fan votes in each conference (Lebron James from the Western Conference and Giannis Antetokounmpo from the Eastern Conference) were named captains. The NBA's coaches made the selections for the 14 reserves. A newly added round was introduced this year to include featured special roster additions Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron might have been silently recruiting for his current team, as five of his first six picks (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis and Klay Thompson) are all potential free-agents this summer.

There was also a crucial last-minute, All-Star trade that sent reigning Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons to Team LeBron in exchange for OKC's triple-double machine Russell Westbrook. With Durant and Westbrook now on separate teams, the contest is truly on.

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Pos. Team Win Loss
1 Milwaukee Bucks 42 14
2 Toronto Raptors 42 16
3 Indiana Pacers 38 19
4 Boston Celtics 36 21
5 Philadelphia 76ers 36 21
6 Brooklyn Nets 29 29
7 Charlotte Hornets 27 29
8 Detroit Pistons 26 29


WESTERN CONFERENCE
Pos. Team Win Loss
1 GS Warriors 41 15
2 Denver Nuggets 38 18
3 OKC Thunder 37 19
4 Portland Trail Blazers 33 23
5 Houston Rockets 33 23
6 Utah Jazz 32 25
7 San Antonio Spurs 33 26
8 Sacramento Kings 30 26

JustBet continues to offer odds on all major sports and sporting events including the NBA and, more specifically, All-Star Weekend. Visit one of the over 100 locations (or visit www.justbetja.com ) for details and place your bets on the prediction of your choice for maximum winnings…… Get in the GAME!


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