As many of you (probably three of our five readers) have noticed, the usual weekly posts hit a snag with the new year causing mass chaos in my workplace. In fact, as I started writing this post, my office went into disaster mode turning a morning slow enough to write a blog post into something out of Mad Max. Anyway, I’m working on getting the weekly series back on track and with the NBA All Star Game this weekend, I figured I’d start with “Livin’ For the Weekend.” Hockey Roundup fans, stay tuned…
NBA All Star Weekend 2017
Last year’s All Star Game “Livin’ For the Weekend” post was a lot of fun to write so I’m excited to watch the action once again. This year, the celebration moves to the Big Easy for the third time in ten seasons. This year’s game was supposed to be held in Charlotte but was moved because of the controversial Bathroom Law in the state of North Carolina. After last year’s record-shattering 196-173 Western Conference win in Toronto, this year’s game should once again be a scoring frenzy. The entire weekend should be a lot of fun, let’s take a look at the action:
This year’s Celebrity game returns to the classic East vs. West format as both teams will be coached by the new 6 o’clock Sportscenter hosts: Jamelle Hill coaching the East and Michael Smith coaching the West. While I think both of the former His and Hers hosts will do a great job coaching and know how to put on a good show (as most coaches in this game do), I think Michael Smith inherited the better roster. While the East may have nine-time celeb-game vet Nick Cannon and Peter Rosenberg, the West has both Candace Parker and Baron Davis. Add in the Falcon himself, Anthony Mackie, and I think the West will have this locked up.
The Rising Stars challenge continues to be one of the most exciting parts of the weekend. Team World may be missing Joel Embiid and Emmanuel Mudiay due to injury but they are still LOADED with so many different combinations. My personal favorite five might be Dante Exum, Buddy Hield, Nikola Jokic, the Prozingod, and Dario Saric with Domantas Sobonis getting heavy minutes as well. The Americans have a solid squad as well with Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Brandon Ingram to name a few, but I like the World team more.
Saturday: Individual Competitions
With Karl-Anthony Towns winning the Skills Competition last year, it wouldn’t be wise to automatically assume that a big man can’t win this year. The bracket for the Skill Competition will likely be broken up by size again, big men on one side and the smaller players on the other. I haven’t looked at any odds, but given how hot he is coming into the All Star Break I’d expect to see Isaiah Thomas put on a show. With Embiid out, Jokic takes his place and I’d actually think he’d be the one to come out of the big man side over Porzingas. I don’t see the Dunk Contest being nearly as exciting as last year since we’ll likely see Aaron Gordon run away with the crown. The three-point contest might be the site of the night, though. BOTH Splash Brothers, Swaggy P, Uncle Drew, C.J. McCollum (!!!), Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, and Eric Gordon. I have a feeling there may be multiple shoot-offs to break a lot of ties. Given the fun-nature of the night, I think we could expect to see Riley Curry run on to the court at some point.
Sunday: All Star Game – (rosters)
Given how much the West won by last year with much more even rosters, it’s not hard to see that the West should run away with this game. The West’s starting five is deadly, even without Russ rightfully starting at guard. It’s not that the East’s starts aren’t great; they obviously are considering it’s the ALL STAR GAME but I’d take Curry/Harden/KD over Irving/LeBron/(insert any player) any day. Butler/Kawhi and Giannis/Anthony Davis will be fun matchups to watch as well, but what really convinces me is amount of firepower coming off of the West’s bench compared to the East’s bench. Russ edges Isaiah Thomas and is the only player right now who could edge the King of the Fourth; Klay Thompson and Kyle Lowry are pretty even; but the West’s forwards of Draymond, Boogie Cousins, Marc Gasol, and DeAndre Jordan definitely have the edge on Melo, Paul George, Paul Millsap. West wins.
I couldn’t find if the NBA and Twitter made hashtags again this. If anyone can, please leave them in the comments.
Other Things to Watch For This Weekend:
Rivalry Week may be over in college basketball but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a huge slate of CBB this weekend. Tomorrow we’ll see #3 Kansas travel to #4 Baylor in a pivotal Big XII showdown. You can catch that game at 1pm on CBS. On Saturday night, #14 Virginia travels to the Dean Dome to face #10 UNC (8:15pm on ESPN) and later that night, USC faces archrival #6 UCLA at Pauley Pavilion (10:00pm on Pac-12 Network). Sunday afternoon see the limping #11 Wisconsin Badgers host the #23 Maryland Terrapins for the top spot in the Big Ten. Hockey fans should expect to hear all about Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid trading the NHL points lead as the Pens play tonight and Sunday while the Oilers head to Chicago Saturday night for one of the most exciting Western Conference showdowns yet! Golf fans will hopefully see the end of the Genesis Open if the weather ever clears up at Riviera.
Did I miss anything? What are you looking forward to this weekend? Let me know in the comments!