The busiest day of NBA All-Star weekend is upon us. NBA All-Star Saturday Night, which will start at 8:30 p.m. on TNT with the Sears Shooting Stars event, which will be followed by the Taco Bells Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk contest in that order. TNT will kickoff the coverage at 8 p.m. for what should be one of the most exciting days on the NBA calendar.
This has been a weekend for Cleveland Cavalier fans to enjoy as they get to watch their young stars on the big stage show their talents off to the world. Friday night, Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller – members of Team Shaq – faced off against Team Chuck and Tristan Thompson in a contest that quickly turned ugly (and boring).
As a team, the Cavaliers combined for 35-of-44 (79.5 percent) shooting from the field and totaled 79 points on the night. Although the lane was mostly open on both sides all night long, Irving still put on a dazzling shooting performance at the expense of Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons. Team Chuck came away with a 163-135 lopsided victory, leaving Thompson as the lone victor for the Cavaliers.
On Saturday night fans will get to see Irving perform once again, but this time he will be shooting strictly three pointers. He will then have to save whatever energy he has left for the All-Star Game on Sunday night. Hopefully he continues putting on a show for Houston and fans from all around the world on Saturday.
For the first event, four teams will be competing for the title of Sears Shooting Stars champion. Each team is made up of one current NBA star, one current WNBA star and one retired NBA player. Representing the Western Conference are Team Harden and Team Westbrook. Team Harden will consist of James Harden, Tina Thompson and Sam Cassell, while Team Westbrook will consist of Russell Westbrook, Maya Moore and Robert Horry. On the flip side, Team Bosh and Team Lopez will be competing for the Eastern Conference. Team Bosh consists of Chris Bosh, Swin Cash and Dominique Wilkins, while Team Lopez consists of Brook Lopez, Tamika Catchings and Muggsy Bogues.
Prediction: Team Westbrook will shoot lights out and come away with a victory over his former teammate. Here are the rules for the Sears Shooting Stars event.
Next up is the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, in which three players from each conference will be competing. Last year’s winner Tony Parker is back to defend his title. Damian Lillard, the first pick in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft, and Jeremy Lin will be the other two contestants representing the Western Conference. From the Eastern Conference, Jrue Holiday, Brandon Knight and Jeff Teague will try and bring the award back to the East for the first time since Derrick Rose brought home the honors in 2009. A lot of the unnoticed young floor generals of the NBA will have the chance to show off their skills, but it may not be enough to knock out the sage of the group.
Prediction: The eldest point guard will once again come away with a victory in the Skills Challenge. By doing that he will become just the second player to do so since Dwyane Wade repeated in 2006 and 2007. Here are the rules for the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.
After the first two events Cleveland fans will finally get to see some more Kyrie. The third event is the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and Irving will be putting on for the East along with Paul George and Steve Novak. Last year’s winner Kevin love will not be competing in the challenge this time around, but Ryan Anderson, Matt Bonner and Stephen Curry will suffice as contestants from the Western Conference. The six players in the challenge are among the best in the NBA from beyond the arc.
Here is how they match up statistically this season:
George – 38.6 percent from three, attempts 5.7 threes per game and has made 115 of his 298 long-range attempts
Irving – 42.5 percent from three, attempts 4.6 threes per game and has made 82 of his 193 long-range attempts
Novak – 44.7 percent from three, attempts 4.4 threes per game and has made 96 of his 215 long-range attempts
Anderson – 40.2 percent from three, attempts 7.5 threes per game and has made 159 of his 396 long-range attempts
Bonner – 44.6 percent from three, attempts 1.8 threes per game and has made 37 of his 83 long-range attempts
Curry – 44.7 percent from three, attempts 6.9 threes per game and has made 149 of his 333 long-range attempts
Prediction: Novak will display the Discount Double Check Belt throughout the evening on Saturday in a down-to-the-wire duel with Curry. Novak will get the last laugh with a lights-out performance in the final round. Here are the rules for the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest.
Lastly is the dunk contest. Despite their not being any huge names in this year’s contest, it still looks to be a promising one. James White of the New York Knicks has had the Twitter world talking after his comments earlier on Saturday:
“I’ve been in about 1,000 dunk contests, I got LeBron stats in dunk contests.” — James White
— Ben Golliver (@blazersedge) February 16, 2013
Strong words, but will they be able to hold true against they younger stars in the contest (White is 30)? Gerald Green – winner of the contest in 2007 – and Terrence Ross will join him in the Eastern Conference. I see the award being won by any of those three aforementioned players, but after what Kenneth Faried did last night, anything is possible. Faried will have Eric Bledsoe and Jeremy Evans — last year’s winner — as Western Conference representatives. Faried is the highest-scoring player in the contest, as he is currently averaging 12.3 points. Overall, the six players have a combined 6.4 PPG career average. We probably won’t see superstars coming back to the dunk contest anytime soon, so hopefully these eager dunkers are ready to put on a show.
Prediction: Here are the rules for the Sprite Slam Dunk contest and my predicted winner in video form:
Enjoy the festivities of All-Star Saturday and make sure to check back on Right Down Euclid for results and an analysis of Kyrie’s performance in the three-point shootout.