For the fans in attendance at the Toyota Center in Houston and for the millions of television viewers around the world, the NBA All-Star Weekend certainly did not disappoint. As with every year, the weekend of events with the world’s best basketball players brought with it lofty expectations, but they were easily met or exceeded as the 62nd showdown between the Eastern and Western conferences turned out to be a instant classic. And before Sunday’s big game, the fans were dazzled by the entertaining preliminary events that included the high-flying slam dunk contest and the three-point shootout. Here’s a recap of the events for those of you who missed the All-Star festivities this year.
Friday Feb. 15 – Rising Stars Challenge
The game featuring the NBA’s top young talent – the Rising Stars Challenge – ended up being the highest scoring game of the weekend as Team Chuck – coached by Charles Barkley – defeated Team Shaq – coached by Shaquille O’Neal – 163-135 on Friday night. Obviously, with such a high score there were numerous big-point performances, but none topped Denver Nuggets sophomore Kenneth “Manimal” Faried, who scored 40 points and collected 10 rebounds for Team Chuck in the win.
Saturday Feb. 16 – Skills Challenge, Shooting Stars, Three-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest
In the Skills Challenge – an event that pits the league’s best guards against the clock in a series of ball-handling, shooting and passing drills – Blazers rookie Damian Lillard took home the top prize, beating out Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday with a time of 29.8 seconds.
Then in the Shooting Stars competition – an event that teams up an NBA legend, a current star and a WNBA star in a spot-shooting contest – Chris Bosh’s team, which included former Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash of the Chicago Sky, went on to victory, defeating Russell Westbrook’s team in the finals. Wilkins impressively drained two half-court shots (worth the most points) to seal the win.
In the Three-Point Shootout, multiple event participator Kyrie Irving beat the field of top perimeter marksmen by scoring 23 points in the final round. Stephen Curry was considered the favorite going into the event, but it came down to Irving and Matt Bonner in the end, with Irving coming out on top.
But the finale of the night really blew the roof off the building as the highest flying and most powerful dunkers from around the league took to the skies in the Slam Dunk Contest. After some jaw-dropping one-hand slams and reserve jams, Toronto Raptors rookie Terrence Ross stole the show by jumping over a ball boy and going between the legs in midair to score 10s across the board from the judges to secure the title.
Sunday Feb.17 – All-Star Game
Of course, all of this excitement led up the game itself and the game kept the electricity flowing through the Toyota Center crowd as the West took home its third consecutive win, this time by a score of 143-138. The Eastern Conference’s comeback attempt was thwarted late as Kobe Bryant blocked two LeBron James shots, one of which was taken back the other way for an uncontested dunk by Kevin Durant. Although Bryant’s defensive presence helped the West earn the victory, Chris Paul earned the game’s MVP award with his overall play as he put in 20 points and dished out 15 assists. Durant led all scorers with 30 points on the night.
The NBA will return from its break this Tuesday as the regular season resumes , so check out Fandeavor.com’s incredible experiences to get in on the excitement!