The NBA annually host an All-Star weekend around the half way point of the regular season. This special weekend consists of the rising stars game, a fashion show, celebrity game, dunk and 3 point contest and lastly the memorable all-star game. This year was the 64th edition of this exciting event. It was hosted at the popular Madison Square Garden, which has hosted many performances from the hip hop legends, Jay Z, Biggie, Kanye West, as well as the official NFL championship after-party.
This was a special year for the All- Star Weekend; Not only because it was the first time a head coach, Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors and coaching staff represented a conference, but also because it’s the year Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, popularly known as the splash brothers’ both started for the Western Conference All-star team.
In the All-star game, 4 time MVP LeBron James, was off to a hot start but was quickly silenced by Westbrook 27 points off the bench by halftime. At the conclusion of the game, the West pulled through thanks to the strong performances by James Harden, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Steph Curry.
Besides the exciting All- star game, Zach LaVine and Nigeria’s Victor Oladipo lit up the show with their unique skills set dunks that ranged from the reverse and 540 to MJ-esque power dunks.
However, it also marked the the beginning of the second half of the NBA season. In the last 50 games, there have many been surprises: One of the more popular topics these days includes the Golden State Warriors. After losing to the Los Angeles Clippers in game 7, no one expected this same team with new coaching staff headed by Steve Kerr, would be the front runner to win the 2014-2015 NBA championship as well as having the leading MVP candidate Steph Curry, and most improved player of the year, so far, Draymond Green.
Also, there have been many upsets: The current champions, San Antonio Spurs have been performing below par. The Parker-Ginobli-Duncan era is certainly on the decline. Rumors say this might be their last season, some reporters claim when Greg Popovic retires they will honor him and do the same. On the flip side this certainly isn’t the first time people have written the old Spurs faithful off and probably won’t be the last.
LeBron James and the Cavaliers have also grown into a formidable team, upsetting many this season: They started the season in terrible form, their MVP also got injured, and tensions between he and All-star, Kevin Love developed. However, after a three way trade which resulted in the acquisition of JR. Smith and Iman Shumpert in the new year, along with Timofey Mozgov, they have finally clicked and become serious contenders for the championship title alongside the Atlanta Hawks who surprisingly had four of their five starters make the Eastern conference All-star roster. The Hawks also made history when the NBA named their entire starting lineup the “Player of the Month” for the month on January, a month in which the Hawks won every game.
I believe the last 30 games will be exciting as the top teams would look to continue their form from the last half of the season. It is very important for teams to start looking to relieve their starters due to the frequent end of season injuries that usually influence the playoffs hopes of teams. Key players for the Warriors’ to rest include Andrew Bogut and Klay Thompson. The Rocket’s need to have Dwight Howard healthy enough for their likely tough matchup against the Mavericks in the first round. The injury-plagued Spurs’ will need to have everyone healthy seemingly as that is their only way of making it past the 1st round games potentially against the Warriors or the Memphis Grizzlies. Lastly, the Pelicans who are currently not in the playoff picture will need everything from Anthony Davis who is their only chance of taking them to the NBA play offs.
The recent trade deadline saw a flurry of activity with the Phoenix Suns making the most moves. They sent Goran Dragic to the Miami Heat, Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics and many more. They also received Brandon Knight from the Milwaukee Bucks, whom in return gain former Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams. The Bucks and the Heat seem to gain the most from the trade and look to gain advantage of a weak Eastern Conference match-up in an attempt to make a late playoff push.
Find below some of the top plays from the All Star Weekend.