It's that time of year again when the NBA's elite, best shooters, most athletic and a few legends gather to celebrate the league's annual All-Star weekend. After being in Dallas last year in which a record attendance was set in Cowboy stadium, the event will be taking place in the City of Angeles, Los Angeles, which is home to the Lakers and Clippers this year. This event is the league's way of giving the fans a fun filled weekend with various activities and I thought why not make my predictions for the weekends main events. James will also be chipping in with his predictions so this should be fun. Let's get things started with tonight’s event.
Rookie Roster: E. Bledsoe (LAC), D. Cousins (SAC), D. Favors (NJN), L. Fields (NYK), B. Griffin (LAC), W. Johnson (MIN), G. Monroe (DET), G. Neal (SAS), J. Wall (WAS)
Sophomore Roster: D. Blair (SAS), D. DeRozan (TOR), S. Curry (GSW), T. Gibson (CHI), J. Harden (OKC), J. Holiday (PHI), S. Ibaka (OKC), B. Jennings (MIL), W. Matthews (POR), T. Evans (SAC)
The weekend kicks off with the Rookie-Sophomore game which pits the top performing rookies from the season against the top performing sophomores. After losing for seven straight years against the sophomores the Rookies were able to get the win last year and are looking to extend that streak to two straight wins. This game usually features a lot of in-game dunks and with three of the slam dunk participates (DeRozan, Griffin, Ibaka) taking part in this game that trend will most likely continue.
Ryan: Sophomores reign supreme, Curry wins MVP. Curry will probably get a lot of open threes and he won't miss much of those.
James: Sophomores win, DeRozan wins MVP. This type of game suits DeMar's style and if his side wins which history suggests they will he has an excellent chance. Raptor bias aside.
Haier Shooting Stars:
Team Atlanta: Al Horford (Hawks), Coco Miller (WNBA's Atlanta Dream), Steve Smith (Legend)
Team Chicago: Taj Gibson (Bulls), Cathrine Kraayveld (WNBA's Chicago Sky), Steve Kerr (Legend)
Team Los Angeles: Pau Gasol (Lakers), Tina Thompson (WNBA's L.A. Sparks), Rick Fox (Legend)
Team Texas: Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks), Roneeka Hodges (WNBA's S.A. Silver Stars), Kenny Smith (Legend)
In this event NBA and WNBA players team up with an NBA legend to compete in a shooting competition, with shots ranging from midrange jumpers to half-court shots.. Team Texas, then led by Dirk, Becky Hammon and Kenny Smith, as the reigning champs will be looking to defend their title after winning in Dallas last year, but face some stiff competition with the lineups this year, especially since Team LA will have the home-court advantage.
Ryan: Team Texas repeats as champs. Dirk is gonna lead then to another title, plus Kenny Smith would want some bragging rights.
James: Would rather watch a mascot dunk contest instead.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge:
Participants: C. Paul (NOH), R. Westbrook (OKC), S. Curry (GSW), D. Rose (CHI), J. Wall (WAS)
With last year’s champ Steve Nash not participating this year a new champ will be crowned. After going through several drills including dribble courses and passing the player with the faster time in the final round wins. With the talent in this year's competition it should be a very competitive event.
Ryan: CP3 claims the crown as the best PG. Well at least for one night.
James: Westbrook. Seriously this kid is fast and has improved more than any PG in the league. If he can pass through those tire things he can win. THUNDER UP!!
Foot Locker 3-Point Contest:
Participants: P. Pierce (BOS), R. Allen (BOS), J. Jones (MIA), K. Durant (OKC), D. Wright (GSW), D. Gibson (CLE)
The name says it all, this contest it all about the three point shooting. after winning the title last year and boldly declaring himself as the "World's Greatest Shooter" Pierce will have a tough time winning again this year with the guys participating this year. But if he somehow does repeat maybe, just maybe, he is the world's greatest shooter.
Ryan: Pierce's teammate Ray Allen will take the title and show why he's now the NBA's leader in made 3-point FG's. He will also be adding another 3-point trophy to the one he won in 2001.
James: Just to stick it to Reggie Miller, I will pick Ray Allen. His track record in these is not good, but I will gamble and go with him.
Sprite Slam Dunk Contest:
Participants: D. DeRozan (TOR), B. Griffin (LAC), J. McGee (WAS), S. Ibaka (OKC)
After last year’s mediocre contest it seems like this year's will be one worth watching. After losing out to Nate Robinson in last year's contest DeRozan is looking to win this year and bring that trophy back to Toronto for the first time since a fellow by the name of Vince Carter last won a few years ago. Griffin is the odds on favourite to win the contest this year, but he has some tough competitors to go through to claim that trophy. One thing that's new to this year's contest is that there are no rules so we may be seeing some pretty creative things tomorrow night. Each participant was also assigned a dunk coach, so we'll see just how great a coach they were as well.
Ryan: It comes down to the Compton Kid (DeRozan) vs the new face of the PF (Griffin), and in the end Griffin will emerge as the champ. I may be wrong though so don't hold it against me.
James: Ok. I think I know something. I am not going to spill it here, so check out the blog tomorrow prior to dunk contest and I will. But if what I think is true NO ONE IS BEATING DEMAR DEROZAN. No he is not jumping over a chicken on a ladder, but if he does what I am thinking he is going to do, he will win. Blake Griffin is the heavy favourite, but is a better in-game dunker than in a dunk contest.
60th NBA All-Star Game:
East Roster: P. Pierce, R. Allen, K. Garnett, R. Rondo (BOS), D-Wade, C. Bosh, L. James (MIA), A. Horford, J. Johnson (ATL), D. Howard (ORL), A. Stoudemire (NYK), D. Rose (CHI)
West Roster: K. Bryant, P. Gasol (LAL), C. Paul (NOH), K. Durant, R. Westbrook (OKC), C. Anthony (DEN), T. Duncan, M. Ginobli (SAS), D. Nowitzki (DAL), B. Griffin (LAC), K. Love (MIN), D. Williams (UTH)
The East won last year due to huge games by the Heat's current Big 3 (Wade, Bosh and Lebron), who each played for their own separate team, with Wade claiming the MVP trophy. Though this game is mostly for fun and a way for the league's best to give the fans a show, things get serious in the final minutes of the 4th quarter and the teams plays with one goal in mind which is to win. The East leads the all-time series with a 36-23 record, but the West will be looking to get win number 24 on Sunday.
Ryan: The Boston Big 4 and Heat Big 3 prove to be too much and the East walk away with another victory. Lebron claims the MVP trophy.
James: Common sense says West should take this as they are the better conference with more talent in theory, but the East has 4 Celtics and 3 members of the Heat you might have heard of. That team chemistry even in a crazy game like this will mean a lot. Your MVP winner will is Cleveland's "Former" King, Lebron James. I will be live-blogging that game for The Score and Scoremobile so feel free to tune in at 8pm.
Overall it should be a great entertaining weekend with many memorable events. Unlike the regular season well see the players in a more relaxed setting as they would only have one goal this weekend, and that is to give the fans who have continuously supported them a great show and some laughs. This was noted before since it wasn't a main event, but the Celebrity game is also tonight at 7pm EST and features celebrities like Justin Bieber and Common, WNBA stars, and past NBA players/legends like Jalen Rose and Chris Mullen. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy this year's festivities and may the Raptors be well represent on Saturday night.