Exciting All-Star Weekend highlights busy week of NBA action

With All-Star Weekend having just been pasted on the NBA calendar, some teams are hoping to ride hot streaks following the break, while others are hoping to make a final push toward the playoffs. This edition will be focusing on teams that are trying to make a push into the playoffs.

On Monday, Feb. 12, the New Orleans Pelicans went on the road to play the Detroit Pistons. Since the DeMarcus Cousins injury, All-Star Anthony Davis has put the team on his back and he is beginning to dominate his opponents. In his matchup with Blake Griffin, Davis dominated, putting up 38 points and 10 rebounds. His performance led to a 118-103 win. Going into the all-star break, the Pelicans are 31-26 and the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

The Los Angeles Clippers are trying to stay in the mix as well, for the eighth seed in the West, even after losing star Griffin. In their game against the Brooklyn Nets, seven of their players scored double-digit points, leading them to a 114-101 victory. They were led by their center DeAndre Jordan, who scored 16 points and had 17 rebounds. At 30-26, they are just one game out of the eighth seed.

The following day, the new-look Cleveland Cavaliers played the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Cavs are looking to win four games in a row. LeBron James continues to dominate his opponents and is making sure that the Cavs will make another run to the Finals.

This game was close, but the Cavs were able to hold out in the end and win 120-112. LeBron finished with 37 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The top four of the five starters for the Thunder finished with over 20 points. At the break, the Cavs are 34-22 and are currently third in the Eastern Conference, while the Thunder are 33-26 and fifth in the West. However, both teams are not living up to their expectations.

The Miami Heat are currently in the eighth seed in the East. On Tuesday, the Heat matched up against the first seed in the conference, the Toronto Raptors.

The Raptors led by as much as 17 points in the fourth quarter, but the Heat were able to cut the lead all the way down to two, although the Heat’s Josh Richardson was unable to hit the game-tying three-pointer with the clock hitting zero. The Raptors won 115-112. Goran Dragic led the Heat with 28 points, and Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with 27 points in
their win.

On Wednesday, Feb. 14, the Philadelphia 76ers were looking for their fifth consecutive win against the Heat. With Joel Embiid resting with a sore right ankle, Ben Simmons stepped up and recorded a triple-double, but even with his performance, the Sixers were only able to win 104-102. The Sixers are going into the break at 30-25 and sit in the seventh seed in the East.

The Utah Jazz have been rolling through their competition recently, as they have won 10 games in a row. In their game against the Phoenix Suns, rookie Donovan Mitchell continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year as he finished with 24 points.

He led the team to its 11th win in a row by a score of 107-97. They currently sit as the 10th seed in the West and are hoping that they can continue this current hot streak
after the break.

In the night cap of the day, the Golden State Warriors traveled to play the Portland Trail Blazers in what would be a great game. Both Blazers’ Damian Lillard and Warriors’ Kevin Durant went off in the game, with Lillard finishing at 44 points and Durant finishing at 50 points. Although Durant won the points battle, Lillard got the last laugh as the Blazers beat the Warriors 123-117. Following the loss, the Warriors fell out of the first seed in the West to the second seed, behind the Houston Rockets. The Trail Blazers are sitting in the seventh seed in the conference.

On Thursday, Feb. 15, the final day before the break began, only two games were played. The Denver Nuggets went on the road to play the Milwaukee Bucks, hoping they could come out with a win. Nuggets’ star center Nikola Jokic finished the first half with an impressive triple-double, and ended with an amazing 30-point, 15-rebound and 17-assist game. Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo also finished the game with a triple-double, but Joki’s effort was not in vain as the Nuggets came out with the 134-123 win. Both the Nuggets and Bucks are sixth in the West and East respectively.

Friday, Feb. 16, was the beginning of the All-Star Weekend festivities, kicking off with the Celebrity All-Star Game. Team Clippers beat Team Lakers 75-66. The MVP of the game was rap star Quavo, who is part of the hip-hop trio known as Migos. He finished with 19 points.

This game was directly followed by the Rising Stars Challenge, played by Team USA and Team World. In this game, Team World dominated 155-124. Sacramento Kings’ rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic received the MVP award by finishing with 26 points on 7-13 shooting from three and six assists.

Saturday, Feb. 17, hosted all the fan-favorite festivities. Spencer Dinwiddie won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Devin Booker won the JBL Three-Point Contest and Donovan Mitchell won the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest.

The All-Star Game between Team LeBron James and Team Stephen Curry took place on Sunday, Feb. 18. In this game, the teams swapped out the traditional East versus West format and went with a draft led by two captains. The captains — LeBron and Curry – were chosen after receiving the highest vote total from the fans.

LeBron’s team came out on top by a score of 148-145, with the team captain fittingly hitting the game-winning layup with just 34 seconds left in the game. LeBron also took home the MVP award after finishing with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Curry only finished with 11 points. Each member of the winning team received $100,000, while the losers
received $25,000.

February 28, 2018

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Matteo Flamio

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