The NBA has an annual break at the midpoint in the season where the league comes together, and we see things that are not very common. Whether it be something like the three point contest, dunk contest, skills challenge or maybe even the all star game itself, fans are treated to a weekend full of fun.
Friday marked the Rising Stars Challenge where first and second year players in the NBA compete in a showcase game centered solely around them. This year saw a new format to how the game is played. Four teams of seven players, competing in a three-game tournament. Games in the semifinals were up to 50 points and the finals were only up to 25 points.
Teams were drafted by the coaches of each respective team who were hall of famers during their own time. Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons came up big for Team Barry earning a 25-20 victory in the finals. His 18 points, seven rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and two steals saw him earn MVP honors of the Rising Stars game.
Saturday was the day for minigames in basic terms. At this time, the three point contest, dunk contest and skills challenge were played.
The Skills challenge also saw a new format this year. Three teams made of three players competed in three rounds to see who the winners were. The Antetokounpo’s were a team made up of the three siblings in the NBA. Rooks was the team of the NBA rookies Josh Giddey, Cade Cunningham and Scottie Barnes. Last but certainly not least was the Cavs consisting of Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and Darius Garland. At the end of the final round the Cavs won the Skills Challenge by the hands of a halfcourt shot by Mobley in front of the home crowd in Ohio.
Next was the three point contest which is usually one of the more entertaining activities of the night. In a shootout with favorites such as Trae Young, C.J McCollum, Zach Lavine and Patty Mills to name a couple, it was the biggest underdog who remained at the end. Center Karl Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves won it all and recorded 29 points in the final round which was the most ever in a final round. For someone who many did not think he belonged there with the other names, he changed the opinion many had of him.
To end the night on Saturday the Dunk contest took place between four competitors. Jalen Green, Obi Toppin, Cole Anthony and Juan Toscano-Anderson. Fan favorites Jalen Green and Cole Anthony were both eliminated in the opening round. When it was all said and done, it was Toppin from the Knicks who became the Slam Dunk Champion.
All that is left is the biggest event of the weekend, which is the All Star game itself. Team Lebron vs Team Durant is the game many have been waiting for. Although one team looks significantly better than the other on paper, these are still all stars of the league, meaning each and every one of them is a capable player.
Tune in Sunday night to see how it plays out on TNT. Team Lebron or Team Durant?