The Westfield Voice

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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

NBA All-Star Weekend


(Photo via UPI)

What a weekend. We got to see a newly formatted all-star game, a controversial dunk contest, and a whole lot of talent. The best of the best in basketball braved the cold in Chicago this passed weekend.

The NBA all-star weekend started off on Friday night with the celebrity all-star game. They start the weekend off with the least exciting event, but it’s a light game with familiar faces to start the rest of the festivities. Rapper and actor Common took home the MVP award in the celebrity game. It was nice for the fans to see a Chicago native win the award in his home city.

On Saturday night, they started off with the Taco Bell skills challenge. An obstacle course that showcases players passing, dribbling, and shooting abilities. Players went head to head in a competition that is usually dominated by smaller players like guards, yet it was won by a big man. The Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo took home the hardware for this competition after beating Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers.

The three-point contest added a new twist this year as did the all-star game. They added two new shots, each set up 6 feet behind the three-point arch. It was an exciting competition between the league’s best shooters. After the initial round, the top three guys move onto the final round. It was Davis Bertans, Devin Booker, and Buddy Hield. Bertans started off the final round and scored twenty-two points out of a total of 40. Booker went next and eliminated Bertans with his 26 points. Finally came Buddy Hield who started a little slow, but he got to his ‘money rack’ (the last one) where the shots count for double, and he went five-for-five on those to beat Booker by a score of 27-26.

To end Saturday night there was the dunk contest. The first two rounds were full of excitement with all four contestants participating. Dwight Howard and Pat Connaughton both put on a good show, but it was not enough to advance them to the second round. Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr. both made their way to the finals. After the two championship round dunks, the judges had them both tied, so they proceeded to a ‘dunk-off’ to decide the winner. They both put on an absolute show, but even after an attempt to jump over the 7’5” Tacko Fall, Aaron Gordon lost in stunning fashion similarly to the way he did in 2016. Derrick Jones Jr. took home the trophy after he threw down a windmill dunk after taking off from just inside the free throw line.

There was some controversy as the judges had allegedly decided to let the two contestants tie in their final scores, and then go to a judges vote to decide the winner. One of the judges either made a mistake or didn’t want to vote because Gordon got a 47 when he needed a 48 for their plan to be successful.

The actual all-star game came on Sunday night, where Team LeBron defeated Team Giannis. After a new format was put in this year, they played three separate games but kept the total score too. Each of the game’s winners donated money to their captains’ charity. With the cumulative scores, they took the leading teams score and added 24 to it in honor of Kobe Bryant. They then played an untimed final quarter to the leading teams score +24. It worked pretty well because the game had to end with a winning shot, but unfortunately it ended on free throws this year. Kawhi Leonard took home the All-Star MVP trophy after Anthony Davis sealed the game with free throws. The NBA named this trophy after Kobe as well. It must have been a touching moment for Leonard, who worked with Kobe in the offseason and had become friendly with him.

The NBA is coming to the final stretch of the regular season as there are about 20 games left in the season. There’s a lot of teams fighting for playoff spots, and this all-star break is something all the players needed, rest.

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