After initially scrapping the event during a shortened season and facing criticism at reversing course, the 70th NBA All-Star Game goes on Sunday from Atlanta.
Like the season schedule in general, All-Star weekend was severely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, All-Star weekend isn't even an entire weekend. The festivities have been truncated — there was no Rising Stars game — and squeezed into a single day. The skills competition and 3-point shootout will take place Sunday before the game, with the dunk contest at halftime.
The All-Star Game is usually one of the marquee events on the NBA calendar, but it will be far more subdued this year with strict health and safety protocols in place (although some folks in Atlanta aren't exactly cooperating).
All of #NBAAllStar in One Night – TOMORROW Sunday March 7th on [email protected] breaks it down! pic.twitter.com/pymp9jlxRI
Even so, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver defended the league's decision to stage the game and downplayed any safety concerns. He also touted the NBA's pledge to donate nearly $3 million from the events to groups supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
Will things go off smoothly? We can only cross our fingers and wait for tip-off to find out. In the meantime, here's everything to know for Sunday's NBA All-Star Game:
How to watch
Coverage on TNT begins at 5 p.m. ET with the NBA Tip-Off Show, followed by the skills challenge and 3-point shootout at 6:30 p.m. ET. The All-Star Game is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET, with the slam dunk contest at halftime.
Who are the starters?
Starting for Team LeBron will be LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic. The starters for Team Durant are Kawhi Leonard, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving and Bradley Beal.
LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will be teammates for this year's All-Star Game after they were opponents in 2020. (Photo: Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports)
Who are the reserves?
The reserves for Team LeBron are: Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons, Chris Paul, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Domantas Sabonis and Rudy Gobert.
Coming off the bench for Team Durant are: James Harden, Zion Williamson, Julius Randle, Zach LaVine, Nikola Vucevic, Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.
How will the winner be decided?
For the second year in a row, the All-Star Game will use an untimed fourth quarter and a target score to decide the winner. The target score will be determined by taking the leading team's total score through three quarters and adding 24 (to represent the late Kobe Bryant's jersey number). The first team to reach the target score wins.
Who is participating in the skills challenge?
Phoenix's Chris Paul, Dallas' Luka Doncic, New York's Julius Randle, Portland's Robert Covington, Indiana's Domantas Sabonis and Orlando's Nikola Vucevic.
Who is participating in the 3-point shootout?
Golden State's Steph Curry, Boston's Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, Chicago's Zach LaVine and Utah's Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley.
Who is participating in the dunk contest?
Portland's Anfernee Simons, Indiana's Cassius Stanley and New York's Obi Toppin.
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.
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