2012 NBA All-Star Weekend – What To Watch For

Well, NBA All-Star weekend is upon us. If you’re like a lot of fans here in OKC, you probably really want to see when Thunder players are involved, and probably don’t care too much about the rest of it all. So, I’ve taken the liberty of setting up a Thunder fan’s guide to watching the All-Star game. 

Friday, February 23rd:

What: Celebrity All-Star Game
Who: Kevin Durant – coaching the Western squad
When:  Friday, 6 p.m. on ESPN.
Info: This year’s players include celebrities from film, TV and music and will feature:

  • Grammy Award-winner Ne-Yo (R&B/pop)
  • Common (Just Wright)
  • JB Smoove (“Curb Your Enthusiasm”)
  • Vinny Guadagnino (“Jersey Shore”)
  • Kevin Hart (Laugh At My Pain); Javier Colon (“The Voice”)
  • Drew and Jonathan Scott (“Property Brothers”)
  • Jesse Williams (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
  • NBA Legends Mitch Richmond (six-time NBA All-Star)
  • Penny Hardaway (four-time NBA All-Star)
  • Nick Anderson (NBA legend)
  • 2011 WNBA MVP Tamika Catchings (WNBA, Indiana Fever)
  • Doug Gottlieb (ESPN, “The Doug Gottlieb Show”).

Saturday, February 24th

What: NBA D-League All-Star Game
Who: Tulsa 66ers (OKC’s minor league team); Jerome Dyson and Marcus Lewis
When: 1 p.m. on NBATV
Info: Tulsa 66ers players Jerome Dyson and Marcus Lewis will play for the West All-Stars.

What: Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Who: Russell Westbrook
When: All-Star coverage starts at 7 p.m. on TNT – This is the 2nd event of the Night
Info:  Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors will defend his Taco Bell Skills Challenge title against a field consisting of Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets. The 2012 Taco Bell Skills Challenge will take place on Feb. 25, at Amway Center in Orlando.

This year’s Taco Bell Skills Challenge will feature an expanded field from five to six participants. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta and features players competing in a two-round timed “obstacle course” consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course.

The two players with the fastest times from the first round advance to the finals with the order of competition determined by inverse order of the first round times. At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.

What: Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
Who: Kevin Durant
When: All-Star coverage starts at 7 p.m. on TNT – This is the 3rd event of the Night (about 8:30)
Info: Reigning champion James Jones of the Miami Heat will defend his title in this year’s Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, against Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ryan Anderson of the hometown Orlando Magic, Anthony Morrow of the New Jersey Nets, and Mario Chalmers of the Heat. The Hawks’ Joe Johnson was scheduled to compete, but will now miss due to a knee injury. Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star Kevin Durant will compete in his place.

The players will compete in the two-round competition with the top three finishers from the first round advancing to the finals. Five shooting stations will be set up around the three-point line, with four Official Spalding NBA game balls worth one point each and one Spalding NBA All-Star 2012 commemorative red, white and blue “money ball” worth two points at each location. Each player will have one minute to shoot as many balls as he can. In the final round, players will shoot in ascending order of first-round scores. At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.

Durant competed in last year’s Three-Point contest as well. He didn’t fair very well. He didn’t make it out of the first round, only scoring six points out of a possible 30.

Sunday, February 25th

What: 2012 NBA All-Star Game
Who: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Coach Scott Brooks
When: 6:30 p.m. Coverage starts at 6 p.m. on TNT
Info:  Kevin Durant was selected as a starter for the Western conference for the second consecutive year. It’s his third All-Star selection. He’s averaging 24.5 PPG 4 RPG in 25 game minutes.

Russell Westbrook made his first All-Star selection last season. This will be his second selection to the All-Star Game. Last season Westbrook played 14 minutes, had 12 points on 6-12 shooting. Westbrook also tabbed 5 rebounds and 2 assists.

Brooks is going to coach his first All-Star game. He was never an All-Star as a player, so this will be a new experience for him as well.

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