This crazy NBA season is about to take a chill pill. After Thursday, it's the All-Star break. Much needed for the players and teams. Four days of games, then a weekend of excitement, relaxation and collaboration in Orlando. Sounds thrilling!
This is what's worth watching this week, all times are eastern.
Tuesday at 8:00 PM, the Sixers look to ring the Liberty Bell and deafen the Grizzlies. Fun matchup. Young, talented and able, these squads get it done on the floor despite how old they are. Jrue Holiday vs. Mike Conley will be a barometer. The PG matchup commonly is, but these two guys are tone setters (X-factors, if you will). Mike Conley will get the better of Jrue Holiday and the Grizzlies will win.
Wednesday at 9:30 PM, the Lakers and Mavs square off. The Lakers took the last game against Dallas in close fashion (73-70 back on 1/16/12). Los Angeles isn't performing up to par consistently and the load on Kobe is increasing by the ton. Bench play is as consistent grocery store fruit, you never know what to expect. After losing to Boston on Monday, Dallas will bounce back and win.
Thursday at 7:00 PM, the Linsane Knicks hope to rain ice over the Heat. How great are the 16-16 Knicks? Aren't they just the most fabulous team and Jeremy Lin and yes?!? Haha, yeah, they're on a little run, but this will be a game where we'll see they don't have enough talent. Miami will come in and make a statement. The Knicks aren't even on their level, that's what will be on their minds. Miami shows they can handle the NYK and win easily.
Friday at 9:00 PM, the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge gets things started in Orlando. This will be nice. They changed this game up from previous years. Formerly Rookies vs. Sophomores, a draft between Shaq and Charles was the format this time. There's a nice mix of players on each side as a result (here are the rosters). There won't be much defense, but there will be some highlights, so tune in!
Saturday at 8:30 PM, All-Star Saturday Night features four events; the 2012 Haier Shooting Stars, 2012 Taco Bell Skills Challenge, 2012 Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk (in that order). Gonna predict some winners, but check out as much of this as you can. In the Three-Point shootout, Anthony Morrow is my guy. He's lights out and similar to James Jones (who will be hoping to defend his title) as a shooter.
The dunk contest will be way different with the pool they've assembled. These guys are real young and not big names. Must be an attempt to get these guys out into a bigger audience. While Iman Shumpert may make his dunks look incredible due to his size, I'm going with Paul George. Paul George is a crowd pleaser and he'll bring them more delight in this contest. He'll be creative and hopefully show better than his team has of late.
Sunday at 7:30 (game tips at 7:37) PM, the All-Star game will commence. The culmination of a jam packed weekend of awesomeness! Hopefully these guys bring the heat and make this fun. Of course the first half will be devoid of defense and attempt to be a show. In the second half, let's hope things start to buckle down and this gets a little competitive. Either way, it's awesome that this happens and basketball is celebrated in this fashion.
For more detailed programming info related to the All-Star festivities, check this out. What are you looking forward to this week?