Tonight, Team LeBron and Team Durant will face off in the 70th NBA All-Star Game will take place and although the Sacramento Kings won’t have a representative in the game for the fourth straight year, it promises to be an interesting night.
For the first time in NBA history, the 3-point contest, dunk contest, skills challenge and the All-Star game will take place on the same night. Additionally, there won’t a Rising Stars Challenge, which Tyrese Haliburton would have played in.
Here’s the full schedule of Sunday night’s events, which will be broadcast on TNT:
3:30 p.m. PT: Skills Challenge and 3-point contest
5 p.m. PT: The 2021 NBA All-Star Game
Halftime: The Dunk Contest
Buddy Hield was invited to defend his 3-point contest title this year, but 28-year-old said that he was too “unruly to” be in Atlanta during the All-Star Break. Had he competed this year, he would have gone up against Stephen Curry, Mike Conley Jr., Zach LaVine, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Donovan Mitchell. Of those six players, only LaVine participated in last year’s 3-point contest.
Outside of Hield, it doesn’t appear that any other Kings were invited to participate in any of the All-Star festivities, although De’Aaron Fox made a case for his All-Star appearance. In his fourth season, Fox has averaged 23 points per game on 46.6% shooting from the field and 34.2% shooting from behind the arc, in addition to 7.6 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game he’s averaged. Comparatively, Mike Conley, who was a late addition to the All-Star game, has averaged just 16.1 points, 5.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. I guess being on the best team in the Western Conference makes a difference.
Here are starters for Team LeBron and Team Durant:
Team LeBron: Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic
Team Durant: Kyrie Irving, Bradley Beal, Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum, *Zion Williamson
*Joel Embiid was supposed to start at center for Team Durant, but he and Ben Simmons were late scratches due to contact tracing. Williamson will start in Embiid’s place.
If you share De’Aaron Fox’s belief that the NBA’s decision to have an All-Star game was stupid, you’re not alone. However, for those that just want something to watch on Sunday night, the game will be on and it will probably be fun in spite of the absences on both teams.