U.S. Team vs. World Team
Date and Time: Friday, February 16, 2018, 9 p.m. ET
Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
U.S. Team vs. World Team TV Coverage: TNT
There will be as much talent on the floor for the Rising Stars game Friday night as there will be for Sunday’s All-Star game. The NBA will showcase its young talent in a matchup between the top first- and second-year players in the Association. And unlike the game on Sunday, which is more of a popularity contest, the players for the Mountain Dew Kickstart Rising Stars contest are selected by assistant coaches throughout the league.
The location of the NBA All-Star Game and All-Star Weekend changes each year, rotating throughout the NBA.
This year's NBA All-Star game will tip off at 8 p.m. ET on Feb. 18 in Los Angeles’ Staples Center. This is the fourth time the All-Star game has been played in L.A.; the Staples Center most recently played host to the exhibition in 2011 and there's no shortage of betting lines for basketball fans on Friday, 16 through Sunday, 18, 2018.
TNT will televise every key event ( Rising Stars Challenge, All-Star Saturday night and the actual All-Star Game on Sunday ) while ESPN will televise the Celebrity Game.
It's also touted as the midpoint of the regular season, giving players a much-needed break from the wear and tear that builds up throughout the year.
The game features 10 rookies and sophomores from the United States against 10 players from around the world. Rosters must include four guards, four frontcourt players and two players at any position. At least three first-year players and three second-year players must be included on the roster. The teams will play four 10-minute periods.
Lonzo Ball, G (Lakers)
Malcolm Brogdon, G (Bucks)
Jaylen Brown, G/F (Celtics)
John Collins, F/C (Hawks)
Kris Dunn, G (Bulls)
Brandon Ingram, F (Lakers)
Kyle Kuzma, F (Lakers)
Donovan Mitchell, G (Jazz)
Dennis Smith, Jr., G (Mavericks)
Jayson Tatum, F (Celtics)
* Taurean Prince, F (Hawks)
* De’Aaron Fox, G (Kings)
Bogdan Bogdanovic, G (Kings)
Dillon Brooks, F/G (Grizzlies)
Joel Embiid, C (76ers)
Buddy Hield, G (Kings)
Lauri Markkanen, F (Bulls)
Jamal Murray, G (Nuggets)
Frank Ntilikina, G (Knicks)
Domantas Sabonis, F (Pacers)
Dario Saric, F (76ers)
Ben Simmons, G/F (76ers)
* - Injury replacement
With Malcolm Brogdon out with an injury, Brandon Ingram is the only returning player for the U.S. Team. That shouldn’t be too much of a problem, though, since the squad is loaded with fleet-footed sharpshooters. The team will be undersized compared to the World, but with wings Jaylen Brown, Kyle Kuzma and Ingram, look for the U.S. squad to push the pace.
One player who has made an impact with his club during the season and has improved his stock in the Rookie of the Year race is Utah’s Donovan Mitchell. The first-year player from Louisville led the Jazz in scoring during its current 11-game winning streak with over 21 points per game.
We’ll get a warmup for the slam dunk competition with Mitchell and Dennis Smith set to wow the crowd on Saturday. Both players have freakish athletic ability and mod hops. Fans in the upper deck of Staples Center will go eye-to-eye with those guys several times during Friday’s festivities. One player who will be missed, however, is Lonzo Ball, who continues to mend from a knee injury. And it’s too bad for him with the game in his backyard. Team U.S. is lacking experience in this environment, but they definitely don’t lack talent.
After taking MVP honors with a game-high 36 points in last year’s game, Jamal Murray is back for his final go. Murray was unconscious in the World’s 150-141 win hitting 9 of 14 three-pointers and still finding time to dish out 11 assists. Buddy Hield, Domantas Sabonis and Dario Saric, who combined for 55 points last year, are also back for one last time.
If you’re looking for an MVP candidate this year, go no further than Ben Simmons. Philadelphia’s rookie is having a monster year and is the front-runner for league Rookie of the Year at this point in the season. And if he needs more motivation, his snub from the All-Star Game should provide it. Would anybody want to play with Goran Dragic over Simmons? And he’ll have his running mates by his side with Joel Embiid and Saric to trust the process.
Looking over the rosters and the numbers put up by the players, you have to say the league is in good shape moving forward. Team U.S. is loaded in the backcourt with guys like Mitchell, Smith, De’Aaron Fox and Jaylen Brown, and the wings are as good as it gets. However, there is no answer down low for Embiid, who has dominated some of the best post players in the game.
The World team has a more conventional roster, but the players aren’t conventional at all. Embiid can ball, Lauri Markkanen is a 7-footer who can shoot the three and Simmons is a point guard in a power forward body. And expect the Sixers to make their presence known. That familiarity on the court with Saric, Simmons and Embiid will be enough to lift the World Team to a victory.
U.S. Team vs. World Team ATS Pick: Take the over at BookMaker.eu
U.S. Team vs. World Team Score Prediction: World Team 147, U.S. Team 143
When the NBA puts on an All-Star game they do it with style and this years NBA All-Star game is ripe with betting opportunities.
NBA All-Star Weekend isn't just about one game. "It's an event"!
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For the second straight year, Russell Westbrook took home NBA All-Star Game MVP honors as the Western Conference logged a record-setting 196-173 win over the East.
In an edition that toppled last year's mark for total points, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard poured in a team-high 31 points and filled the rest of the stat sheet with eight rebounds, five assists and five steals in 22 minutes.
In 2015, 163-158 West win in New York, Westbrook registered 41 points as a reserve and set an All-Star Game record for points in a half by scoring 27 in the first half.
Westbrook is the first player in All-Star Game history to win outright back-to-back MVP awards. He joins Bob Pettit as the only players in All-Star Game history to win twice in a row. Pettit won the award in 1958 and shared it with Elgin Baylor in 1959.
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