In the past few years, the NBA All-Star Game had become so devoid of effort and defense that it turned into a rather boring affair. There would be a few moments of magic from the league’s top players, but for the most part it could barely even be qualified as a game.
So last year, in an effort to make the night more interesting and up the stakes for the players, the league decided to change the format. Instead of the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference matchup, the two teams would be picked playground-style by two captains — the leading vote-getter from each conference.
The. Last year’s All-Star Game, which unveiled the new format, featured a good mix of awesome plays and real enough defense that it didn’t get boring. And by the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, everyone on the court had forgotten it was an All-Star Game at all. Team LeBron battled back from a double-digit deficit in the fourth, which led to a dramatic final few minutes. There was lock-down defense and even a controversial replay review before Kyrie Irving and LeBron James put their differences behind them to connect on what would be the game-winning layup. When the final buzzer sounded, Team LeBron had escaped with a 148-145 victory.
After the initial success, they decided to run it back. This time around, the two captains are LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. They , which was televised this year, and the teams are all set and ready for action.
How to watch 2019 NBA All-Star Game
- Date: Sunday, Feb. 17
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- Location: Spectrum Center — Charlotte, North Carolina
- TV: TNT
- Streaming: fuboTV (try it free)
- Odds: N/A
- Full rosters:
Team LeBron: A captain for the second year in a row, LeBron James made some pretty interesting selections. Of his first six picks — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Anthony Davis and Klay Thompson — five of them are set to be free agents in the summer or looking for a trade. They’re also great players, of course, but that fact didn’t slip past anyone — not even Giannis, who when LeBron selected Davis. The Lakers are in search of a second star to play next to LeBron, and he’ll have plenty of time during All-Star Weekend to make his pitch that his temporary teammates should join him full time in L.A.
Team Giannis: While most of the talk from the All-Star Draft focused on LeBron’s calculated picks, there were plenty of jokes about Giannis’ GM skills as well, because many people feel that LeBron got the far better roster. While that’s probably true, it’s also a sign of how strong the league is right now that a starting five of Giannis — Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George and Kemba Walker — is looked at as weak.
Game prediction, pick
While there are still no odds out for this game, the easy call is to lean toward Team LeBron. They have an absolutely stacked roster, featuring LeBron, Durant, Irving, Leonard, Harden, Davis, and Thompson — arguably five of the best seven players in the league.