“The Best Pick-Up Game of Basketball in the World”

Sammie Discher, Staff Writer

On Sunday, February 19th, the best players of the National Basketball Association came together to play what is known as “the best pickup game of basketball in the world,” according to TNT sideline commentators. This annual tradition, known as the NBA All-Star game, has been blessing the eyes of sports fans for the past sixty-six years, and continues to live on as an honor to some of the world’s greatest basketball players.

The two teams that compete for the All-Star title are composed of the best NBA players from all different teams around the country. The two teams competing are referred to as the East and the West, with the players from the Eastern conference playing for the East and the players from the Western conference playing for the West. Although the All-Star game itself is not taken as seriously as a typical NBA game, it is a great honor for the players who are called up to play in the game.

This year was especially interesting to watch for many bay area basketball fans due to the fact that four of the Western conference players came from the Golden State Warriors, located in Oakland. Draymond Green, Clay Thompson, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry have led the Warriors through an already amazing NBA season, making them obvious choices for the All-Star team. Along with the four Warriors, Dub Nation was even further represented in the All-Star game with Steve Kerr and the rest of the Golden State coaching staff being called upon to coach the Western All-Star team.

Along with the four Dubs, the Western All-Star team included eight other NBA players. One of these players being Russel Westbrook from the respected Oklahoma City Thunder. This created some drama leading up to the game due to other All-Star, Kevin Durant, moving from OKC to the Warriors just this season. Westbrook and Durant had both had several interviews leading up to the big game that included questions regarding whether the two players would be able to handle playing together once again after Durant left the Thunder. In one of these interviews Westbrook responded to one of these questions by diverting the reporters to talking about Fashion Week. Obviously, there was some awkwardness leading up to the game between Westbrook and the gang of Warriors, however when Westbrook stepped on the court in the sixth minute of the first quarter, it did not take him long to get adjusted to playing with Durant again. Within the first ninety seconds Westbrook and Durant were on the court together, Durant found Westbrook with a beautiful pass that set him up to put down an easy bucket.

The East was just as fluidly composed with the starting lineup of Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls, De Mar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Throughout the game, both teams had many outstanding finishes, with the top scorer for the East being Antetokounmpo with thirty points, and the overall, record breaking scorer being Anthony Davis from the West with a grand total of fifty-two points. With this, the Western Conference ended up coming out on top with a final score of 192-182. The game lacked quality defense due to the players’ focus on scoring. However this led to an overwhelming number of baskets, making it exciting for both fans and players.

Over all, the sixty-sixth NBA All-Star game was a success and can be counted as a record-breaking game in many categories. Basketball fans from around the world will look back and continue to be amazed by the dunks, three-pointers, and passes these All-Stars showed on Sunday night.