While All-Star Weekend officially gets underway Friday night with the Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Challenge, Saturday night is the evening when the festivities truly kick off.
This year things will look a little different than years past. The Shooting Stars competition -- where current NBA players, WNBA players and so-called legends toss up shots from half-court -- is no more. Also, big men have been added to the Skills Challenge. The Three-Point and Dunk Contest remain the same and will no doubt be the night's main event, but All-Star Saturday's first event starts hours earlier.
Here's the schedule for everything taking place, and how to watch (all times Eastern):
11 a.m.-1 p.m.: All-Star Game practice (NBA TV)
Ever want to know what an NBA practice looks like? This glorified walk-through won't tell you much, but for basketball diehards and junkies, it can still be an enjoyable viewing experience. If we're lucky, one of the conference's practices will feature some sort of three-quarter-court shooting competition or dunk contest.
2-4 p.m.: NBA D-League All-Star Game/Dunk Contest (NBA TV)
To be honest, the D-League All-Star Game is usually pretty boring. This biggest name in this year's game is Jimmer Fredette, who's been lighting up the scoreboard for the Westchester Knicks. However, the D-League Dunk Contest (which takes place at halftime) is definitely worth watching. Here, for example, is what Jarvis Threatt of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers did in last year's competition.
7-8 p.m.: Commissioner Adam Silver press conference (NBA TV and NBA.com)
This year's State of the League address will likely focus on Silver's intention to ban Hack-A-Shaqs, whether he and Michelle Roberts (the NBA Player Association's executive director) have made any progress in collective bargaining negotiations, and likely a whole other host of issues. No sports league commissioner is more candid in public than Silver. Hearing his thoughts on the current status of the league should be interesting.
7-8 p.m.: TNT NBA Tip-Off preview show (TNT)
Then again, some just want to enjoy their All-Star Saturday night and there's no better way to do so than tuning into TNT to see what Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley have to say. You can be sure there will be some good Toronto-directed humor as well.
8-11p.m.: NBA All-Star Saturday Night (TNT)
Finally, the actual events. As mentioned above, the Shooting Stars competition is no more and the Skills Challenge now features big men as well. Here's a breakdown of each of the three events taking place Saturday night.
Skills Challenge. Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverly was looking to defend his title, but he withdrew late and was replaced by Denver's Emmanuel Mudiay. Four big men will be in one bracket, while the four guards will be in another. Here's the full lineup:
Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics
Jordan Clarkson, Los Angeles Lakers
Three-Point Contest. Last year, Stephen Curry connected on 20 of his 25 shots and finished with a record score of 27. He's back this year to defend his title, and will once again have to fend off teammate Klay Thompson. Curry is the clear frontrunner, but don't sleep on J.J. Redick (shooting a league-leading 48 percent from deep this year) and the sweet-shooting Phoenix Suns rookie Devin Booker. Here's the full lineup:
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
James Harden, Houston Rockets
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
J.J. Redick, Los Angeles Clippers
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Dunk Contest. And finally, the evening's main event. Zach LaVine, the defending champ and a player who can jump through the roof, is the favorite once again. Aaron Gordon is the top challenger. Andre Drummond is the top name, but it's always harder for big men to stand out unless they throw on a Superman cape. Here's the full lineup:
Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves
Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
Will Barton, Denver Nuggets
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
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Slam Dunk Contest: You have to see this failure to believe it
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