An NBA All-Star Game next month in Atlanta is looking more and more likely. And for the first time, it seems that some players might not want to make the team.
After cancelling the All-Star weekend scheduled for this weekend in Indianapolis (the city will instead host in 2024), reports surfaced last week that the NBA and Players Association were nearing an agreement for a scaled back All-Star game on March 7. This news was met with immediate blowback from NBA superstars like LeBron James, who said that he has “zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star game this year.” Reigning MVP Giannis Antetkounmpo echoed those remarks, saying, “I’m the same way. I’ve got zero energy, zero excitement.” And Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was even more candid: “We all know why we’re playing it. There’s money on the line. It’s an opportunity to make more money. Just putting money over health right now, pretty much.”
So we’ll see if the game is played, but as the Washington Post notes, it’s basically a no-win situation. If the game is played, the NBA risks further angering its biggest stars (LeBron and others have said that if selected, they’ll play in the game despite their misgivings). If the game is cancelled, the league’s broadcast partner in TNT stands to lose a hugely popular event.
It’s an odd situation to be in, which is of course on par for the last year. While we wait to see what happens with the All-Star game, you can watch plenty of meaningful NBA games on Sling. Check out the NBA’s national TV schedule from Feb. 9-15 below; to get the most basketball on Sling, sign up for Sling Orange + Blue with Sports extras using the link at the bottom of this page.
National TV games Feb. 8-14
|Monday, February 8|
|7:00 PM||Rockets vs Hornets||NBA TV >|
|9:30 PM||Bucks vs Nuggets||NBA TV >|
Tuesday, February 9
|7:30 PM||Rockets vs Pelicans||TNT >|
|10:00 PM||Celtics vs Jazz||TNT >|
Wednesday, February 10
|7:30 PM||Hawks vs Mavericks||ESPN >|
|10:00 PM||Bucks vs Suns||ESPN >|
Thursday, February 11
|7:30 PM||Heat vs Rockets||TNT >|
|10:00 PM||76ers vs Blazers||TNT >|
Friday, February 12
|7:30 PM||Pelicans vs Mavericks||ESPN >|
|10:00 PM||Grizzlies vs Lakers||ESPN >|
Saturday, February 13
|3:00 PM||76ers vs Suns||NBA TV >|
|8:30 PM||Nets vs Warriors||ESPN3 >|
Sunday, February 14
|7:30 PM||Blazers vs Mavericks||ESPN >
|10:00 PM||Lakers vs Nuggets
|10:00 PM||Cavaliers vs Clippers
||NBA TV >
*All games subject to blackout
Find a full schedule of NBA games HERE >
For more on watching NBA Basketball, including with NBA LEAGUE PASS and NBA TEAM PASS, find information HERE >
Upcoming Game of the Week
Brooklyn Nets at Golden State Warriors
Sat, Feb. 13, 8:30pm ET, ESPN3
In terms of the number of storylines, this might be the game of the year thus far. Not only will it be Kevin Durant’s first time back in the Bay since leaving the Warriors to join the Nets, but it could be his first game back with Brooklyn after getting yanked against the Raptors mid-game on Friday due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. His instantly infamous “Free Me” tweet wasn’t just a pity party; Durant was one of the first NBA players to come forward with his COVID-19 diagnosis last March and, according to an ESPN source, Durant “has continued to register coronavirus antibodies.” As for the home team in Saturday’s game at San Francisco’s Chase Center...
Sling TV Performance of the Week
Stephen Curry is one of the most entertaining players ever to shoot a basketball, and he reminded us of this once again on Saturday against Dallas. Curry went off for 57 points, including 11-of-19 from beyond the 3-point line, in a performance that his coach Steve Kerr called “sublime.” “He's never played better,” Kerr said after the game, according to ESPN. “We're talking about a two-time MVP, three-time champion -- I've never seen him like this.” Unfortunately for Curry, it wasn’t enough to overcome an angry Mavericks team that pulled out a back-and-forth 134-132 win after getting humiliated by the Warriors the game before.
*Pro Tip: Use some of your 50 hours of free DVR service to record games so you never miss a performance like this.
Dunk of the Week
Leading Philly to an Eastern Conference-best 17-7 record, Joel Embiid has been scoring 30 points a game at his job with the nonchalance that you and I send emails at ours. But it was his teammate Ben Simmons who got to shine in their pecking order-setting win over Brooklyn on Sunday. Simmons’ flexed (literally) with this dunk over Tyler Johnson, earning him both a technical foul along with the honor of Dunk of the Week (Simmons would appear to prefer the latter).
Smart Choice Assist of the Week
The attention-seeking saga of the Ball family has been exhausting for a lot of us, but the youngest Ball-er (sorry) LaMelo seems to be making good on the hype. Magic Johnson is co-signing for a rookie of the year award, and it’s easy to see why MJ loves him, with a ton of beautiful lobs to go along with more mature, heads-up plays like this one.
Lol of the week
Perhaps owing to the talents of his father Mychal Thompson—the former NBA star who now is now a Lakers radio commentator—Klay Thompson is just delightful in the booth. He’s both insightful and hilarious when popping up on the local broadcasts, and his interviews with his teammates are a blast. It’s no wonder he’s appearing suspiciously high in the All-Star voting.
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