I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the NBA All-Star game, as far as the actual game is concerned. I do, however, love all the trade buzz surrounding All-Star Weekend.
It’s one of the reasons I decided to become a sportswriter, back in the days when we were still writing our stories via chisel and granite. OK, not really — but it sometimes sure feels that way.
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Anyway, All-Star weekend always makes me reflect on a few things. Namely, how fortunate I am to have a job I love, covering a sport I love, for a company that’s no slouch in the sports industry. That would be none other than FOX Sports.
A lot of people don’t know what my actual job is. Here’s how I describe it: I’m an NBA columnist and broadcast analyst for FOX Sports, with a heavy emphasis on the Cavaliers for FOX Sports Ohio.
But yes, I also write about everyone from the Lakers to Celtics, to even the Bobcats and Wizards, or any other team that might be making news on any given day. I hate no one, and root for everyone.
How’s that for journalistic integrity?
I guess the point is, All-Star Weekend makes me realize that deep down, I’m a paid NBA fan. It makes me remember how thankful I am that you bother to read and follow along on Twitter, how you’re the backbone of everything I do.
So as for the actual game … eh, whatever. It’s a pickup game. I enjoy it, but that’s as far as it goes.
But when it comes to reflecting on what I do and that you notice, this weekend is undoubtedly the most special of the season.
Venue: Toyota Center, Houston.
TV: 8 p.m. EST, TNT
All-Time Series: East leads, 36-25.
C Kevin Garnett, Boston PF Chris Bosh, Miami SF Carmelo Anthony, New York SF LeBron James, Miami SG Dwyane Wade, Miami
C Tyson Chandler, New York SF Luol Deng, Chicago G/F Paul George, Indiana PG Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia PG Kyrie Irving, Cleveland C Brook Lopez, Brooklyn C Joakim Noah, Chicago PG Rajon Rondo (injured, will not play)
C Dwight Howard, L.A. Lakers PF Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers SF Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City SG Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers PG Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers
PF LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland PF Tim Duncan, San Antonio SG James Harden, Houston PF David Lee, Golden State PG Tony Parker, San Antonio PF Zach Randolph, Memphis PG Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City
• Kyrie Irving leads the league in clutch-time usage rate, using 52.6 percent of the Cavaliers’ possessions in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime with a score differential of five points or less.
• Joakim Noah is part of the league’s most effective lineup (minimum 100 minutes). The Bulls’ lineup of Nate Robinson, Marco Belinelli, Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson and Noah has outscored its opponents by 29.9 points per 100 possessions in 104 minutes together.
• Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler are part of the league’s best offensive lineup (minimum 100 minutes). Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, J.R. Smith, Anthony and Chandler have scored 123.1 points per 100 possessions in 179 minutes together.
• Kevin Durant has highest on-court Net Rating among All-Stars. The Thunder are outscoring opponents by 13.3 points per 100 possessions with Durant on the floor.
• LaMarcus Aldridge leads the league with 521 mid-range shot attempts. In fact, he’s attempted 140 more shots from mid-range (between the paint and the three-point line) than any other player.
• James Harden leads all guards and ranks third among All-Stars (behind Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler) in free throw rate, attempting 58 free throws per 100 field goal attempts.