NBA All-Star Weekend 2024 recap

Indianapolis has just finished hosting a star-studded All-star weekend that helped the city and NBA get more exposure.

Image: Scoring the Winning Points at a Basketball Game | Adobe Stock by Brocreative
Image: Scoring the Winning Points at a Basketball Game | Adobe Stock by Brocreative

The 2024 NBA All-Star Weekend took place Feb. 16-18. The last time that the All-Star festivities took place in Indianapolis was in 1985. After initially being selected to host All-Star weekend in 2021, Indianapolis’ hosting duties were pushed to this year due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday Night Celebrity Game & Rising Stars Challenge

All-Star weekend began with the All-Star Celebrity Game, Team Shannon vs. Team Stephen A. The head coaches for their respective teams were Shannon Sharpe and Stephen A. Smith who both currently appear on ESPN’s sports debate show “First Take”. The game’s roster included several celebrities and athletes, such as Dallas Cowboys defensive end Micah Parsons, singer Jennifer Hudson, Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puca Nacua and Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud. Team Shannon won the game 100-91 as Micah Parsons scored 37 points and won the Celebrity Game MVP.

Following the Celebrity Game on Friday was the Rising Stars Challenge, a game between up and coming NBA stars in the league. The games were played in a tournament with three games to decide the winner between the four teams. The first two games were played to a target score of 40 while the final game was played with a target score of 25. 

The first matchup was between Team Jalen vs. Team Tamika. The team coached by Jalen Rose, former Indiana Pacers guard, won the first game 40-35. Pacers guard Benedict Mathurin scored 18 points on 7-13 shooting from the field. Team Jalen ended the game with 63% shooting. The team coached by Tamika Catchings, Indiana Fever legend, was led in points by Portland Trail Blazer rookie Scoot Henderson who scored 10 points on 4-6 shooting. Mathurin was fouled late and could have won the game had he made the free throws, but ended up missing two of the free throws. With the score 38-35 for Team Jalen, Mathurin scored a jumper over Henderson to reach the target score of 40.

The second game was Team Pau vs. Team Detlef. Former NBA forward Detlef Schrempf coached his team to victory. Team Detlef was led by G-League players Mac McClung of the Osceola Magic and Alondes Williams of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, who combined for 23 points. Williams scored 11 on 5-10 shooting while McClung scored 12 on 5-9 shooting from the field. The team coached by Pau Gasol, former Los Angeles Lakers forward, was led by this year’s first pick Victor Wembanyama of the San Antonio Spurs. Wembanyama scored 11 points in the game finishing 5-6, while collecting four rebounds. Thunder rookie Cason Wallace scored eight points on 3-8 shooting for Team Pau. With team Detlef just one point from the target score, McClung attempted a layup score but his attempt was blocked by Wembanyama. Matas Buzelis of the G-League Ignite scored the winning shot for Team Pau to advance to the final game against Team Jalen. 

The final game which was played to a target score of 25 was won by Team Jalen 26-13 over Team Detlef. Team Jalen was led in scoring by rookie Dereck Lively II who scored five on 3-3 shooting. In the losing effort, Fort Wayne Mad Ants Oscar Tshiebwe scored eight points. Mathurin who scored four points in the final game was awarded the Rising Stars MVP award.

All-Star Saturday Night: Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest & Dunk Contest

Saturday was All-Star Saturday Night which had several skill events. The teams competing in the Skill Challenges were Team Pacers which was composed of Pacers’ players; Tyrese Haliburton, Mathurin and Myles Turner. Team Top Picks was Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards and Wembanyama. Team All-Star was Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes, 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey and Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young. After the rounds of the skills challenges, Team Pacers were tied with Team All-Star. This led to a tiebreaker challenge of half-court shots by each team. Team Pacers won the contest after Haliburton scored a halfcourt shot for the team.

The second challenge was the 3-point contest which was between New York Knicks’ Jalen Brunson, Haliburton, Milwaukee Bucks’ Damian Lillard and Malik Beasley, Utah Jazz’s Lauri Markkanen, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell, Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns and Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young. The players who made the final round were Lillard, Towns and Young. Lillard won the contest for the second year in a row with a score of 26, needing the last ball on his rack to beat Young’s score of 24.

Following the All-Star 3-point contest was another 3-point contest between Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry and WNBA player Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty. Shooting with a WNBA ball on the NBA 3-point line, Ionescu scored 26 points in the contest. Curry in his round scored 29 to win the contest. 

The final event of the night was the dunk contest between McClung, Celtics’ forward Jalen Brown, Heat forward Jaime Jaquez, Jr. Knicks forward Jacob Toppin. The final round was decided between Brown and McClung. McClung won the contest the second year in a row after completing a reverse dunk over Shaquille O’Neal which earned him a 50 from all the judges.

NBA All-Star Game

Sunday was the NBA All-Star Game between the West All-Stars and the East All-Stars. This year the game went back to the West vs. East format and removed the target score to play a traditional four quarter game. The East-All Stars won the game 211-186 coached by Bucks coach Doc Rivers. The West All-Stars coached by Timberwolves coach Chris Finch was led by Towns scoring 50 points on 23-35 shooting from the field including four 3-pointers.The East All-Stars scored 211 points, breaking the previous record of most points scored in an All-Star Game by the West All-Stars in 2016. Notably, this year marked Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James’ NBA record 20th All-Star (passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) appearance who scored eight points on 4-10 shooting. Haliburton, playing on his homecourt, started in his first All-Star Game appearance and scored 32 points on 11-15 shooting with six assists. Haliburton started the game 5-5 from the 3-point line and ended the game with 10 3-pointers. Lillard led the East All-Star Team with 39 points on 14-26 shooting and six assists. Lillard scored 11 3-pointers, including two which were from half-court. Lillard won the All-Star Game MVP.

Kondwani Mzumara is a Junior studying Sports Journalism. Hobbies include video games, listening to music and watching athletic events.

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