In what is turning out to be a very abnormal 2020-21 season, fans are finally being treated to some consistency when the NBA All-Star game tips off this weekend. Despite some reservations from players and league officials, the spectacle was given the go-ahead back in January and voting commenced.
In last season's event, LeBron James captained his side to a 33-22 fourth-quarter comeback win that went down to the wire. Since the league has changed the format for the NBA All-Star game over the last few seasons, the matchup has been far more engaging and creates greater competitiveness.
When is NBA All-Star Game 2021?
Date: Sunday, March 7, 2021
Time: 8 PM ET onwards
Live Stream: NBA League Pass
On Sunday, the 70th Annual NBA All-Star game will take place in Atlanta and will be unlike any other as it will take place in an empty arena. TNT will be broadcasting the game live, along with build-up, the Skills Challenge, the 3-point contest and dunk contest all in one evening from 5PM ET onwards.
The NBA All-Star game itself will tip-off around 8PM ET and will follow the same competitive format as last season's game. Both teams will be chosen by captains Kevin Durant and LeBron James on TNT this Thursday, with an abundance of scoring talent to choose from.
Eastern Conference All-Star Starters:
Kevin Durant (BKN - Injured, replaced by Jayson Tatum)
Joel Embiid (PHI)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)
Bradley Beal (WSH)
Kyrie Irving (BKN)
Eastern Conference All-Star Reserves:
James Harden (BKN)
Jaylen Brown (BOS)
Zach LaVine (CHI)
Ben Simmons (PHI)
Julius Randle (NYK)
Nikola Vucevic (ORL)
Domantas Sabonis (IND) (Replaced Durant)
Western Conference All-Star Starters:
Stephen Curry (GSW)
Luka Dončić (DAL)
LeBron James (LAL)
Kawhi Leonard (LAC)
Nikola Jokic (DEN)
Western Conference All-Star Reserves:
Damian Lillard (POR)
Donovan Mitchell (UTA)
Chris Paul (PHX)
Anthony Davis (LAL, injured)
Paul George (LAC)
Rudy Gobert (UTA)
Zion Williamson (NOP)
Devin Booker (PHX, injury replacement for Anthony Davis)
The NBA All-Star game will once again pay homage to the late, great Kobe Bryant in its format. To win the match, an end-score will be set by adding 24 points (Bryant's jersey number) onto the leading team's tally at the end of the 3rd quarter. Both sides will play to the target score without a game clock, meaning the contest must end with a made bucket.
Where the annual NBA All-Star game differs this season is in its half-time entertainment, which will involve the Slam Dunk contest. Competing at the much-hyped event will be Portland's Anfernee Simons, as well as rookies Obi Toppin and Cassius Stanley.
Without fans in the building, it remains to be seen how much of their usual energy will be missed. In the past, the NBA All-Star game has bore witness to countless amazing dunks, handles and passes and although it may not be the same, we can expect an enthralling encounter nonetheless. Especially if last season is anything to go by.