NBA All-Star Saturday Has Plenty To Offer Even Without Lakers Among Participants
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Although LeBron James will be the only Los Angeles Lakers player to take part in the 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend, the league has prepared plenty of attractions for the three-day event in Cleveland to get the Purple and Gold’s fans interested.

Before James will try to captain his team to a fifth-straight All-Star Game victory on Feb. 20, some of the NBA’s best players will compete in traditional contests on All-Star Saturday.

First, three teams will take part in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, penciled in to tip-off at 5 p.m. PT. The NBA has changed the format for this year’s event, which will see three-man teams compete in shooting, passing, and relay rounds to collect challenge points.

The two teams with the most challenge points will then advance to the final round, during which they will have to make a half-court shot to win it all.

The three participating teams are: the Antetokounmpos, featuring two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers, Thanasis and Alex; the Cavs, represented by the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley; and the Rooks, made of the Toronto Raptors’ Scottie Barnes, the Detroit Pistons Cade Cunningham, and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Josh Giddey.

Next, eight players will fight in the MTN Dew 3-Point Contest.

Stephen Curry won’t attempt to defend his 2021 title in Cleveland. However, two-time Slam Dunk champion Zach LaVine will try to show off his shooting skills in his All-Star Saturday comeback.

LaVine will face Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, Desmond Bane of the Memphis Grizzlies, Luke Kennard of the L.A. Clippers, CJ McCollum of the New Orleans Pelicans, and Patty Mills of the Brooklyn Nets in the competition.

The AT&T Slam Dunk contest will cap off the eventful night. Just like in the 3-point challenge, a new Slam Dunk king will be crowned in Cleveland.

Last year’s runner-up Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks will face the Orlando Magic’s Cole Anthony, the Houston Rockets’ Jalen Green, and the Golden State Warriors’ Juan Toscano-Anderson in the two-round events.

Anthony Davis not surprised by All-Star snub

Lakers forward Anthony Davis wasn’t surprised by his All-Star omission, considering he’s missed over 20 games due to injuries in 2021-22.

“I kind of figured I wasn’t [gonna make it] with the amount of games I missed,” Davis said. “It’s the first time since my rookie year, actually I went to the All-Star my rookie year for the rookie team, so this is the first time in my career where I don’t have to go to All-Star.”

Davis joked his wife is “ecstatic” he will spend the break with family instead of traveling to Cleveland for the All-Star Game.

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