From Feb. 17-19, the NBA had its 66th annual All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. The weekend had several different events, including the Rising Stars Challenge, the Three-Point Contest, the Slam Dunk Contest, the Skills Challenge, and last but not least, the All-Star Game.

The All-Star Weekend kicked off with the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 22. This game split up first and second year NBA players by their origin of birth. There are two teams including Team U.S. and Team World. Team World prevailed 150-141, as the Canadian Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets scored 36 points in 20 minutes of play, and was named Most Valuable Player for the game. Buddy Hield of the New Orleans Pelicans also added 28 points for Team World as Frank Kaminsky led Team U.S. in scoring with 27 points.

Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks was the biggest surprise of this year’s NBA All-Star weekend, as the 7’3” “Latvian Unicorn” won the Skills Challenge, a contest usually favored towards guards. He defeated Gordon Hayward in the final round, outlasting the Utah Jazz small forward. This is the second year in a row that a big man has won the Skills Challenge, as Karl Anthony-Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves won it last year.

The Slam Dunk Contest was surprising as well, as Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, a player who almost won the competition last year was quickly eliminated in the first round. His first dunk, which involved a drone, did not go as planned after several attempts. DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, another player who some were excited about in this contest, was knocked out in the first round after a pair of disappointing dunk attempts.

The final round was between Glenn Robinson III of the Indiana Pacers and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Phoenix Suns. Robinson III won the title for the Slam Dunk Contest.  Robinson secured his victory with his final dunk, a reverse dunk over teammate Paul George, the Pacers’ mascot, and a Pacers cheerleader. The dunk got a perfect score of 50, resulting in him being this year’s Slam Dunk Contest Champion.

The Three-Point Contest had a surprising winner, as Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets won. Klay Thompson was favored in this contest as he won last year, however, he lost in the first round. The Three-Point Contest came down to a tiebreaker between Gordon and Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers, after they tied for 20 points in the second round. During the tiebreaker round, Gordon outscored Irving 21 to 18. Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors disappointed with nine points in the first round and only Irving, Gordon, and the Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker made it to the second round.

Anthony Davis finished Sunday’s contest with a record setting 52 points surpassing Wilt Chamberlain’s 42 points. NBA/Instagram

The NBA All-Star Game this year broke the record for the highest scoring game, as the West came out victorious 192-182. Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans was named MVP as he scored an All-Star game record 52 points right in front of his hometown fans. Davis surpassed Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 42 points.

Many anticipated there to be drama in the Western Conference locker room as Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder played alongside many players from his rival team, the Golden State Warriors. However, this drama was obviously non-existent when Westbrook and Kevin Durant, Westbrook’s former teammate who left in free agency last summer, connected with him for an alley-oop during the game. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks did not disappoint in his first All-Star game as he threw down vicious dunks, and led the East in scoring with 30 points.

The biggest shock of the All-Star weekend may have come minutes after the All-Star game, when news broke out that DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for drafts picks and a few players including rookie sensation Buddy Hield. Cousins, who many consider to be the best center in the NBA right now, will now play alongside Anthony Davis, who many consider to be the best power forward in the league. With the Feb. 23 trade deadline looming, expect more players to change uniforms as teams looks to find their missing piece that can propel them into playoff contention.

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