The NBA All-Star Game 2018 will have a much different look this year.
The traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format has been scrapped in favor of a playground-style game in which two captains pick sides.
Those captains are Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, who were given a pool of players to choose from for their respective teams (named Team Stephen and Team LeBron).
First, James and Curry each had to pick four players from a pool of eight contenders who were voted as starters prior to the draft. Then, they each selected seven reserves to round out their 12-person teams.
Nothing about the game itself has changed: It will be a typical 48-minute NBA contest with four 12-minute quarters.
Here’s a look at the basic information surrounding the game, including the television schedule and live-stream links. You can also find the rosters, a few notable storylines and a prediction below.
TV Schedule and Live-Stream Information
The 67th NBA All-Star Game begins on Sunday at 8 p.m. in the Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. TNT will televise the event, with coverage beginning at 7 p.m. ET. The game can be streamed on TNTdrama.com or the Watch TNT app.
Team LeBron Roster
Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics
DeMarcus Cousins, New Orleans Pelicans#
LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio Spurs
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Goran Dragic, Miami Heat*
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons*
Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder*
Victor Oladipo, Indiana Pacers
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets*
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers**
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks**
John Wall, Washington Wizards**
**Injured, will not play
#Injured, replacement starter not announced
Team Stephen Roster
Mike D’Antoni (Houston Rockets)
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
James Harden, Houston Rockets
DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Jimmy Butler, Minnesota Timberwolves
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors
Al Horford, Boston Celtics
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Damian Lillard out to Prove Doubters Wrong?
Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard posted fantastic seasons in his past two full years, but his first-half performances weren’t considered good enough to be named to the Western Conference All-Star team.
Lillard has made the team in the past (twice, in 2013 and 2014), but he was considered a snub when he didn’t make it within the past two seasons. He ended up finishing with scoring averages of 25.1 points per game in the 2015-16 season and 27.0 points a year later for a Blazers team that made the playoffs both times.
However, the former Weber State star is back in the All-Star Game and could be looking to silence critics who didn’t think he was All-Star caliber. It’s certainly possible that we see Lillard light it up from behind the three-point line and score points in bunches, much like he did when he posted 50 against the Sacramento Kings despite playing only 29 minutes.
Durant vs. the Rest of the Warriors’ All-Stars; Kyrie Irving vs. Al Horford; Dwane Casey vs. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan
The new All-Star Game format presents a unique opportunity to see teammates face off against each other in competition. As the All-Star Game has followed an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format since its inception, fans have never had the opportunity to see something like this in action.
However, we’ll be seeing a few unique matchups, perhaps none more than Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant going head-to-head with Curry, forward Draymond Green and shooting guard Klay Thompson. Of note, we could certainly see Green sticking with Durant on defense and trying to slow him down.
Elsewhere, Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey will be trying to beat his team’s two star players (point guard Kyle Lowry and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan). Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is also leaving behind a new teammate (center Al Horford) for an old one (James) for one night only.
Score: Team LeBron 155, Team Stephen 150
Expect this to be a much more serious contest than last year, which proved to be defense-optional (or non-existent).
The criticism surrounding last year’s game was loud and voluminous, so expect to see more effort akin to past games. Furthermore, the players have been given an extra incentive, as the winners’ cut is $100,000 each now (up from $50,000 last year).
Furthermore, there’s a certain level of pride on the line in this contest, especially for the two team captains. They will undoubtedly want to go out and prove they picked the right team in year one of this new format.
In the end, give the edge to Team LeBron even though he’s lost four of his players to lengthy injuries in between the All-Star draft and the game itself. He still has a loaded roster, led by New Orleans power forward Anthony Davis, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and Durant. Combined with James, that seems like a near-impossible quartet to stop.
Team Stephen has the edge on the reserve unit given the injuries Team LeBron has suffered, but their efforts won’t be enough to win this game. Still, expect a close, competitive contest for 48 minutes and praise for the new format when the night is over.