The NBA season is more than half way over and, in just a few months, the NBA and its teams have made their fair share of headlines (mostly from the Los Angeles Lakers). This weekend however, the league moves away from all those headlines, and showcases its best players during the 2013 All-Star Game weekend in Houston, TX from February 15-17.
There are plenty of great events taking place for fans heading to the festivities in Houston, including NBA Jam Session, where fans can participate in a slew of basketball activities, and the BBVA Rising Stars Game, which features the leagues best first- and second-year players. For me though, there are four events during the ASG weekend that I look forward to the most: the All-Star Celebrity Game, the Slam Dunk Contest, the 3-point Shootout, and the All-Star Game. Here is a look at each of these events:
All-Star Celebrity Game
The All-Star Celebrity game combines celebs from the world of music, movies, and television, with some legends from both men's and women's basketball. The game usually does not display the highest quality basketball, but it is definitely entertaining. I mean, where else are you going to see Justin Beiber crossover Common?
2013 Participants: Nick Cannon, Ne-Yo, Josh Hutcherson, Usain Bolt, etc.
Following a fight between New York Knicks player Carmelo Anthony and Celtics player Kevin Garnett, Knicks owner James Dolan ordered two technicians to hold microphones during the team's Madison Square Garden games — just to capture everything Anthony said.
If it sounds weird, that's probably because it is, and the photo of one of the technicians actually holding up the "high-tech, sensitive microphones" is even weirder. Not only were the mics used during Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls, but also Sunday's game against the Hornets.
The mics came after Anthony was suspended from last Thursday's game against the Pacers because he'd confronted Garnett several times after they had exchanged heated words on the court during their game Jan. 7. Anthony said Garnett had "spewed a verbal insult at Anthony," according to ESPN; some rumors said that insult involved Anthony’s wife and Honey Nut Cheerios. (What?!)
Although the two have allegedly made up since then, that didn't stop Dolan from feeling the need to listen in on the conversations taking place on the basketball court.
And you thought you were having a rough week.
In Los Angeles, the Clippers have long been overshadowed by the Lakers, and with good reason. The Lakers have always had the better players, have won more championships (17 to 0) and, in general, have always been the better team. This season however, the Clippers have stepped out of the shadow of the Lake-show and are currently riding a NBA season-high 15 game winning streak, have the best record in the league and perhaps the most electrifying player in the league in Blake Griffin (see video above).
And the fans in LA have taken notice.
So far this season, the average price paid for tickets to Clippers home games listed on TicketNetwork.com has increased by 56% over last season, going from $100 per ticket to $156. The bump in ticket price is not unexpected; Los Angeles loves a winner. What is unexpected though, is how much the Clippers have closed the gap between themselves and the Lakers. Last season, there was a 63% difference in prices per ticket between the Lakers and Clippers; this season, that percentage has dropped to just 14%. Depending on how the remainder of the season plays out, that percentage could decrease even further.
Billy Crystal and Penny Marshall have long been the lone-wolves of celebrity fans for the Clippers, but this season, that has started to change as well. Recently, the entire Kardashian clan was sitting courtside to watch Khloe's hubby Lamar Odom (except Bruce Jenner, who sat hilariously behind them) and then just last night, Justin Bieber sat courtside with Clippers' point guard Chris Paul's son.
The Clips winning-streak won't last forever, but for right now, they are the talk of Los Angeles and the entire NBA.
Christmas is now officially one week away, and once again, the NBA has scheduled a full slate of games that will fill more than 12 hours of your holiday with basketball goodness. Just like in years past, the league made sure to have some of the best match-ups of the entire season for the day's games. Here is a look at all the games on December 25:
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics
Barclays Center, 12 p.m. EST
The Christmas Day schedule tips off with a match-up of two teams that have developed some bad blood for each other this season. On November 28, the Nets and Celtics had a what some called a "brawl" — I'll say it was more like a dust-up — that resulted in three players being ejected (including former Mr. Kim Kardashian). I would expect this game to have its fair share of tense moments as well and should be a good start to the day's games.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks
Staples Center, 3 p.m. EST
Before the season began, most experts predicted this would be a game between a true contender for the championship and an underachieving, mediocre team. Those experts just mixed up the two. The Knicks have been the surprise team this year, racing off to the best record in the Eastern Conference, while the Lakers look lost. The Lakers do have one thing to be hopeful for on Christmas; two-time MVP point guard Steve Nash, who has been out since October 31, hopes to be ready to play in this game.
The New York Knicks have been mired in mediocrity (or just sheer awfulness) for more than a decade now, never finishing higher than 6th in the Eastern Conference. This season, however, the Knicks have been the surprise team of the NBA, running out to the best record in the conference and second best in the entire league, trailing only the Oklahoma City Thunder. And while Knicks tickets are always popular, when the team is good, that popularity grows to another level.
So far for the 2012-13 season, orders of New York Knicks tickets have accounted for nearly 30% of all NBA orders on TicketNetwork.com, nearly double that of the Boston Celtics, the next closest team. In fact, that is nearly the same percentage of orders as the 25 lowest-selling teams combined.
Knicks games have also always been an attraction for tourists visiting New York City, and orders for tickets have come in from 28 different countries including Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most international customers came from France, which has actually had more orders than U.S. so far this season.
While the Knicks popularity is evident, they are not the only team that are dominating sales on our site. The top 5 teams in terms of orders (Knicks, Celtics, Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers) account for more than two-thirds of all NBA sales.
The newest addition to the group of top selling teams is the Nets, who moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn this past off-season and immediately began to establish one of the most popular brands in the NBA. They now play at the brand-new Barclays Center, which has already hosted two hard-fought games between the Nets and their New York rivals. However, while the Nets may be able to catch the Knicks on the court, it will still be awhile before they catch them in ticket sales.