The Pioneer

NBA All Star game drastically improves

Victoria Groenewold,
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Team Steph falls short to Team LeBron

The 2018 NBA All Star Game was played last Sunday night between team LeBron James and team Stephen Curry with Team LeBron taking the 148-145 win.

The NBA changed the format of the game this year by letting both James and Curry choose the players with both of them being allowed to pick players out of their respective conferences. The league also agreed to raise the financial incentives and winners share to doubled to $100K per player while the losers would earn $25K each, according to ESPN.

This new format was a huge success as the players were more engaged from start to finish. They were actually playing solid defense and not just allowing guys to drive into a wide open lane to dunk as they pleased. The crazy high risk passing games of years gone by changed to one where players were looking for the smart pass and better shots versus a wild shot that had little chance to go in.

Curry failed to deliver in the game as he shot 11 threes and hit only three of them. Draymond Green was not much of a factor with three points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal while Klay Thompson played well with 15 points and four rebounds. In fact, the only player from Team Steph that showed up to play was Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers, scoring 21 points in just 21 minutes. Warrior Kevin Durant of Team LeBron played a solid game of offense and defense and contributed 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

More than halfway into the season, the Warriors’ biggest competition right now is the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference and the new look of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference. They’ve won two NBA championships in three years and have been to the NBA Finals three years in a row and appear to be not as focused on winning during the regular season as they have in the three previous years. The Warriors lost their first back-to-back games this season after losing to the Denver Nuggets and the Oklahoma City Thunder and have slipped into second place in the Western Conference with a 44-14 record, a half game behind the now 44-13 Houston Rockets.

The Warriors are going to have to come out aggressively in the second half and regain their defensive focus as they have slipped into the bottom 10 in the league in defensive efficiency. They also need to come out ready to go at the start of the games as they have fallen behind in way too many first quarters and then have to play the catch up game which can be tiring.

If the Warriors want to regain home court advantage throughout the playoffs they will need to turn the proverbial switch on starting this Thursday, Feb. 22 against the Los Angeles Clippers and then against the Oklahoma Thunder on Saturday, Feb. 24. The Thunder has beaten the Warriors convincingly the first two games and need to produce a statement game to the Thunder and the rest of the league.

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