The NBA’s 2014-15 midseason showcase will be held at the illustrious Madison Square Garden in New York City. The stadium is widely considered to be the mecca of basketball and the grandest stage of them all. With that being said, here are a few storylines to look for in this Sunday’s all-star game.
The Battle of the Gasol Brothers
For the first time in NBA history, two brothers will tip off against each other in the all-star game. The up and coming star for the Memphis Grizzlies, Marc Gasol, will be playing centre for the Western conference all-stars. At centre court directly opposing him will be his older brother Pau, who is playing his first season with the Chicago Bulls and currently having a revitalizing season for his career. While Marc is certainly the more gritty and tenacious of the two, Pau brings a finesse post game to the table, making the Gasol brother matchup all the more interesting. When you match up the two brother’s statistics, they prove to be awfully similar: Pau is currently averaging 18.4 points and 12 rebounds a night, while Marc isn’t far behind, averaging 18 and 8, per basketball-reference.com. We’ll see this Sunday if Marc can outshine his older brother Pau under the bright lights of NYC.
This Sunday, the Eastern conference will be showcasing an impressive four Atlanta Hawks (five Hawks if you include head coach Mike Budenholzer). The Hawks have been playing beautiful basketball this season that is truly delightful for basketball fans to appreciate and soak in. How can you not enjoy watching a team that sits first in the Eastern conference with a 43-11 record? Even if you aren’t a loyal Hawks fan, it’s difficult to overlook what’s going on in Georgia this season. The team has earned the nickname of “the Spurs of the East” and are living up to that title on a nightly basis with stellar ball movement and a collective team-first mentality. When the Hawks four all-stars Kyle Korver (who’s having an unprecedented shooting season), Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford were interviewed during all-star media day, they hinted at their plan of all playing together at some point during the all-star game. The East’s head coach Budenholzer should certainly consider carrying out that plan to help promote the team basketball that got the Hawks to elite status. It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether 80% of the Hawks starting five can hold their own against the best the Western conference has to offer.
Splash Brothers Hit NYC
The Golden State Warriors backcourt duo of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have earned two of the twelve Western conference all-star spots this season. While Curry is the undisputed leader of the Warriors, his backcourt mate Thompson is providing a much needed spark to the team (the guy had 37 points in a quarter after all!), averaging a career high 22 points on 47% shooting (44% from 3-point range). Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has earned the Western conference head coach position, and rightfully so. He’s helped lead his team to a 42-9 first half and has his Warriors playing extremely consistently. Kerr will surely play Curry and Thompson together during the all-star game. The only question left to be answered is how much damage will the two inflict on the East all-stars in a game that is known for its lackadaisical defensive intensity.