Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 8:00 PM ET at Smoothie King Center
All-Star Game Preview: East vs West
Scott Agness | February 15, 2014
The NBA world has gathered in New Orleans, Louisiana for the annual All-Star Weekend. With appearances, media obligations, and the contests out of the way, now it’s finally time for the best basketball players in the world to do battle. The Eastern Conference looks to snap a three-game losing streak in the star-studded affair.
The Pacers will be well represented in the 63rd annual All-Star game, which airs at 8 p.m. nationally on TNT. Both Paul George and Roy Hibbert will be making their second All-Star appearance, and Frank Vogel and his staff will coach the Eastern Conference team.
As a result of receiving the second-most votes in the East, George will start the game alongside Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James. Unfortunately for Hibbert, who was elected in by the conference coaches, the NBA took away the center position in the game last season and thus he’ll come off the bench despite being the top vote-getting big man. In turn, James, a very-capable all-around player, will start at the ‘5’ position.
Both conferences held practices on Saturday, but it was mostly a light show for the sold-out crowd. Coach Vogel installed a couple offensive sets, inbounds plays, and said he wanted them to switch everything on defense except for point guards and centers, preventing obvious matchup problems.
As with any All-Star game, it should mostly be free flowing and feature a lot of one-on-one play. After all, it is for the fans. Typically with six minutes remaining in the game, things start getting serious because the incentive of winning and a larger cash prize is on the line. Until then, lineups will largely be scripted. Vogel met individually with his players to understand where they’re at in terms of playing time and guys wishing to rest injuries, like Miami’s Dwyane Wade.
Last season, George was terrific in his All-Star debut, finishing with 17 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals in a loss. Hibbert played only 10 minutes in 2012 and had three points, three rebounds and an assist.
“My name is going to be on the release and I’ll be the one in the forefront coaching the team and whatnot but this is a recognition of our team’s success. From the job Larry Bird and Kevin Pritchard have done putting together this team, to my coaching staff, to the trainers and the work that they do, and obviously the players in the locker room committing every single night playing as hard as they do, it’s a team honor. I’m really excited about it.” – Frank Vogel on coaching the East
“He’s a legend in the All-Star game. Been here four times so I’ve leaned on him a lot,…much like I do every day in my life anyway so he’s going to be a big help.” – Frank Vogel on having Dan Burke by his side
“Everybody was open to one another. There’s a lot of conversations going on and nobody was keeping to themselves. The whole locker room was just loose. I just remember before the game, everybody was joking around with one another and then when it was time to go, everybody was pumping one another up. It’s a great environment outside of being competitive and wanting to take those guys necks off.” – Paul George on his experience last year
“Roy, he knows how to get a crowd involved. Roy’s going to have fun with it. We might see Roy shoot some corner 3s or something like that.” – Paul George
“Went to a Karaoke bar, I had some barbeque, and went to Bourbon Street. It’s pretty fun.” – Roy Hibbert on what he’s been able to do in his limited free time
- The West has won four of the past five All-Star games.
- Both teams will be wearing adidas' short-sleeve jerseys for the first time in an All-Star game.
- The game will air live in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages on TV, computers, and mobile devices. There are also more than 265 international media members present from 42 countries.
TV: TNT – Marv Albert (play-by-play), Steve Kerr (analyst), Reggie Miller (analyst), Craig Sager (reporter), David Aldridge (reporter)