Preview: All-Star Weekend Contests

Mike Ehrmann

All-Star Saturday night is tonight! A primer for the events lined up, featuring ZERO Lakers!

All-Star weekend is roaring at this point in Houston, and with it came the first rumor surrounding Dwight Howard and the Los Angeles Lakers. If you haven't heard, Ken Berger of CBS Sports reported that the Boston Celtics and Lakers have had "exploratory" talks about a Howard - Rajon Rondo swap.

Well, that's fun. All-Star weekend is officially here with a Dwight rumor intact.

It's All-Star Saturday night. The Shooting Stars contest, skills challenge, three-pont contest, and dunk contest are all lined up to entertain. Here's a schedule for tonight's events, along with information on the participants as a primer.

TNT begins coverage at 8 pm ET

Sears Shooting Stars - 1st Event

Two teams will be representing each conference in the Shooting Stars contest, the opener for the festivities.

Western Conference - Team Westbrook

Russell Westbrook

Maya Moore

Robert Horry

Western Conference - Team Harden

James Harden

Tina Thompson

Sam Cassell

Eastern Conference - Team Bosh

Chris Bosh

Swin Cash

Dominique Wilkins

Eastern Conference - Team Lopez

Brook Lopez

Tamika Catchings

Mugsy Bogues

--

The rules for engagement are as follows:

There are six numbered shooting locations of increasing difficulty, with each team attempting to make all shots in numeric order in the fastest time. Each team will select a specific player rotation to follow throughout the competition. Each shot must be made before the next player begins shooting in succession. Teams have up to two minutes to complete the entire shooting course. - NBA.com

Taco Bell Skills Challenge - 2nd Event

Next up is the point guard skills challenge. Tony Parker will be returning to defend his "title". Both Eastern and Western conferences will have three guards to represent them. Unfortunately, Metta World Peace will not be showing off his ball-handling/point guard skills tonight. Better luck next year.

Western Conference

Tony Paker *returning champion

Damian Lillard

Jeremy Lin

Eastern Conference

Brandon Knight

Jeff Teague

Jrue Holiday

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta and features players competing in a two-round timed "obstacle course" consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course.- NBA.com

Foot Locker Three-Point Contest - 3rd Event

Following a bunch of point guards throwing basketballs through targets and running around cones is the three-point shootout. Kevin Love won the contest last year but will not be defending his title as he is injured.

Western Conference

Ryan Anderson (40.2% 3P%, 159 3PM) *leads league in three-point field goals made and attempted

Stephen Curry (44.7% 3P%, 149 3PM)

Matt Bonner (44.6% 3P%, 37 3PM)

Eastern Conference

Paul George (38.6% 3P%, 115 3PM)

Kyrie Irving (42.5% 3P%, 82 3PM)

Steve Novak (44.7% 3P%, 96 3PM)

Sprite Slam Dunk Contest - 4th Event

Finally, the night cap. The slam dunk contest will close out All-Star Saturday and has a strong field. Fingers crossed it isn't the poor showing from last year and we actually get to see more amazing dunks than scripted events and lazy props. Jeremy Evans will return to defend his title.

Western Conference

Eric Bledsoe

Kenneth Faried

Jeremy Evans

Eastern Conference

Gerald Green

James White

Terrence Ross

---

Enjoy the festivities tonight everybody! I'll be over here doing 720 dunks on my little Nerf basketball hoop above my door. BOOM.

- Drew

- Follow this author on Twitter @DrewGarrisonSBN

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