BOSTON - It seems like All-Star selections happen in twos for the local New England sports teams. Matthew Slater and Stephon Gilmore were the two New England Patriots named to the Pro Bowl. David Pastrnak and Tim Thomas were the two Boston Bruins representatives for the NHL All-Star Game. Now, the Boston Celtics will be sending two of their best to the United Center in Chicago for the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.
It was announced last Thursday that the NBA All-Star reserves would consist of a number of stellar players across the league. Jayson Tatum, a third-year forward for the Celtics, was named to his first-ever All-Star Game! He joined Kemba Walker, who was previously announced as a starter the week before, as the Celtics on the roster, per NBA. This is Kemba's fourth appearance in the game.
It has been awesome to see Tatum grow into an All-Star caliber player and he is definitely deserving, as is Walker. I would also argue that Jaylen Brown was deserving too. After all, he just received his second Player of the Week honor of the season for the Eastern Conference. That sounds like a talented player to me. In all likelihood, the voters thought three Celtics would be a bit much. I disagree, but I understand the need for as much parity as possible.
Currently, Tatum is averaging 21.7 points per game and Walker has posted 22.0 per game. Definitely All-Star numbers! Joining those two in the Eastern Conference batch of players are Trae Young (Atlanta), Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton (Milwaukee), Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry (Toronto), Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (Philadelphia), Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo (Miami), and Domantas Sabonis (Indiana). Team LeBron and Team Giannis will draft these players from their respective crops on Thursday!
The All-Star Game will also look quite different this year. The NBA is changing the format so that the score resets after each quarter. The goal is to try to "win" each quarter, so by the fourth quarter, the cumulative number of the highest scores in each quarter will be the new benchmark. That number will have twenty-four added to it and the first team to reach the number in the fourth quarter will win the game. The fourth quarter will not be timed. These changes have been made to honor the late Kobe Bryant, who wore the number twenty-four.
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