THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
64th NBA ALL-STAR GAME
Details/TV: At Madison Square Garden in New York, Sunday at 5:30 p.m., TNT:
Start spreading the blues. The sights, sounds and smells of Christina Aguilera kickin’ it with the Rockettes aren’t that the genie-in-a-bottle moment we need to bring Kobe Bryant or Blake Griffin back into the starting lineup for the Western Conference in this annual exhibition. Last time we spotted the Black Lama, he popped up on “The Tonight Show” last week with his right arm in a sling, then reminisced with Jimmy Fallon about how back in the day they were sent on a late-night beer run together and had to bribe the guy inside a Pink Dot on Sunset Blvd.
Griffin, meanwhile, has this crazy elbow thing come up at the wrong time and he could be slinging it as well for awhile. Substitute picks DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Lillard directly benefit from the Bryant-Griffin excused absence. But that doesn’t excuse why DeAndre Jordan, the league leader in rebounds and second in blocked shots, still isn’t here. At the most very least, L.A. will be represented by the Clippers’ Chris Paul – unless he gets expelled for another rant about a rookie referee. What else could possibly draw you into this one? Try to spot Phil Jackson moping around in the stands. Maybe Pau and Marc Gasol exchange some short-pants tugging – two former Lakers, as they were. And if you happen to spot Luke Walton on the West bench, it isn’t a mirage – he’s Steve Kerr’s assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors. Anyone else gets hurt, we’re counting on Kerr to have Walton suit up. Anyone else gets hurt, we’re counting on Kerr to have Walton suit up. So if you’re jonesing for some All-Star memorable moments, maybe check this out in the meantime.
Dunk contest (with Minnesota rookie and former UCLA player Zach LaVine competing against Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee), 3-point contest (with the Clippers J.J. Reddick against a field that includes Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Steph Curry), skills challenge and shooting stars competition is at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn on Saturday, 5:30 p.m., TNT
Rising Stars Challenge in Brooklyn is Friday, 6 p.m., TNT
ALSO THIS WEEK:
The Clippers’ final stop on the eight-game Grammy road trip at Dallas (Monday, 5:30 p.m., Prime Ticket) will hit a huge sour note for if they can’t stop a four-game losing streak … The Kings also have one more roadie to play, in Columbus (Monday, 4:30 p.m.) before returning home Thursday to face Calgary (7:30 p.m., FSW) … UCLA lost by 18 last time in Oregon, but have a Valentine’s Day date prepared this time around at Pauley Pavilion (Saturday at noon, Channel 11) … Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine get one more shot at No. 2-ranked Gonzaga on Thursday and Saturday … The PGA Tour’s stop at Pebble Beach for the annual pro-am brings Bill Murray back into the mix … More at this link.