Just as fans were getting used to the newly named New Orleans Pelicans, the team's venue underwent a major name change on Feb. 6, just ahead of its second NBA All-Star Game hosting gig. For those perhaps unfamiliar with the news, the former New Orleans Arena is now the Smoothie King Center, and the building will be the site for many of the most anticipated festivities surrounding the NBA All-Star Game 2014.
In regards to the main event, the rosters have been set and for the East, will include starters in Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), LeBron James (Miami Heat), Paul George (Indiana Pacers), and Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks). Squaring off from the West are starters Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), and James Harden (Houston Rockets).
However, it should be noted that Kobe Bryant was actually selected by fans to start for the West, but will not be able to participate due to injury. In such an event, the Western Conference coach, which for this year is OKC's Scott Brooks, is tasked with picking a replacement. Brooks chose Harden, who was a member of the Thunder from 2009-12.
Meanwhile, the reserves for the East will be Joakim Noah (Chicago Bulls), Roy Hibbert (Indiana Pacers), Chris Bosh (Miami Heat), Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks), John Wall (Washington Wizards), Joe Johnson (Brooklyn Nets), and DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors), and set to come off the bench for the West is Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets), Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers), LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers), Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks), Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), and Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers).
Heading into the All-Star Game break, the Indiana Pacers remain atop the Eastern Conference with an overall mark of 40-12, and have yet to let up since putting together a franchise-best 9-0 to start the year. The two-time defending champion Miami Heat (37-14) have had little trouble maintaining a second-place slot, as much of the East has endured ongoing injury troubles.
The Western Conference has been ruled by many of the usual suspects, with Oklahoma City (43-12), San Antonio (38-15), and Houston (36-17) in the top three spots. Individually, Durant has made quite a case for MVP this year, and is currently averaging a league-best 31.5 points per game.
Watch all of your favorite players in action this weekend when the 2014 NBA All-Star Game tips off at the Smoothie King Center on Feb. 16. For those interested in checking out some of the other events leading up to the game, check out some of the highlights featured below. NBA All-Star Weekend Travel Packages also are available and can be purchased HERE.
2014 NBA All-Star Game Weekend Event Schedule
Feb. 14: Rising Stars Challenge | Tickets
Feb. 15: All-Star Saturday Night (Includes 3-Point and Dunk Contests) | Tickets
Feb. 16: NBA All-Star Game | Tickets