For the New Orleans Pelicans power forward making his All-Star debut today, it was nothing new.
“I played with some of these guys in the Olympics, so that ‘wow” feeling went away there,” Anthony Davis said. “The biggest thing is just seeing how cool these guys are and how down to earth everyone is. It’s amazing. You don’t see a lot of guys like that.”
The one guy who has been a team favorite is Dwight Howard, the Houston Rockets center.
“Dwight is the funniest guy here,” Davis said. “He is always joking around.”
Sunday’s game will be the second All-Star event of the weekend for Davis. He scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge.
Not a bad stat line for a guy who admits to pacing himself Friday night.
“I was trying to save my legs a little bit,” Davis said. “I didn’t want to use too much energy and then not have any left for (Sunday).”
Davis is one of six All-Star players making their All-Star Game debut. One of the others is Washington Wizards guard John Wall, who like Davis attended Kentucky. That too gives Davis a bit more incentive for Sunday.
“We are just trying to put on a show for the fans,” Davis said. “We know Kentucky is going to be here watching. They appreciate everything that we do so we definitely want to put on a show for them a little bit.”
New Orleans native Robert Pack will serve as an assistant coach for the West in Sunday’s All-Star Game.
Pack is currently serving as an assistant for the Oklahoma City Thunder, whose head coach Scott Brooks is the head coach tonight after having the best record in the West midway through the season.
“I am proud to call New Orleans home, and I am thrilled to make my debut as an assistant coach in the 2014 NBA All-Star game in the city where I spent my prep days,” said Pack, a graduate of Alfred Lawless High. “If it wasn’t for so many people touching my life in this city, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Pack spent 13 seasons in the NBA. In 2009, he joined the New Orleans Hornets as an assistant coach before joining the staff of the Los Angeles Clippers the following season.
He began his stint with OKC in July.
Robert Covington set a D-League All-Star Game record by scoring 33 points to give the Prospects a 145-142 win over the Futures on Saturday afternoon. The Rio Grande Vipers forward captured MVP honors.
Pierre Jackson, whose rights belong to the Pelicans, scored 30 points (on 11-of-18 shooting) to go with his eight assists and four steals for the Futures team in the loss.
Starting, at guard ...
Houston Rockets guard James Harden started just seven games during his three seasons playing at Oklahoma City. So Harden says he gave his former coach Scott Brooks, a bit of a hard time for finally letting him start Sunday.
Harden was named to the starting lineup after Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant was unable to play because of injury.
“I’m a starter, and it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Harden said. “I talked to (Brooks) a little bit, but there are so many great players here. As a young kid, I grew up watching Kobe in the All-Star Game, and now I’m a starter. It’s a great blessing.”
Harden is also looking forward to reuniting with former teammate Kevin Durant. The two played together in the all-star game last season as well.
“It feels good,” Harden said. “We kinda missed each other. It’s a great weekend and I am just excited to be here competing.”