Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 2/16/13
8 a.m. ET: The NBA season has reached its halfway point, meaning that it’s time for the annual extravaganza that is All-Star weekend. The league’s best will descend on Houston for the three-day festival, and while the actual All-Star Game won’t tip off until Sunday, the real excitement takes place the night before. All-Star Saturday Night will feature the same four events — the Shooting Stars competition, skills challenge, three-point contest and, of course, the slam dunk contest — that NBA fans have become accustomed to, but with a new twist thrown in this season. This year, the participants in the four competitions will be divided by conference and awarded points for each event. At the end of the night, the conference with the most total points will be awarded a $350,000 donation to charities of its choice, while the losing conference will receive a $150,000 donation. Utah’s Jeremy Evans will be back to defend the dunk contest title he won in Orlando last season, but keep an eye on first-time competitor James White. White is averaging less than seven minutes per game off the bench for the Knicks this season but has become famous on YouTube for his free-throw-line slams, particularly those he threw down during an epic battle with fellow 2013 competitor Gerald Green at a competition in Russia in 2010. Earlier in the night, 2012 skills competition champion Tony Parker will attempt to protect his crown against the likes of Jeremy Lin and Jeff Teague, young guns Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving will face off in the three-point contest and All-Stars, NBA legends and WNBAers will team up in the Shooting Stars challenge. Be sure to check back here throughout the day for updates and follow along with the event, which gets underway tonight at 8:30. Photo via Facebook/Utah Jazz
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