UTAH JAZZ

Lauri Markkanen Dunks Alley-Oop From Donovan Mitchell To Open All-Star Game

Feb 19, 2023, 6:56 PM | Updated: 7:13 pm

SALT LAKE CITYUtah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen threw down a slam dunk on an alley-oop from former Jazzman Donovan Mitchell to open the 72nd NBA All-Star Game.

The NBA All-Star Game took place at Vivint Arena on Sunday, February 19.

During the first minutes of the contest, Markkanen rocked the rim with a jam on a lob from the former Jazz star and current Cleveland Cavaliers guard.

Markkanen’s dunk gave Team Giannis an early 4-2 lead.

Team Giannis selected Markkanen during the 2023 NBA All-Star Game Draft ahead of the league’s 72nd showcase exhibition. The draft took place prior to the All-Star Game. Giannis Antetokounmpo, captain of Team Giannis, selected Markkanen as a member of their team for the 72nd NBA All-Star Game. Markkanen was one of the game’s 10 starters.

Team LeBron

Team LeBron includes the following NBA All-Stars:

Reserves

  • Anthony Edwards (Minnesota Timberwolves)
  • Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
  • Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers)
  • Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers)
  • Julius Randle (New York Knicks)
  • De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings)
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies)

Starters

  • Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Kyrie Irving (Dallas Mavericks)
  • Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks)
  • Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets)
  • LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers)

Team Giannis

Team Giannis will compete against the following roster of Team LeBron, which is led by team captain, LeBron James:

Reserves

  • Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee Bucks)
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Oklahoma City Thunder)
  • DeMar DeRozan (Chicago Bulls)
  • Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)
  • Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat)
  • Domantas Sabonis (Sacramento Kings)

Starters

  • Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)
  • Ja Morant (Memphis Grizzlies)
  • Donovan Mitchell (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz)
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks)

Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns), Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans), and Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) will not participate due to injury.

The 72nd NBA All-Star Game will tip-off at 6 p.m. (MDT) on TNT and TBS.

RELATED: How To Watch, Stream, Listen To NBA All-Star Events

Lauri Markkanen makes first NBA All-Star Game

Markkanen will make his first All-Star appearance Sunday night as the star-studded weekend comes to a close in Utah.

The Jazz forward is the team’s lone representative in front of the home crowd and should get plenty of opportunity to prove he belongs.

After a stellar start to his tenure with the Jazz, Markkanen was chosen by NBA coaches as a reserve for the All-Star game before being bumped up to a starting position due to injuries.

Markkanen will have the unique opportunity to represent both Utah as the league host, and his country as he becomes the first Finnish player to suit up in an NBA All-Star game.

“Being in the hometown and having my family here and having them experiencing everything with me, I think that’s been pretty cool,” Markkanen said.

The Jazz forward is having a career year in Utah, averaging 24.9 points and 8.8 rebounds, proving why he was worthy of a top-seven pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.

After two strong seasons to begin his career in Chicago, Markkanen’s numbers began to dip as the Bulls shifted their identity to build around other players on the roster.

The forward was then traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2021 before being rerouted to the Jazz last offseason.

Despite a tumultuous past three years, Markkanen said he never questioned his ability to lead a team.

“I never stopped believing,” Markkanen said. “I’ve just been putting the work in, and you have to have that high belief in yourself that anything can happen, and hopefully it’s just the beginning.”

Reworked All-Star Format

Sunday’s All-Star game will feature a new format with captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo drafting their rosters shortly before tip-off.

In recent years the draft was held on TNT, but the idea was reworked ahead of All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City.

While Markkanen is among the pool of starters that will open the game on the floor, he won’t be one of the first players drafted.

Instead, James and Antetokounmpo will select from the pool of reserves first, before drafting from the designated starters.

In addition to Markkanen, the All-Star starters include former Jazzman Donovan Mitchell, Kyrie Irving, Luka Doncic, Nikola Jokic, Ja Morant, Joel Embiid, and Jayson Tatum.

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Lauri Markkanen Dunks Alley-Oop From Donovan Mitchell To Open All-Star Game