This You Gotta See: Blackhawks-Jets, Illini-Spartans and Bulls’ LaVine shooting for glory
Saturday’s NBA All-Star agenda includes a skills challenge, a three-point shootout and a slam-dunk contest. Zach LaVine has time only for the middle one of those three. Chuck ’em up, pal — a massively depressed fan base is counting on you.
Blackhawks at Jets (6 p.m., NBCSCH+): It’s another big one for the Hawks, with Winnipeg right in front of them in the race for a wild-card spot. Is this a playoff-caliber team or isn’t it? We won’t pretend to have all the answers, but we’ll offer this piece of advice to coach Jeremy Colliton: Maybe try dialing up a game plan that doesn’t end in a third straight overtime defeat.
Florida State at Duke (6 p.m., ESPN): It’s a clash of top-10 teams, with the no-name Seminoles looking to edge ahead of Vernon Carey Jr., Tre Jones and the always-glitzy Blue Devils in the ACC standings. The Cameron Crazies will be out in force and hoping Mike Krzyzewski doesn’t storm across the court from the home bench and suddenly, bewilderingly scream at them.
Bulls at Wizards (6 p.m., NBCSCH): Some would say the Bulls — a hot streak away from crashing the playoff eight in the Eastern Conference — are in dire need of a “W.” Others are more reality-bound. Either way, this is the last game before the All-Star break.
Michigan State at Illinois (8 p.m., ESPN): The Illini are NCAA Tournament-bound for the first time since 2013 — and in the fight for the Big Ten regular-season title — making this among the biggest games in Champaign in a long while. Perhaps you’ve heard, but the Spartans tend to be pretty good.
Bucks at Pacers (6:30 p.m., ESPN): Giannis Antetokounmpo and company are beelining toward 65 wins, just a spectacular season. Indy has an All-Star in big man Domantas Sabonis and a bunch of overachievers surrounding him. In related news, the Bulls are in the Central Division, too.
Lakers at Nuggets (9 p.m., ESPN): The Sabonis of the West is Denver’s Nikola Jokic, although, if we’re being honest, Jokic is a lot better. He scores. He rebounds. He passes the ball like pretty much no 7-footer ever. Fine, he’ll never beat LeBron James and Anthony Davis in a playoff series, but still.
NBA All-Star Celebrity Game (6 p.m., ESPN): Awfully tough to top this mega-event at Wintrust Arena, with Stephen A. Smith and Guy Fieri coaching one team and Michael Wilbon and some actor named — hang on while we check our notes — Jesse Williams coaching the other. By the time we get to players Chance the Rapper, Common and, well, a whole lot of others old people don’t know, it’ll be . . . awesome?
NBA Rising Stars (8 p.m., TNT): Two words, people. The first is Zion, and the second is nobody else matters. Would it have killed the NBA to put Coby White in this game?
Illinois at Rutgers (3:30 p.m., BTN): Don’t look now, but the Scarlet Knights are better at home than any team in the Big Ten. Somebody has to kill that strange vibe, yeah?
All-Star Saturday Night (7 p.m., TNT): The agenda includes a skills challenge, a three-point shootout and a slam-dunk contest. Zach LaVine has time only for the middle one of those three. Chuck it up, Zach — a whole massively depressed fan base is counting on you.