The fine writers here at the CelticsHub have already done a masterful job breaking down All-Star weekend. But given the theme of my weekly entry I must weigh in as well. I’ll start from Friday’s festivities and go up thru last night’s defensive struggle in the actual game.
Friday: Celeb Game. I will not mention the young boy who was voted MVP. I will however question how Michael Rapaport is still a celebrity. He was in one of my five favorite movies of all time, True Romance, which came out in 1993! Since then, he’s been in a lot of gems, 95% of things you’ve never heard of. But be sure to check him out in the current (?) TV show Pound Puppies. How many people were offered a spot in this game before they got to him, or does he get an automatic invite considering he’s never missed a celeb game?
It was good to see Scottie Pippen getting after it. I am a big Pippen guy, and clearly he still has the fire.
Rookie-Sophomore Game: I was shocked. Rookies for the 2nd year in a row? I know they had Blake Griffin and John Wall, but the Sophs had won 8 of the 11. The Wall oop to Griffin made the whole game worth while. How about James Harden, who was a late addition for the banged up Tyreke Evans, dropping a smooth 30 including a monster throw down? DeMarcus Cousins went for 33-14. I really should have considered the chemistry between Wall and Cousins before making a “friendly” wager. At least the over hit.
Saturday Night: Shooting Stars again? Come on. I don’t know what the worst part is. The NBA stuffing the WNBA down our throats. The retired player wearing a current jersey and looking sadly out of shape. Watching three people take turns missing a half court shot. Or the WNBA. Just get rid of this. I was on board for HORSE when they did that, it wasn’t good, but it made Shooting Stars look like a 1980’s Dunk Contest.
Skills Challenge: Great lineup. Chris Paul, Stephen Curry (who was my pick), Russell Westbrook, Derrick Rose, and John Wall. They clearly don’t give a crap about it, but I still like it. It’s a solid obstacle course and shows off some different things. Passing through tires? Yes please. Of course this is coming from a guy who will be watching hours of the NFL Combine coming up.
3-Point Shootout: I had Pierce, thought he would rise to the challenge and overcome the LA crowd. He seemed surprised by the boos. I understand he is from Inglewood, but you were the Finals MVP beating the Lakers less than 3 years ago. It’s not going to be a friendly atmosphere. Pierce should have gone from rack to rack in a wheel chair then given the finger the Staples Center. But he probably handled it better.
Despite not winning, there is no shame in the efforts put forth by Ray Allen and Pierce. The same can not be said for Boobie Gibson and Kevin Durant. Why was their a Cavalier allowed at All-Star weekend? Did we get an answer on that yet? No one else would shoot 3’s?
Dunk Contest: Very solid. NBA TV recently aired an NBA Slam Dunk Contest Marathon, airing every single Dunk Contest in order from 1984 to now. Needless to say, I got nothing done that day. (Side note: best part may have been the guys who didn’t win and maybe you forgot about like Stacey Augmon, Larry Johnson, Shawn Kemp, Ray Allen, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Kendall Gill, and the fact that Clyde Drexler was in it 5 times and never won.)
Fair criticisms about the event this year: only 1 star player/ guy casual fans have heard of, lots of gimmicks, the coaches, and the number of times it took most dunks to be completed.
I didn’t hate the coaches, but can understand those who found them annoying. I also thought the lineup was fine. Sorry people. LeBron is not going to do it, Kobe isn’t coming back, and I think Vince Carter has disappeared in the Arizona desert. Michael Jordan was in it 3 times with his last being in 1988 (3 years before he won the title). It’s easy to look back and say all the stars used to do it, which is really part true. Yes Jordan was an All-Star and scoring leader, but he had not yet become a champion and owner of best player on the planet distinction.
If you just saw the completed dunks from this year’s contest, it was as good, if not BETTER, than any other. I do believe that the number of attempts hurts the WOW factor, and that is my biggest criticism of this year’s event. In 2000 did Vince have any re-dos? I don’t think so. In the same event, in fact, I remember Steve Francis picking himself off the floor at one end of the court; kinda stretch his legs while dribbling toward half court then just tossing a crazy high pass down court, letting it bounce before catching it and throwing down a sick reverse dunk. It looked like he just woke up and then he brought the place down. It was nuts. No do-over needed.
I loved both of DeMar DeRozen’s dunks, although the number of attempts and likely Darryl Dawkins, hurt his chances. Serge Ibaka did a TRUE free throw line dunk, which no one seemed to care about. JaVale McGee did something I have never seen (also one that is hard to practice for you 7 footers with bounce out there.) Blake won, and that’s fine with me. I wonder what he was really going to do on the Kia dunk as Kenny Smith did say the pass from Baron Davis wasn’t where it was supposed to be. Maybe we’ll find out next year…
(Ideal 2012 Dunk Contest: Blake Griffin, LeBron James, JaVale McGee, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook, Monta Ellis… that’s right, going back to six.)
Sunday All-Star Game: A record night. Kobe Bryant went for 37 and 14 to win his 4th MVP (tying a record) as the West beat the East 148-143. LeBron James slapped up just the game’s 2nd triple-double (only Jordan had done it previously). It was a typical All-Star game other than that, long outlet passes, dunks, oops, open shots, tons of points, then about 2-3 minutes of “this is gonna be a game” at the end.
The four Celtics combined for just 28 points off the bench led by Ray Allen’s 12. More importantly Doc Rivers made sure to rest his guys. Kevin Garnett played a game-low 8 minutes, Paul Pierce just 11, Allen 17, Rajon Rondo 21.
All and all, it was a successful and enjoyable All-Star weekend, the best of all the four major sports. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the second half… well final quarter of the season.