WELL THAT'S A WRAP - another year of the NBA All Star is done and dusted. It's time to recap some of the highlights/low-lights from the weekend. Here are my takeaways on the event:
Team USA vs Team World
Jamal Murray, named MVP of this game (I had my money on Porzingis who ended with a 24 points and 10 rebounds) dropped a staggering 36 points and 11 assists in this game in just 20 MINUTES. Him showing out and being the MVP of this game somewhat shocked the hell out of me. Not to say he isn't a good player because he definitely is and has a bright future, but if you look at the abundance of talent that was in this game, you'd think it was going to be one of the top guys like I did and it be either KAT, Porzingis, Jokic, or Booker. Murray came and showed why his name deserves to be remembered going forward. Looking at the role Murray is in right now for the Denver Nuggets, and that him being one of the main guys coming off the bench and providing some scoring, he wasn't someone you'd think would snag the MVP award in the game.
Another name we know but one that is not a big name is Frank Kaminsky who had 33 points in the game, which had him leading in scoring for team USA. If only Kaminsky could get this kind of performance to translate in a regular season game where actual defense is played..
My main takeaway from the Rising Stars game is that us as NBA fans have a bright future ahead of us with these young stars and our disposal, 3 or 4 may even be superstar caliber players. Also, they weren't too awfully far off from the All Stars total for points in their game.
Slam Dunk Contest
Let's just say…..you couldn't pay me to watch that again. That had to be the worst dunk contest I had ever seen in my life! Had he not have gotten injured Zach LaVine would have cake-walked his way to a 3-peat. Going into the Dunk contest, I honestly thought Aaron Gordon had it in the bag.. unless Derrick Jones Jr pulled some crazy dunks with his insane vertical that Gordon just couldn't beat. Well as it turned out, Gordon choked and didn't even make it past the first round….. say what!?! He was THIS close behind Zach last year and he came up short to these guys? To me, they were just doing different versions of the same dunk in the final round. I was not in the least bit impressed with this part of All Star weekend, it was a disappointment and I hope this event majorly improves moving forward. The dunks were weak and unoriginal to say the least... This reaction from Dikembe pretty much sums it up perfectly.
With Steph Curry sitting this one out, the three-point contest was anyone's for the taking. Heading into the event Klay Thompson was the hot favourite coming in as the defending champ expecting to at very least be in the final round if not repeat…... annnnd he finished in 5th place with a first round exit (18). To me, before it all began it looked like we were in for solid competition to look forward to from start to finish in this part of All Star weekend, but I ended up being wrong besides the final round which was pretty tight battle between Kyrie Irving (20) and Eric Gordon (25).
What gave Gordon the edge and better chance to win was him hitting one entire rack after somewhat struggling on the previous and then just stayed consistent to put away NBA champ Kyrie for the first 3pt contest win in history for a player in a Houston Rockets jersey. My teams (Dallas Mavericks) very own Wesley Matthews finished just below Klay in 6th place but wasn't really close in points, he only totalled 11. Matthews has the 3rd most 3 pointers made since the 2011 season and his shooting from the arc has been consistently decent as of late (37.9% through the last 5 games) and while his performance didn't really surprise me, I always hope for the best. Lastly CJ McCollum and Kyle Lowry were firing bricks on all cylinders and finished with grand totals of 10 and 9, which are the lowest totals in over a decade..
The All-Star Game
Well the first thing I'd like to point out is that defense in this game does not exist whatsoever and it is beyond boring to watch... Bill Simmons agrees:
Yes we love the players and appreciate their ridiculous talent and that us as fans get to see the best players play together, but this has got to be more than just a shootout. People pay ridiculous amounts of money for tickets to watch this game, playoff game type money I might add, for what? Just watch these guys jerk around and do some flashy wide open dunks and shoot deep uncontested three pointers??
Sure, there were a couple of cool moments like the KD's lob to his former teammate Russell Westbrook and the West All Stars bench going totally nuts, or the Greek Freaks poster dunk on Curry, or Anthony Davis going for 52 points and passing Chamberlain for most points scored in an all star game... but it still felt undeniably lacklustre. I usually love these All Star weekends and what they entail, but this year I was just bored and unenthused AF. Maybe I'm complaining too much and I should just enjoy it anyways, but I don't think that's the case and a lot of NBA fans can agree with me on this. The main thing I actually enjoyed the most was the 3 pointers and half court shots to raise funds for the Craig Sager foundation. It was a joy to watch because so many didn't hesitate to take off their jackets and whatever else to get up and shoot those shots to raise the money. It showed the true love and appreciation everyone had for Mr Sager and it is a testament to the great guy he was.
Written by Drew Ivery