February 21, 2011

An all-star weekend worth watching

by Dan Bilicki In: Basketball

Just when you thought that mid-season exhibitions were turning terrible, the NBA’s showcase came along this year and may have revitalized the all-star game industry. It gave us excitement and intrigue on both nights of the event – and even a little bit on Friday night if you wanted to watch Scottie Pippen swat away Justin Bieber in the celebrity game.

First off, I know that the celeb game is seriously a nothing event, but was there any way that Bieber could have lost a fan vote for the game’s MVP? He could have played two minutes on the floor, missed every shot he took and still came out with the win. Somebody should look into that, or at least make it so a member of the winning team takes home that crown.

Even the three-point shootout, one of the easiest events to execute and a standard for the NBA had a slight bit of intrigue. Why? Because for the first time in perhaps forever, there were no white contestants. It’s a really odd twist when you think about it, considering the stereotype is that the white boys usually have the best deadeye aim from distance.

Then there was the dunk off, which allowed many to get their first live glimpses of the freak we know as the Blake Show. Griffin was at his best in the final, dunking over the hood of a car to take home the trophy. I look forward to many years of seeing Blake compete in this event and dominating it. Runner-up JaVale McGee wasn’t too shabby either, at one point dunking three balls at once, a record for the competition. And for anyone who thinks that the DeMar DeRozan got jobbed, well, awesomely athletic dunks are only one part of this contest. You have to put more show into them to really get the judges’ attention.

In the game itself, despite starting about 40 minutes after the supposed scheduled tipoff of 8 p.m., had some all-time all-star performances. We saw Kobe Bryant come close to both the record for points scored and shots attempted. We saw LeBron James notch the second ever triple double in an all-star game and Kobe took home his fourth game MVP, tying him for the record. We even saw some guys trying on defence (a rarity), like when LBJ chased down Kobe on a dunk attempt and tried to swat it away in vein.

Now, if only the other sports could inject some legitimate excitement into these exhibitions, then they might actually be worth watching. It’s just too bad the NHL’s fantasy draft played out so poorly.

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