by Lang Whitaker

Howdy partners! It’s about three hours before tip-off and I’m sitting courtside here in Dallas, ready for All-Star 2010. I got here to Cowboys Stadium at noon to do some stuff on NBATV. And let me just say, this building is amazing. Like, really, really, really amazing. Walking in was like boarding the Starship Enterprise. I was here early enough to see Alicia Keys and Shakira rehearse, and they will not disappoint. (Luckily, Usher decided to start practicing while we were doing “The Beat” live on NBA TV. That was fun.)

Anyway, tonight has potential to be really good.

(Oh, and the scoreboard!)

Anyway! We’ll be chattering away here tonight during the game, the way only the SLAMonline fam does. Looking forward to it. I’ll be back closer to tipoff…

• Early celeb spotting: Jermaine Dupri, Jesse Jackson, Jerry Jones.

• It’s almost 7:00 PM here, when the festivities begin. They’re introducing an astronaut who took an All-Star jersey into space, apparently. Or maybe he bought it there.

• Chris Tucker in the house. Also, Gabrielle Union. Also, Ludacris.

• I tried to convince Joe Johnson to shoot every time he touches the ball tonight. We’ll see if that works. It would be awesome if the All-Star Game turned into Iso-Joe.

• Wale in the house.

• Just spent 45 seconds looking around trying to figure out where the score was.

• Time for introductions. Lights out, flashes, and…of course, here comes Usher.

• Seeing an uncomfortable Stan Van Gundy on the scoreboard during introductions cracked me up. HUGE ovation for Derrick Rose. Joe Johnson was pretty Joe Johnson as he rose up through the floor. I know it was corny, but I liked when they danced.

• And it’s pretty funny to hear 90,000 people scream when they hear Li’l Jon say, “Let’s go!”

• Just saw Jerry Stackhouse ask an usher (not Usher) where his seats were.

• West. Pau gets a healthy cheer, but so far Kobe and Wade have the loudest cheers. Little surprised they didn’t boo Wade, you know, considering the 2006 Finals.

• And Dirk gets the big cheers, the Romo-sized cheers. Where’s J-Simpson?

• Anthems: Gretchen Wilson did a great job on the US Anthem (with flag presented by soldiers from Ft. Hood), and the Canadian Tenors did the Canadian Anthem. No idea who they are, but they were good, too.

• We should consider this whole thing a win since the Black Eyed Peas aren’t involved, right?

• Just realized I haven’t actually seen Mark Cuban all weekend. Would be funny if he went to the Keys or something for the weekend.

• In an odd turn of events, the internet signal here in Cowboys Stadium is awesome, but the cellphone signal is a wash.

• West leads 6-3 early. Who’s going to be the first All-Star to going flying off the raised court? My guess is Gerald Wallace.

• First timeout of the game with the West leading 18-17. Nash has 5 assists, Melo leads all with 8 points.

• During that last time-out, they had a bunch of, um, in-shape women dunking off of trampolines. That could’ve been the best All-Star party of the weekend.

• Next timeout has video of Chris Paul singing “On Bended Knee,” and then Shaq singing “MotownPhilly,” then Dirk singing “End of the Road,” then LeBron and a tone-deaf Derrick Rose singing “Hard to Say Goodbye To Yesterday.” Funny stuff.

• Craig Sager’s tie is sparkly. Henry Abbott just ran down and did some reporting and found out where it came from.

• After one, the East leads 37-34. Melo leads everyone with 13 points, Dwight with 11. Only 1 foul on the East. Mark Cuban is probably furious about this somewhere.

• I wonder if Shaq and the Jabbawockeez are watching this game together somewhere?

• David Lee had a dunk attempt stripped and then just fouled Pau with the and-1. Josh Smith woulda dunked on someone by now.

• Just spotted Sam Perkins in a three-piece suit. Also here, Mark Aguirre in a DePaul long-sleeved t-shirt. Contrasts.

• During a timeout, Derek Fisher just came out with a bunch of kids in NBA Cares t-shirts to talk about NBA Cares. I was hoping he’s sing “If You’re Out There.” He didn’t.

• West is up 51-47 with 8 mins to go in the second. I was hoping we’d get to 200, but don’t think it’s happening.

• The last All-Star to get playing time? Jason Kidd. Most minutes played so far is Dwyane Wade with 12.

• Floyd Mayweather just walked past us with a seven-person entourage, of which Mayweather was the smallest member by far.

• They announce members of the Dream Team: Pippen, Mullin, Ewing and Magic. Other Dream Teamers — not invited!

• Pretty sure nobody tuned into All-Star to see a Kidd/Kaman two-man game.

• Kaman and Nowitzki running das two-man game!

• Joe Johnson’s giving us a little Iso-Joe. When Chris Bosh will pass the ball, that is.

• And at the half, the East leads 76-69. Nice halves for Melo (17 pts) and Durant (10 pts). Bosh is leading the game in minutes played with 15, Melo has 8 boards and Nash and Wade have 7 assists apiece.

• Now, Shakira and Alicia Keys.

• Rick Fox and Eliza Dushku just walked past me, hand in hand.

• I guess The Who wasn’t available?

• Waiting for my pulse to settle after that Shakira performance…

• David Stern just texted Roger Goodell and said, “That’s how you do a halftime.”

• I was just joking about Shakira. As far as Wifey knows.

• Second Half!

• Dwight Howard just dribbled the length of the court and came in for the hammer dunk, and he was coming directly at me the entire way (I’m sitting just behind the basket). And there’s no way in the world I’d ever try and take that charge.

• Mark Cuban is making his way down press row, glad-handing all the writers. He even has his shirt tucked in. Hey, it’s a start.

• The East is getting loose a little bit here, opening up a 9 point lead, 97-88, with 5:33 to go. Lots of dunks from Bron and Dwight.

• Check this out from Dwight.

• East up 103-94, Bron going full-blast out there. Wade has 16 and 10.

• Just showed Shaq on the scoreboard, and he kissed D-Scott on the head.

• I think Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones are having a cipher.

• PA announcer just said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Spike Lee!” And no mention of Swizz Beatz, sitting next to him.

• After three, the East leads 113-104. Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones are out on the court now trying to get the crowd hyped.

• Attendance is 108,713. Yikes.

• Score is actually 118-112, I think. Score here on the official box scores on our table is wrong, or maybe delayed.

• Derrick Rose just got subbed out of the game, and the only player standing and clapping (loudly) on the East bench was KG. The man is a team player.

• Ben just said “Whoa!” I turned and looked left and saw about half a dozen mascots in those inflatable suits all standing in place, bouncing up and down. A jarring sight.

• All mascots in every sport must have had to learn the “Single Ladies” dance.

• LeBron nearly went off the edge of the court there in front of the East bench. Closest anyone’s come yet, I think.

• East leading 135-126, with 3:52 left. Seem way more into this than the West right now.

• Prediction: Co-MVPs, Shaq and Kobe.

• East up 2, 1:46 to go. The MVP is ON THE LINE!

• Chris Bosh shakes loose for an oop and…MISSES it.

• Chauncey goes one-on-one and scores on an elbow jumper. Tie game.

• East misses, West comes down, game on the line…and Wade strips Deron Williams. For some reason the West fouls? The score was tied? Why did they foul? Weird. Wade calmly knocks down two free throws to give the East a 139-137 lead with 12.7 left.

• West ball. They go to Dirk on the wing, he gets Dirk in the air and draws two shots. Dirk to the line to tie it. Good and…good.

• Game tied at 139 with 7.7 left. East looks for Wade, covered, then Bron, covered. Dwight’s the third option, and he gives it back to a cutting Bosh, who gets fouled by Billups. A native Dallas dude to the line…good, and good. East leads 141-139, with 5 seconds left. Melo goes for three to win…and misses. Game, East wins 141-139.

Wade finishes with 28 and 11. Bron with 25 and 6.

Thanks for hanging in with us all night on the Liveblog. I’ve been taking photos all weekend for a long post next week when we return to NYC.

And we out.