by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

Hey! So we’re here in The Stapler for All-Star Saturday night. Which means the Haier Shooting Stars Competition, the Foot Locker Three Point Shootout, and the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Which potentially means, as we all know, Blake Griffin doing insane things. Excited? Yeah, I am too. Also, we saw Keri Hilson ride past us on a golf cart earlier as we were waiting for the elevator to the press box, so that’s something. Also hear that there will be performances tonight from Cee-Lo Green and Ben’s fake dad, Jeffrey Osborne. Actually, right now there’s an acapella group from NBC’s show “The Sing Off,” onstage singing an acapella version of “Love Shack.” I’m not kidding about that.

It’s pouring rain outside right now, which probably isn’t going to be helpful as far as the All-Star Party circuit tonight, but we will do our best to report for you. And you know what? I’ve got a feeling…that tonight’s going to be a good night…a good, good night.

I’m gonna pop in from time to time with stuff up here, but mix it up in the comments, folks.


• My money is on Team ATL for no reason at all, other than I’m from ATL. Also, because Steve Smith is on Team ATL and when we asked if he’d been practicing his jumper, he said, “Not at all.”

• Al Horford drains a three to give Atlanta a time of 47.6. Nobody alive knows if that’s a good or bad time. #atlshawty

• Team Chicago went second and had a good shot at beating Atlanta, but couldn’t get a halfcourt shot to drop. didn’t help that Taj Gibson’s first halfcourt shot went all the way over the backboard. Chicago finishes at 1:06.

• Los Angeles is next, and they get slowed down by Rick Fox missing a bunch of threes from the wing, a shot he was great at during his career. LA finally finishes at 55.8, knocking out Team Chicago.

• Team Texas goes last, and Kenny Smith drills the halfcourt shot on the first try, giving them 31.8 seconds and putting Team Texas against Team Atlanta in the finals. Just to point out, it’s all of Texas against just Atlanta. #atlshawty

• FINALS! They played big band music in the arena during the contest, but should have switched to Benny Hill music when both teams went to halfcourt, because neither team could hit a shot to save their team’s life from halfcourt. Each team fired away for about 40 seconds from halfcourt and couldn’t get a shot to fall. Atlanta finished at 1:10, Texas at 1:20. Team Atlanta is now the reigning champs of the Haier Shooting Stars Competition. Who says Atlanta can’t win a title!?

• ATL, shawty!

• And now a special smooth R&B performance from Ben’s Dad, Jeffrey Osborne. On the wings of love, my friends, on the wings of love. It’s the quiet storm up in this piece!

• Oh, totally forgot about the skills challenge. Contestants run through a timed obstacle course that involves dribbling, passing, shooting, and eating a dozen tacos.

• Contestants are Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, John Wall, Russ Westbrook and Derrick Rose.

• Curry goes first. Are we going alphabetically? Curry started well, struggled with the 18-footer and outlet pass, and finished at 34.1 seconds.

• Westbrook. Misses a bounce pass but otherwise pretty flawless, finishes at 30 seconds.

• Wall. Missed a jumper and a few passes, and finishes at 39.3 seconds.

• Rose. Stumbles on the speed dribble and finishes at 35.7, so he doesn’t qualify. He’s wearing the yellow shoes most of the adidas guys are wearing this weekend. I asked someone from adidas about them this weekend and was told they went with yellow to rep for Cali — sunshine, the Golden State, etc.

• CP3. 42.7.

• Finalists are Westbrook and Steph Curry. But first, a break to eat tacos.

• Jordan McCabe, the YouTube dribbler, comes out and does a dribbling exhibition while Brandon Jennings watches and eats popcorn. Nice.

• Finals! Contains your excitement! Steph Curry runs an almost perfect round and finishes at 28.2 seconds. Westbrook coasts to a 44.2 finish, so Steph Curry is your new Taco Bell Skills Champion! Yay!

• Cee-Lo Green comes out and performs “Forget You” while wearing a green, studded adidas sweatsuit. I totally wish he was wearing that crazy Dr. Teeth outfit from The Grammys. I take this opportunity to go get dinner: Nachos. While I’m on the elevator back up to the press box, an usher in the elevator tells me corn clogs the arteries in your neck. Thanks!

• James Jones goes first and starts slow, but finishes with 16, a respectable showing.

• Boobie Gibson misses his first 9 shots before hitting a money ball, doesn’t get all the shots off in time, and finishes with a weak 7 points. Insert joke about him playing for the Cavs here.

• Ray Allen red hot out of the gate…finishes with 20 and doesn’t even get all the shots off in time.

• Kevin Durant starts slow and never does get hot. He finishes with 6, worse than Boobie. I have a feeling Durant will be more upset about his score than Boobie will be with his.

• Dorrell Wright comes out smoking, then gets ice cold, then gets hot at the last station and finishes with 11.

• Paul Pierce gets booed as he steps to the rack. I picked Paul on NBA TV a couple of times the last few days, and he looks like he’s not going to make it…until he drains his last three shots to advance by the skin of his teeth with 12.

• Things overheard on All-Star Saturday Night: “No basketball game in L.A. is complete without Penny Marshall!”

• Finals! Pierce goes first and looks good, hitting consistently, finishing with 18. James Jones goes for 20. Ray Allen goes for 15. So James Jones is OFFICIALLY the best three-point shooter in the world. Or something.

• Dunk contest coming up…but first! Far East Movement featuring Miguel! Should have ended that with a question mark.

• So we’ve got DeMar DeRozan, Serge Ibaka, JaVale McGee and Blake Griffin.

• Judges are Clyde Drexler, James Worthy (who will only gives 50s for 1-handed dunks), my main man Brent “Bones” Barry, my other main man Dominique Wilkins and Dr. J.

• Darryl Dawkins is wearing a suit that I think is make from a green leopard. Dawkins says this is the East Bay Funk Remix. I wish JR Rider was here for this. Amir Johnson is passing him the ball off the basket support, and after about 10 tries, DeRozan goes through the legs for the dunk. Birdman was having flashbacks during that.

• Ibaka marches in with banners and gets the mascots applauding while “Power” plays. BTW, can we call him Ibaka Flocka Flame? He goes full court, doesn’t dribble, jumps from behind the line and dunks it in pretty easily. Made it look too simple, almost.

• Chris Webber goes on a confusing rant about Dwight Howard, and Dwight looks genuinely confused about what it going on. A second goal is brought from the back and McGee sort of explodes and makes one dunk. After a couple of false starts he nails it and gets a 50. That was pretty much insane. I tell you this, if the NBA ever goes to two baskets side by side on each end of the floor, JaVale McGee’s going to be a handful.

• Blake Griffin comes out with no props, no shenanigans, and does a two-handed 360, just straight power. Gets a 49.

• I’m sure Dunk Contest purists will be upset by the heavy use of props and showmanship and non-dribbling early on, but that was the most entertaining first round of dunks that I can remember in a long time.

• Darryl Dawkins announces that DeMar is going to perform a dunk called “The Showstopper.” And it was…an alley-oop to himself with a half-windmill with one hand. Wow. He gets a 50. The dunk contest is back, by the way.

• Serge Ibaka rescues a toy from the rim in a stunt involving a child actor. Maybe the dunk contest isn’t back.

• Blake Griffin misses a bunch of attempts involving a pass from Baron Davis, and then finally catches a pass off the side of the backboard and flushes an emphatic windmill. Blake gets a 46, so he’s in the Final no matter what.

• Finally, JaVale McGee, with hype man Chris Webber. In the most laconic announcement of all time, he says he’s going to dunk three balls. His Mom brings out a third ball and John Wall tosses it at the rim as McGee tries to dunk two, and after a few misses, he finally gets all three balls to go. He gets a 49, which means the final will be McGee and Griffin.

• Blake goes off the glass and sticks his arm through the rim and dangles there, Vince -style.

• McGee puts on two different colored-shoes as Journey’s “Separate Lives” blares through the PA system. I wonder if this is the first time McGee has ever heard this song. He goes baseline, jumps under the rim and does something like a reverse windmill as he flies under the basket. Kinda dope.

• Instead of people like Kenny Smith and Chris Webber as hype men, next year they should bring out Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.

• Griffin brings out a KIA and the Crenshaw Elite gospel choir, who sing “I Believe I Can Fly” as Baron Davis throws an alley-oop throw the car’s sunroof and Blake jumps over the car, catches the oop and dunks.

• The only way to top that would be to immediately take everyone watching on a tour of Willy Wonka’s Factory. Instead, McGee throws himself an oop off the glass and makes a big dunk that’s good but…that’s a wrap.

• Blake wins by about a 2-1 margin. Thanks for hanging with us. We out. See ya tomorrow.