Friday, February 18th, 2011 at 8:14 pm  |  42 responses

Live: Rooks vs. Sophs

Does this mark the beginning of the weekend of Blake?

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

Hey all — Lang here, live from the Rookie/Sophomore Game at Staples. We’re trying to workout the kinks on the liveblogs tonight — especially trying to find out whether or not the wireless will work — so I’ll pop in up here with notes from time to time. In the meantime, feel free to comment below…

PREGAME: OK, I’m in the press box high above the Stapler, waiting for this game to get started up in here, up in here. I think we’re about 15 minutes from getting cracking. I haven’t actually seen anyone else from SLAM all day — people have been running all over the place, at all sorts of events. I spent my day working on some stuff for NBA TV, including a live episode of “The Beat,” during which David Aldridge and I nearly starved to death on live television. That would have been fun!

After that I bounced over here to the arena, and finally hooked up with our guy Nima Zarrabi. So! We’re here now. I’ll file occasional notes during the game…

• I have not been outdoors all day — which is really how I hoped to spend my time in L.A. — but I’m told by reliable sources (well, Nima) that a crazy storm is hitting outside right now. Which might explain why this arena is quiet right now.

• We had Brandon Jennings with us on NBA TV earlier, and he said at the Sophomore practice today, Sophomore coach Lawrence Frank put them through drills and had them running plays. Love Lawrence Frank.

• I just noticed that this event is officially called “T-Mobile Rookie Challenge.” No mention of the sophs? Putting all the pressure on the rooks, sounds like?

• Gary Neal — who is 26 — has to be oldest player in this game, right? Is Neal the oldest rookie of all-time?

• Oh, the game started! Sophs are up 10-4 early, and Blake gets called for an offensive foul. It would be great if Blake Griffin got in foul trouble and had to ride the bench for the entire game.

• Taj Gibson dunks and the PA system plays the old NBA Jams “Boomshakalaka!”

• So the Sophs lead 28-25 with 11:20 to go in the first half. Yeah, forgot to mention they play halves in this game. No dunks too outlandish thus far.

• Most impressive performance of the first half thus far might be the job Nima’s doing on these nachos. Total destruction.

• DaJuan Blair just tossed himself an oop off the glass and flushed it, drawing the biggest cheer of the night.

• The bright yellow adidas kicks a bunch of guys are wearing on court tonight are getting the most attention. And derision.

• Halftime, and the Rookies are winning 71-69 — Wes Johnson is 7-for-8, and the Blair and DeRozan are have 14 apiece. DaMarcus Cousins has tried a couple of ridiculous dunks, and made about as many as he’s missed. The halftime show was a live performance by the Cali Swag District, which means we must have made a wrong turn somewhere.

• Also worth mentioning from earlier, DA and I were eating dinner in the hotel bar across the street from the arena and Shannon Brown walked past wearing a backpack that had speakers built into it, with loud music blasting. This meant it was the first time in my life I had the chance to say the sentence, “Hey man, can you turn down your backpack?”

• Highlight of the night thus far was a Wall bounce pass oop that Griffin reversed. This isn’t much of a game, but that was a heckuva play.

• The wireless internet up here has been spotty every since Cali Swag District performed. Which obviously means The Dougie isn’t conducive to internet connectivity. The good news is that I now have been taught how to Dougie.

• Gary Neal’s got 14 points, 4 boards and 4 assists. Would be kinda fun if he could win the MVP, just because I’m pretty most of the kids in the arena here have no idea who he is.

• Biggest cheer of the night thus far just came for Kobe…who made an announcement on the scoreboard.

• When does this turn into a real game? I’m guessing when we get under 5 minutes…

• Sophs lead 128-125 with 4:46 left. Should be a good finish…but first?! Free t-shirts! AHHHHHHHHHH!

• John Wall just got his 20th assist with about 4 minutes to go. Rooks up 133-132. A WE WANT BLAKE chant takes over the arena, and the Sophs immediately turn it over as Blake…still doesn’t check back into the game.

• Blake gets shown on the scoreboard and crowd goes nuts, and he cracks a huge smile…but he still doesn’t get back into the game.

• Rookies lead 140-134 with 1:21 to go. Cousins has 29 and 12. Gary Neal scores again (20 pts) to put the Rooks up 142-134. Harden bangs a three to make it 142-137, with 36 seconds to go. Wall to the line, hits one free throw, then Boogie Cousins grabs the rebounds and dunks for 31 points.

• Steph Curry hits a three to make it a 144-140 lead for the rooks. Highest scoring Rookie/Soph game in ASW history. Yay!

• And with the clock running down, on a breakaway, Cousins throws an oop off the backboard to Wall for the two-handed slam. The Rooks win, 148-140.

• That’s it! Thanks for hanging with us tonight…be back with more soon on SLAMonline!

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  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Live from press box south. Happy to be here

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    There are a lot of kids in the lower bowl, presumably with free tickets, which is a good look. But massive swaths of seats are empty in the middle levels.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    We’ll get a better pic on homepage as soon as Getty starts posting ones from this game.

  • TheMac

    Oldest Rookie of All-Time I have seen in this game was Zeljko Rebraca, think he was in his 30′s. Thinking of that reminds me that Sabonis was in his 30′s when he entered the league, not sure if he played the Rookie game. But the Veteran title for the rookie games must be between on of them.

  • TheMac

    Do I win something;-)

  • http://twitter.com/smileyoufckers Bryan

    Lang, Dean Garrett was 30 when he debuted for the Wolves in 96-97

  • http://www.gmx.net Darksaber

    So the most urgent question here is; what’s with the yellow patterned socks (barf)Serge and Co. are wearing in their equally nauseating yellow kicks?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    DeJuan Blair is still mad he fell to the second round.

  • http://www.gmx.net Darksaber

    ACL’s? Who needs…..ACL’s?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Pretty entertaining first half…and finally got a nice pic on homepage. DMC!

  • qasclk

    DaJuan Blair did the same oop to himself off the board last year right?

  • http://Gmail Dirty Frank

    My poor dog’s stuck in the car ’cause my Canadian cable won’t show the game so I’m @ the only pub in town

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Bryan: I mean in the Rookie/Sophomore game.

  • http://Gmail Dirty Frank

    Got no sound. Is Ainge on his Bluetooth?

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Good night to be named Wesley.

  • http://Gmail Dirty Frank

    HOLY SH?t!!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Blake is going hard.

  • http://bedotwater.bandcamp.com BE.water

    Wow @ James Harden.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Rookie Game total points record (269 in 2007) in reach.

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    you poor guys in there,kids screaming at the top of their lungs must be soothing.
    “We want Blake, we want…”

  • Matt

    does anyone what those socks are?

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Great pic on the title page, wonder what Steph was thinking while Cousins was winding up? “damn, if i graze this, he’s gonna break my hand off”, maybe?

  • JTaylor21

    Who knew that James Harden had ups like that, must be the bin laden beard that allows him to breathe high up in the air.

  • http://bedotwater.bandcamp.com BE.water

    @JTaylor – No joke. I instantly knew what James “Heatstroke” Harden was about when I saw him boom on JJ Hickson. I was a believer from that point on. If you havent seen it, I suggest you view it on youtube.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/officerbarbrady what

    Didn’t the Mavs bring some 32 year old here from France a few years ago who technically was a “rookie”? And what about Fabricio Oberto and Jorge Garbajosa?

  • http://www.slamonline.com James the Balla

    Just to let all of you know, I hate ALL of you for getting to watch the festivities! That is all.

  • barnabusb

    Typically I wouldn’t be able to watch all the extras like the celeb game and rookie game but thanks to the magic of the internets, anythiiing is possibuuuuuuuull!

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    Good to see/hear/read James the Balla around here.

  • Will Lee

    Luis scola was 28

  • TheMac

    The Frenchie was Antoine Rigaudeau,not sure he made the Rookie game. Sabonis, Rebreca or Rigaudeau for oldest in rookie game? We track the youngest in ASG why not oldest in rookie game.. It’s a game of numbers right;-)

  • TheMac

    Ohh & what was the NBA thinking about with these socks.. Damn my eyes still hurt!

  • Charles

    DaJuan bear interview seem awkward to anyone else?

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    Craig Sager turned over DMC in his post-game interview with John Wall. That was just mean.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Connie hawkins and sabonis were older off the top of head. And Juan carlos and that dude from lithuania.


    Wesley Johnson is a stud.

  • D

    i think you neglected to cover that, most importantly, Justin Bieber won the celebrity all-star MVP award.

  • JTaylor21

    Co-sign Orange, dude stood out the most to me last night along with Wall and Blair.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nick Tha Quick

    Saigs totally dissed DMC in the post-game interview while awarding JWall the MVP. It just wasn’t necessary. Wouldn’t have been surprised if DMC choked him right there and then. And I still don’t know what the hell a Justin Bieber is!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nima Zarrabi

    Spotty connection made it hard to comment during the game which was great to attend. And those nachos were great. Total destruction!

  • http://www.boogliewillaims.com Boing Dynasty

    In the span of about an hour Sager managed to piss off Melo, DMC(& prob wall), and irritate Blair about is ACL’s.


    @JTaylor21 – Agreed. The future looks bright for the Timberwolves. Rubio who?

  • r2j

    A fun game indeed. Not the greatest game but had a ton of highlights.