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Saturday, February 25th, 2012 at 7:55 pm  |  75 responses

Live Blog: All-Star Saturday

Live from O-Town…

by Lang Whitaker / @langwhitaker
by Maurice Bobb / @reecereport

This is Lang, and we’re back live at Amway Center for All-Star Saturday Night. Maurice Bobb and I are high above courtside, perhaps a bit dehyrated but nevertheless! We are excited for dunks, threes, shooting stars, and all that stuff. We’ll be blogging live throughout the night. I’ll bat leadoff tonight, and we begin with the Shooting Stars competition in just a bit…

• Those of us in the arena are introduced to our in-arena hosts for the evening, Rob Nice and Scotty B. They tell us about tonight’s entertainment, which will include the winners of “The Sing-Off,” as well as the Orlando Magic’s drum line. The drummers take the stage and start drumming, very loudly. Makes me realize if I ever have a kid, I will encourage them to be active in the arts. Except for drumming, which really must be the loudest of the arts.

SHOOTING STARS

• OK, it’s FINALLY time for the Haier Shooting Stars competition. The teams are Orlando, Houston, New York, and your defending champs, Atlanta. When the teams run onto the court, I stand and shout at the top of my lungs: “ATL SHAWTY!” This causes all the other media members sitting nearby to recoil, and a few shake their heads in disgust. I have to be proud, though, because this is the only NBA-related championship the Hawks have won since Josh Smith won the Dunk Contest in 2005. With the injury to Joe Johnson, the “active” Hawk in this competition is Jerry Stackhouse, who has played in 13 games for a total of 82 minutes this season. I guess he was the lone Hawk available tonight? Or maybe Billy Knight put this Atlanta team together?

• (I didn’t really yell “ATL SHAWTY.” But I totally will if Atlanta repeats.)

• Not sure of the name of the woman who sang the Canadian National Anthem, but the US anthem was performed by Javier Colon, winner of “The Voice.” He accompanied himself on the acoustic guitar, and did a really great job. No snark. Credit due.

• Right now there are 12 people all warming up on the same basket, while the other basket is totally unused. Kenny Smith and Steve Smith are working on their around-the-back dribbles. Wonder if Kenny’s looking over his shoulder for Justin Timberlake?

• MUTOMBO IS IN THE HOUSE! Really excited you guys, if only for his post-dunk reactions.

• OK, as our in-arena host Scotty B. just noted, East Coast is in the house, West Coast is in the house. Thankfully, tonight we can all get along. Here we go.

• We start with shots of Wolf Blitzer, Bill Russell, Chris Brown, and then Mary J. Blige, who is looking distractedly through her purse.

• The Texas team is Kenny Smith, Sophia Young and Chandler Parsons
Team New York: Allan Houston, Cappie Pondexter, Landry Fields
Team Orlando: Dennis Scott, Marie Ferdinand-Harris and Jameer Nelson
And of course, YOUR defending champs from Atlanta, Steve Smith, Lindsey Harding and Jerry Stackhouse

• Team Texas starts well, then slows down from the baseline (Young) and wing (Parsons), and after about 10 seconds, Kenny Smith drills a halfcourt shot. Time: 42.7

• New York does pretty well all-around, and when they get to the halfcourt shot, Allan Houston nails a jumper from halfcourt to finish at 38.7.

• Hometown faves Team Orlando take the floor. It takes them a while to get to the halfcourt shot — you know it’s not good when the announcer says, “Approaching 60 seconds…” They finish at 1:04 and are eliminated.

• ATL. Looking good until they get to the halfcourt shot, and things fall apart. They finish at 55.3 and are eliminated. I’m not sure I even care about this competition any more. Team Atlanta obviously rested on their laurels since the last Shooting Stars title.

• FINALS! Team Texas again struggles from the baseline and wing, though Kenny Smith, again, drains the halfcourt shot to finish at 47.6. Team New York follows, gets to the halfcourt shot pretty quickly, and Allan Houston pops the halfcourt shot at 37.3 (and throws in a post-shot pose) to take the title. Congrats, Team New York.

And with that, I’m gonna hand this liveblog off to Maurice Bobb…

SKILLS COMPETITION

What better way to start off this competition than a diss by Classic Barkley?  The Chuckster just dashed Russell Westbrook’s hope of getting the W with this line: “I think it’s going to be tough for Russell Westbrook to win the Skills Challenge. He’s going to have to pass the ball.”  Ouch.  I think Russy has a shot.  Don’t count out Deron Williams, he’s most likely still miffed about taking the heat on Jeremy Lin’s rise.  My dinero is on Kyrie Irving.  He balled out in yesterday’s Rookie game and took home the MVP, so a win here will be a nice weekend for the No. 1 draft pick.  If he does win, hopefully we won’t hear from Dan Gilbert.  And please, no comic sans jokes.

They’re explaining the rules of the competition on the jumbotron and there’s literally zero interest from the fans on it.  They must be gassy.

Rajon Rondo up first.  Let’s see if he’s still pissed about not originally making the All Star team.

All of press row just made a jump shot joke about Rondo.  All of us.

Next up, Kyrie Irving.

Rondo finished with a time of 32.8 seconds.

Kyrie gets a time of 42.2.  A full 10 seconds slower.

Deron up next.

Deron is cooking right now.  He has the record for this event so no surprise there.  He finishes with the best time: 28.3 seconds.

Westbrook is up next.  Can he shut up Chuck?

They just announced the D League MVPs.  No one recognized them.  No one.

Fan Cam in effect.  This crowd is dead like they’re constipated or on Maalox.

Westbrook can pass, Chuck.  Finishes with time of 33.8, eliminating Irving.

Tony Parker up next.  Needs time of 33.8 to continue.

Second best time of contest: 29.2.  He eliminates Westbrook that fast.

We have a tie!  John Wall ties Rondo at 32.8.  What happens now?  A duel to the death?

Tie breaker time.  Rondo up first.

Rondo shaves off 5 seconds off his time.  He’s hitting jumpers, people.  Jumpers.

Wall won’t beat Rondo.  He’s out.

So here’s your final three: Williams, Rondo and Parker.

They’re showing the promo video for the three point contest.  I think that will be the highlight of the night.  Easy.

Looks like Rondo will go first.

What’s with all the fake glasses the players are wearing?  Wade and LeBron have them on.

Rondo finishes with 34.6 seconds.

The Frenchman up next.

Parker bests Rondo.  D Will up next.

He won’t beat Parker’s time.  He finishes with 41.4.  Parker wins it.

Next up we have the Three Point Competition.  Miami has two contestants, which may explain why Wade and LBJ are here.  I really miss that Larry Bird type of moment when he went in the locker room and asked who’s coming in second.  This would be a good look for Kevin Love if he wins it.

They just talked about Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 point feat in the L.  Kobe came close with 81 points, but do you think that record will ever be beat?  Players are just too good these days to let someone go off for a century worth of points.

Showing the NBA Cares video on the jumbotron.  Really good initiative by the league.  Love to see the players giving back.

That Ortiz kid had swag with the arms crossed.  The service members get the loudest applause.  Well deserved.

This ‘Say Word’ bit with Blake Griffin and Chris Paul was hilarious!  They actually got them all in time.

Did you know Michael Jordan has the record for the lowest score in the Three Point contest?  He had 5 points.

Lots of people rooting for hometown fav, Ryan Anderson.

More people piling into the arena.  They can smell the dunk contest now, but will it be worth it?

Cheryl Miller interviewing defending champ James Jones right now.

Here’s the order:

Mario Chalmers

Anthony Morrow

Kevin Durant

Ryan Anderson

James Jones

Faint chants of “Rio” from the crowd.

Chalmers looking pretty good out there.

Chalmers racks up 18 points.  Not a bad start.

Love up next.

Love started out slow, but catches up with ‘Rio for 18.

Nice Drazen Petrovic tribute by Morrow.

Morrow couldn’t finish last rack, gets 14 points.  Could advance if rest of field shoots terribly.

Craig Hodges holds record for most points in a round: 25 points.

Hodges will see if he still has it!

Still dope that they had Hodges do a round.

They just showed 50 Cent and Floyd Mayweather sitting together.

Durant up next.

Durant takes the lead with 20 points to take the lead.  Morrow eliminated.  No more dope Petrovic jersey sightings tonight.

Anderson’s money ball falls short.  He’s out with 17 points.  No hometown love.

Defending champ Jones up next.

He called that last shot!

He finishes with 22 points.

Tie breaker between Love and ‘Rio.

Love wins tie breaker with 5.  Only one Heat player remains.  Guess Wade and LBJ can stop being Switzerland and root for JJ.

This mascot dance-off is wild.  Benny the Bull is killin’ it.

Love up first for the final round.

He finishes with 16 points.

Durant up next.

Another tie? Great.

JJ doesn’t repeat.  He’s dunzo with 12 points.

Love up first to break the tie.

Love finishes with 17.  Can other Kevin take it?

And Kevin Love takes it with 17.

Next up, the SLAM Dunk with Lang…

DUNK CONTEST
OK, it’s Lang, and I’m back to close this thing out with the Dunk Contest.

• But first! Flo Rida is performing. Not sure what song this is, but involves asking the audience to put their hands up several times.

• Flo Rida finishes, and the scoreboard transforms into a bunch of different screens, I guess is how to describe it, with a bunch of great dunk contest clips displayed.

• We meet our contestants: Chase Budinger, Jeremy Evans, Paul George, Derrick Williams. If Derrick wins this we could have two SLAM Diarists win tonight.

• There is an announcement about a dunk force meter. I’m not sure what that’s about, although I’ve long pushed for a strongest dunk contest, although I’m not sure it should work in concert with a style-judged contest.

• FWIW, I’m going with Jeremy Evans. Saw him in Vegas this summer and he was jumping out of the gym, then talked to him and he was the nicest kid in the world. I’m glad they included him.

• Kenny Smith is on the floor, acting as hype man, introducing the celebrities everywhere. He goes over to ask P-Diddy a question, and Diddy takes the mic from Kenny and shouts out to the crowd a few times.

• Diddy says his favorite bball movie is “White Men Can’t Jump,” and on cue Chase Budinger enters stage left, dressed like Billy Hoyle, then takes Diddy out onto the floor. Diddy stands just outside the charge line, and Budinger leaps over him, catches the oop from Diddy and dunks it home. Pretty nice dunk, especially in slo mo.

• Jeremy Evans has some sort of camera attached to his headband. He puts home a simple alley-oop to himself and films it on a camera attached to his headband. Thus far, Budinger is winning in the battle of gimmicks.

• Paul George brings out Roy Hibbert and Dahntay Jones. He positions them in front of the rim and misses the oop from Jones. Tries again and misses again. Third time he forgets the oop and brings it himself, and easily makes it over the 7-2 Hibbert and tomahawks it.

• Not sure how we decide a winner here — nobody’s keeping score. though in some ways, maybe that’s the best idea, since it’s just a show anyway.

• Derrick Williams enters to “California Love,” riding on the back of a motorcycle driven by the T-Wolves mascot. They park the motorcycle under the basket, and Williams just misses a windmill over the motorcycle. He misses a second time. Third time’s the charm.

• Things jumped over thus far: Diddy, a motorcycle, Dantay Jones and Roy Hibbert.

• Kevin Hart is introduced and he says he’s a little frustrated with the dunk contest. He does a few minutes of schtick and has everyone cracking up. Thinking Kevin Hart needs to host this thing next year.

• OK, round two. Chase Budinger goes first. He looks a lot better without the hat. Budinger comes in from the wing and misses a windmill, then makes the second one. So he did what Derrick Williams did but without a motorcycle.

• Evans puts Gordon Hayward in a chair, and Hayward tosses two balls into the air, which Evans catches and dunks one at a time. I think that might have been the most impressive thus far.

• Paul George next. Guys bring in a few rows of spotlights. The arena lights are dimmed. The spotlights are black lights…it’s Tron! George does a reverse windmill with blacklights. Odd, but it was a great dunk.

• Derrick Williams and Ricky Rubio! Ricky passes it off the side of the backboard, and Williams does a 360 off the oop. Pretty awesome.

• And I think that might be it? Are there more dunks? OK, yes, there’s one more round.

• Chase Budinger is going to recreate the Ced Ceballos blindfolded dunk. If I was going to retro a dunk, it probably wouldn’t be this one. Budinger misses the first one, and Kenny asks the crowd to count him down. Budinger doesn’t use the same amount of steps, but he does make a reverse dunk.

• Jeremy Evans has Kevin Hart in a postman outfit, and he delivers a Karl Malone jersey. Evans does the Mailman dunk over Kevin Hart.

• Paul George with a tribute dunk to Larry Bird. He misses a bunch of tries, so it’s more like a tribute to Birdman. (Brrrrrrr!) He finally gets one down, and we see he put a smiling Larry Bird sticker on the backboard, too.

• Derrick Williams tries to throw it off the backboard, pass it through his legs, and dunk it, but he can’t complete the dunk. Rubio comes out to throw the alley-oop, which doesn’t make it any easier. With 30 seconds left, the crowd gets involved and cheers, and with the clock running down he finally just dunks one home to get a make.

• And the winner is announced…Jeremy Evans. I guess his two-ball dunk where he dunked over Hayward was nice. Altogether, I missed the voting dunk by dunk, which meant guys knew what they needed with each dunk.

So that’s it. We’re out for the night. See ya back here tomorrow to liveblog the All-Star Game.

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  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    What up Lang & Reese happy all star Saturday to y’all hopefully it’s more climactic then last year.

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    Glad to have you on board nbk. Who you got for three point and slam dunk?

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    Thanks, nbk. I hope a gospel choir sings during the dunk contest again.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Ryan Anderson and Jeremy Evans (since he’s been campaigning all year, I figure he thought of some awesome stuff along the way). Who y’all got?
    .
    .
    Lang, we can only hope. Either a gospel choir or wu tang.

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    That national anthem was nice!

  • AdamD

    The contests better be good tonight, it’s already 1.15am here in Ireland and i’m meant to be up in the morning. Can’t miss it though.

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    I have Jeremy winning the dunk and I want Kevin Love to win the three ball show.

  • AQWORD

    Let’s do this !! Hopefully Jones will bring it back to back in the 3point

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    TNT did another great job with that video mash up.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I think Jerry Stackhouse should be introduced as a radio host more then a player on the Hawks.

  • AQWORD

    KENNY SMITH STILL GOT IT !!

  • AQWORD

    ALAN HUSTON WIT THE SILK !

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    Yeah, Allan Houston still has a silky smooth J. Knicks need him now…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    lol Lang got people callin him unprofessional on twitter for openly rooting for Atlanta. don’t people realize the nba is FANtastic

  • AQWORD

    KENNY THE JET SMITH !

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    So that’s finally out of the way…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    was not referring to Lang leaving. hahha was referring to that shooting stars challenge or whatever it’s called.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Love the SLAM teamwork. I’ve been running around all day but happy to sit down and watch some Skeeels. *Tim Hardaway voice*

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    And the threes and dunks, of course.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Does it take as long for the people at the competition to sit through those first two events as it takes the people at home….

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @nbk: That dude was joking, actually.

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    It goes by pretty fast nbk

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Oh lol my bad Lang.
    .
    It didn’t seem like it took that long when i was at it in Phoenix. until the dunk contest, then it crawled.

  • AdamD

    Tony Parker wins. I’m aware that the skills challenge means very little but how good is Tony Parker? I mean not just this year, he’s been so consistent for it seems like ages. Anyone think he could be a hall of famer?

  • http://www.borntocompete.com Money$hot

    Tony Parker still has skills

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    You’re right, Tony Parker has really stepped up for the Spurs. Well deserved nod for the All Star team. He’s at least in convo for this year’s MVP.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    He has a good chance. Winning a finals MVP and multiple rings seems to have worked pretty well for guys in the past.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The fun begins.

  • http://www.slamonline.com figman

    i’ve got morrow here

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Mario Chalmers got a watery release

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The Drazen Petrovic jersey is fire.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Adam Figman

    *deletes previous comment*

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I think he may have too much movement in his shot to do really well in this competition.

  • AdamD

    Nice James Jones.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    There goes my prediction. I have no clue who wins this

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    Jones got this. The way he called that last money ball was dopeness.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    The three-point contest has been great so far. I’m rolling with James Jones, only because he seems so angry I’m afraid to pick against him.

  • AQWORD

    NBK Yeah Wattery like doo doo. :-)

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Kevin Love is first up in the last round though right? He just got done shooting…. that normally works out pretty well.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    James Jones went at that last rack like the 04 Lakers went at the Pistons.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    They didn’t shoot great, but I think it’s pretty dope that contest came down to two of the best players in the game in Love and Durant.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I’ve got Paul George in the dunk contest. Mo? Lang?

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    I got Jeremy Evans.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Great, Shaq has joined the commenting crew as if anything could make this anymore painful. Reggie and Shaq?

  • N Singh

    is there any live link to watch this??

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Oh sorry Maurice picked before. And he was right on the threes.

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    I don’t understand the rules anymore. That Budinger dunk was dope though. So was my man Paul’s! Roy Hibbert is 7-2 y’all.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    that was crazy. This seems a little too gimmicky though.

  • http://Www.dimemag.com Royal

    Yup so far , so bad for the dunk contest

  • AD

    jeremy evans should go home after that dunk…. smh

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Chase Budinger elicits Kenny Smith to say “same dunk without the motorcycle” to be echoed by the two worst play by play guys ever.

  • AdamD

    That was sick!

  • http://slamonline.com Ben Osborne

    Paul George is the man.

  • http://slamonline.com Maurice Bobb

    That glow in the dark dunk prob looked ill on TV

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Couldn’t see it that well. He should have used a glow in the dark ball.

  • http://www.borntocompete.com Money$hot

    I Kenny Smith would stfu!

  • http://www.borntocompete.com Money$hot

    Alright alright alright…………… this dunk contest sucks!!!!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Jeremy Evans is disappointing me to the fullest of his abilities right now.

  • http://Www.dimemag.com Royal

    Will this be the worst dunk contest of all time?

  • AD

    wow…

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    It’s up there. this was terribly gimmicky

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    The public should never be counted on to vote for the right person. Boston George had better all-around dunks than Evans.

  • robb

    I hoped for a props free dunk contest and we got the most props ever. Dunkers had no star power, George was disappointing, the Jet was obnoxious as usual, man that f*cking thing sucked. Too bad Lebron won’t ever compete because his presence alone would make things interesting. The dunk contest needs more star power. Or maybe NBA players shouldn’t compete anymore. Bring on Guy Dupuy, T-Dub, all those guys and make something fun out of the contest. Underwhelming to say the least.

  • OTB

    Lang, I love your writing, but you look sloppy as hell on NBATV, especially compared to DA and the other host. Gotta invest in some better suits and a better style, bro. Great seeing you on TV though.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Hey thanks Maurice and Lang. And least somethig kept me entertained

  • JSelby

    Not the worst (2010), but too gimicky. Commentary was so funny that it was enjoyable as hell.

  • shutup

    Tony Parker is a definite hall of famer, as for MVP he got some serious work ahead of him this season but its possible. If the Heat stumble I can see him getting it.

  • shutup

    Dunk contest was weak, the double oop was really the only good dunk, 3-point contest was ugly in the later rounds. Tony Parker stepped it up with an impressive win. Shooting stars was fun too watch, Allan Houston brought me back to the spike lee commercial, “Get Low, by Waymun” LMAO

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca niQ

    Yea, that was a weak dunk contest. But that Rubio side-backboard pass to Derrick Williams for a 360 was DOPE! Don’t think we’ve seen that one before!

  • alexcrook

    three good dunks, but seriously the OTHER dunk contest between dobbs and kasper was DOPE!

  • Justin G.

    The commentary was definitely the highlight of the night, entertainment wise. Three really good dunks out of nine? Terrible. And no judges is dumb. America screws it up almost every time when they get to vote on things. See half of the American Idol shows for proof. Barkley’s comment about Westbrook and passing was hilarious

  • http://www.nba.com VanCityBBall

    am i the only one who called tony parker to win the skills comp?

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Only one I’ve seen

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    I called it on twitter last night. I knew it was between him or d.will. also the dunk contest was GOD AWFUL.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    It was horrible. In the end, having Reggie and Shaq on the play by play was poetic justice.

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