McDonald’s Game Live Blog!
Read how the East team’s thrilling win went down.
by Ben Osborne
What’s up everyone? Greetings from Rick Ross Country. It is hot down here, but it feels pretty good after the hella long winter we’ve had in NYC. I missed the Slam dunk contest Monday night, and apparently missed quite a show from Avery Bradley (note: covered by Farmer Jones in SLAM 128…on sale and unveiled here Friday!). Came into town yesterday and attended media day. Missed a sad day in the office as KING, a mag I helped start, folded. I don’t know too many details yet but I’m very sorry for all the great and talented people that worked on the mag; I’ll holler at all you guys when I’m back in New York.
Anyway, the media time was cool. Very relaxed atmosphere, and despite this grump’s uninformed blasting of virtually all things high-school basketball in the Herald, I’m betting he didn’t talk to any of the kids. As always, I found every player I spoke to pleasant and good for quotes…what was I asking them about? Primarily one of the wildest SLAM cover stories ever, but you’re going to have to wait a five weeks to see that. The kid I was happiest to meet was Xavier Henry, our esteemed diarist. Ryan has raved about him all year but I had never met him. My mag work was pretty focused on the aforementioned cover story; web-wise I was all set to write the breaking news of Lance Stephenson’s college announcement, but as you might have read here yesterday, said announcement never came. Lance and his pops are saying they want to take their time, which is what they’ve told SLAM as well, though I have to believe the Coach Cal-to-Kentucky move is a big factor. Coach Cal’s defection could have all sorts of domino effects, recruiting wise, including our man Xavier maybe reconsidering Kansas, which would make Lance and Kansas reconsider each other. In any event, the most newsworthy event that might have come out of media day didn’t happen. Instead it was just a nice chance to meet most of the best high school players in the country and listen to all sorts of speculation about the Calipari business. As Ryan pointed out to me, Andy Katz’ take on Cal is probably as good as anyone’s. My only gripe is the confusion his recruits are facing. As long as they can get released from Memphis and go where they please, it’s all good.
That’s enough of that. It’s now about 7 pm and the girls All-Americans are playing up their game. The East currently leads, 48-45, with DeNesha Stallworth having 11 points.
I’ll be back with a girls’ final and then I’ll get cranking on the boys game shortly after the 8 pm tip. Thanks for stopping by…
At the 12-minute timeout of the girls game they did a video presentation on Kelsey Bone, the McDonald’s Player of the Year. She’s a legit center out of the Houston area with nice back-to-the-basket moves and is by far the best uncommitted girls player in the country. She was scheduled to announce her college choice tonight, during the game. Well, they just made it public—Kelsey Bone will be attending South Carolina. I like it; always nice when a girl picks somewhere other than UConn or Tennessee.
Alonzo Mourning, a big part of this game and this community, is in the building. Looking dignified as always. West girls now up 67-63 with 1:03 left, and even if you have cable you probably aren’t watching this one—it’s on ESPNU and I’m not sure I know a single person that gets that channel.
With West leading 69-66 and seconds left, East’s Kelly Fairs is fouled shooting a three! She makes first two FTs, but misses third. West gets rebound, and it’s a wrap. West wins, 69-68. Co-MVPs: from West, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt (in SLAM 128!), and from East, Skylar Diggins (in SLAM 126; even when it comes to High School girls’ hoops, we can pick ‘em!). TRP had 10 points and 10 rebounds while Diggins was game leading scorer with 18 points.
30 minutes to boys tip-off…
BTW, I’m in third row behind baseline. Very close, which is great, but somewhat blocked by basket stanchion. Missing parts of some nice pay-up line dunks. You guys probably know this, but game is at BankUnited Center on campus of University of Miami as opposed to the Heat’s American Airlines Arena downtown. Really nice facility, tasteful U green and orange. But only holds 8000 and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get filled tonight. I’m mostly going to blame Miami sports fans, who probably don’t know how to support a game like this cause there’s no bandwagon to be riding. Any chance eboy is here? I gotta email him and see. Might be the first SLAM ed to meet that cat in person.
Serious band from Miami Norland HS in the building. They’re accompanying the team intros, led off by U of Florida signeee Boynton. Announcer is still saying players such as DeMarcus Cousins are attending “Memphis.” Shouldn’t all Memphis commits be announced as “undecided”?
There’s a guy in the stands who looks like a 350-pound Joe Dumars, which is funny because, with all due respect, sometimes Joe looks like he’s heading in that direction. Five minutes to tip…
Dunk champ Avery Bradley gets things started with a nice put-back. Lance answers for East. 2-2.
No, Renardo Sidney’s full-arm sleeve doesn’t look any better up close. Bradley is really lively thus far. Maalik Wayns, aka Aggrey Sam’s favorite player, wuth a nice and-one. 7-2, East.
UNC commit John Henson with a couple huge dunks for West, and more Bradley. Derrick Favors scores a couple baskets for East. Ball comes into press row about three feet from me. Almost knocked a girl’s meal over. BTW, press food is NOT Mickey D’s, for better or worse. All good though cause I had my fast food fix this afternoon. Pollo Tropical, what! 13-8, East at first TV timeout. “All-American” cheerleaders (not sure how one gets such a designation) have the floor.
Keith “Tiny” Gallon, who is anything but, calmly knocks down a top-of-key 3 for the West. Cousins answers for East. Then Gallon throws down a huge leaning jam. 15-13, East.
Not really feeling the long-sleeve shirt on Tommy Mason-Griffin either. Rapped with him awhile yesterday though, and he’s a cool kid. Nice dunk by Mason Plumlee. Bet y’all are shocked he’s going to Duke.
The “East-West” designations are hella confusing. Peyton Siva, from Seattle, is on East? Tiny Gallon, from Oak Hill, is on West? Along with Wally Judge from Maryland? I’m sure it’s all about fair talent distribution but it makes it hard to look up and down quickly and not get confused. 23-18 West at second timeout, behind Gallon’s quick 7 points.
Xavier with high-flying flush for West. Dante Taylor answers with lay-in. Xavier for 3. I believe they call that “inside-outside” game. Pretty high-quality play so far, I’d say. 30-26, West.
Dominic Cheek 3 for East. Then a breakaway dunk. Nova looks good for next year, huh?
Bradley 3 for West. He’s really playing well. Renardo Sidney dunk. Big kid. 37-34, West. Another TV timeout. Time for Wizard of Westwood to give a statement via videoboard.
Neatly segueing with our comment section, Gallon just drew a foul inside and hit 2 FTs. He’s got 9 points. In a total irony, I was in Louisville for this game two years ago, when Blake Griffin was one of least noticeable players on the floor. That was the Mike Beasley show.
Michael Snaer just tried a bananas dunk. Not sure how an L.A. kid ends up at Florida State, but he’s gonna be fresh there. Too many fouls being called. Earlier flow has dissipated a bit. 40-35, West, with East’s Boynton on the line for 3 FTs.
Cousins just made a double-punk dunk with disturbing ease.
More Gallon. 11 points, a lot of dunks, a lot of nice cheers from crowd. Mentioned by no one pregame, he is now MVP favorite, esp with his West team up by 7, 46-39.
Snaer’s shooting form looks a little like mine. Sad to say, this is not usually a good thing.
“6-0″ Peyton Siva, who doesn’t look it, with a sweet two-handed jam for East.
Mason-Griffin for 3. Boynton for 2. Snaer sick follow. That did not look like anything I’ve ever done. Lot of fast-breaking now. Snaer dunk. Timeout. 57-50, West.
Looks like arena is about 90% full. Eboy emailed me that he couldn’t get tix, but I’m guessing he didn’t try all that hard. I don’t think this could be called a sellout. Not a terribly lively crowd, either, but they’re digging Tiny Gallon.
Lance doesn’t look like he was Born Ready to play this game. Totally understandable if dude is a little worn out, though.
One of the Wears just tried a nice backdoor pass to Bradley. At least they’re (meaning the Wear twins) both on same team.
Dominic Cheeck with another 3, while his statemate (word?) goes to line for 2 and hits both. East has closed to 55-57; in related news, Tiny Gallon is on West bench.
Mason Plumlee, who is pretty smooth with ball, looks like he could be a third Wear brother.
Avery Bradley looks like he likes to dunk. Late burst led by him takes West into locker room with a 63-55 lead. Time for bathroom/water, etc. See you guys in about 15, and many thanks for joining us tonight.
Copped a free PowerAde and a cute $5 tee for my daughter at halftime.
Back in seat and have the East coming at me this half. They’re off to a good start, too, sparked by Siva and Boynton. Already scored eight straight points to tie score at 63.
Boynton is heating up, as are the Gator fans in the building. Speaking of local schools, with UF and FSU represented, shouldn’t Durand Scott have been granted an invite, for obvious reasons?
Oh, belated “celeb” report. Halftime was sorely lacking in that department, unless I missed some local celebs that I just didn’t recognize. Biggest “star” I saw was Kenny Anderson. Granted, when I was 13 years old you couldn’t have named me a bigger star than Mr. Chibbs, but that was a long time ago.
Timeout with 15:32 left. East has stormed back and now leads 76-73. Cousins has 5 second-half points and 14 over all.
Favors from Lance for East. Bradley 3 for West. Lance drive for East. Action warming up again. 82-77, East.
Lance to Favors again. Maybe the former should go to GTech?! Lay-in for Lance.
John Henson flushes off sweet feed from one of the Wears for West. Ryan Kelly answers with dunk for East. And then dunks again. 90-83, East, and West CALLS timeout (only first or second called T.O. of game, and it’s needed. East has taken momentum). Of course, runs are particularly short-lived in All-Star games because of all the substitutions. This East bunch (Lance, Dexter Strickland, Kelly, Favors and Wayns) probably only has another minute or two.
West comes out of timeout and gets a dunk and then block from Henson, followed by nice lay-in at other end by Avery Bradley.
They just welcomed Kenny to the game on videoboard, and didn’t mention anyone else. Kenny might be it.
Henson is absurdly skinny but clearly loaded with potential. Still growing, in weight if not height, so he’s a player to watch at UNC. He has helped cut East lead back to 3, 90-87.
New lineups in, as promised.
Dominic Cheek big dunk for East. The other Wear scores for West.
There’s a DJ Khaled lookalike on his cell right near me. Just a lookalike, though. Also, saw Carlos Valderrama in my hotel this afternoon. That was fresh. Lang, hope that makes up for me poor eating choices.
Michael Snaer destroys rim. Wow. Renardo Sidney playing some de facto point guard for West. West fun to watch right now but still down by 5, 93-96.
“DJ Khaled” is cheering exclusively for Dominic Cheek.
Comments slowing down, but I’m not. Neither is game action. Game heading well into the 100s while still being pretty hotly contested.
They just shouted out Penny Hardaway for making a big donation to local Ronald McDonald House, but I don’t see him in the actual arena. Talk about dudes I looked up to as a teen…
East comes out of 8-minute timeout with nice set play that leads to Favors’ dunk.
X hits a 3 at other end for West. He’s got a quiet 11.
Peyton Siva with 360 layup. Highlight of game so far, esp since he was pretty closely defended. Wow.
Lance! Quit leaving your feet and not knowing what to do with the ball.
Henson put back for West…and we’re tied at 100. Can’t ask for much more than that.
Tiny’s back with an and-one dunk. FT is good. West up, 103-100. Cheek answers with put-back.
Those old West stalwarts, Bradley and Gallon, score to push West up by four. Lance answers with alley-oop and East calls quick T.O. 107-105, West.
Yikes. Attendance announced at 5981. That’s pretty disappointing.
They just introduced the people in charge of running next year’s game, which will be played in Columbus, OH. There should be a bigger crowd at that game than this one on the strength of Jared Sullinger alone.
2:42 left. 2-point game. “Swagger Like Us” playing on loudspeakers. Let’s go.
Another Lance lay-in ties score. And another one. Dude has 10 second-half points.
But then X hits a 3 in Lance’s face. 110-109, West.
Lance has five fouls. That’s classic.
Favors’ dunk gives East the lead. 111-110 with 30 ticks left.
And again, 113-110.
West does not call T.O….Plumlee tries a 3 at buzzer that misses. It’s over!
113-110 East. Favors ended with a powerful 19. MVP?
I’ll let you know in a second before heading to the press conference.
Favors makes the smart Joey Whelan look even smarter (read early comments) by winning MVP with 19 and 8. Those points were key, too.
Gallon was star of first half but didn’t do much in second.
Fun game. I’ll try to post some final thoughts in about 20 minutes.
Thanks again for reading.
Got some decent quotes for my mag write-up. Tiny Gallon definitely has great personality. Said Derrick Favors was tough to guard on game-winning bucket because “he’s a sneaky dude.”
Kids seem ready to move on to their next event. I am, too.
Fun couple days in Miami. See y’all back in New York…and on Slamonline.