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Sunday, February 17th, 2013 at 5:05 pm  |  51 responses

Live Blog: All-Star Game 2013

The West wins a shootout and Chris Paul takes the MVP. Here’s how it went down.

by Lang Whitaker / @langwhitaker

HOUSTON — And we’re back. Today as we were running from one meeting to another, then from that thing to another thing, I realized that we’d probably spent more time on this trip bouncing around from place to place than perhaps any All-Star in history. Been a crazy day, been a crazy weekend. And we do it all for the big game tonight, which should tip off in just a few here.

• Highlight of the morning was playing in the Jordan Brand open run. Ben and I joined up with a bunch of media folk on two courts at a local YMCA. I knew most everyone, and then I realized the guy I was guarding—who was super friendly and had a great outside jumper—was none other than Trinidad James. I’m sweating, WHOOO!

• It’s 7:13 here and both teams are on the floor warming up. If I’m forced to pick an MVP candidate for tonight, I’ll go with Kobe. He’s a student of hoops history, or so he’s said, and he’s currently tied with Bob Pettit with four All-Star MVPs, and it seems like Kobe will try to take that All-Star MVP title outright. Or not. I have no idea. I’m tired.

• I think Ne-Yo is about to perform, but I don’t know because we’re basically sitting behind the stage, and right when the lights went down and it started getting loud, a huge black screen rose in front of us, blocking whatever view we had. We could look on the scoreboard, I suppose, but a circular light rig dropped from the sky directly in front of the scoreboard. There’s a TV on our table but it only shows stats of the game. So it’s basically like I’m sitting at a table at home and some is playing Ne-Yo really loudly in a different room.

• They are now introducing the starters, but we can’t see any of this either. Sorry I can’t make any jokes, guys!

• The other fun thing about this All-Star experience is that the wireless network is apparently just Daryl Morey’s home wireless network, which has been shared with every journalist in attendance via Morey’s iPhone. So it works for like 3 seconds and then cuts out for 10 minutes. The internet access here seems to have popped a molly.

• Canadian National Anthem performed in a bossa nova style by actress Gloria Reuben. Crowd goes wild halfway through when the scoreboard cuts to a shot of Jay and B courtside. When they announce that the U.S. anthem will be performed by John Legend, SLAM’s Maurice Bobb starts clapping. He seems really excited about that.

• CP3 and D-Wade take mics to halfcourt and thank the people of Houston for being “wonderful hosts.” The dude who is the in-arena host here looks exactly like Fred Armisen, which is both humorous and disconcerting.

• Gametime! Blake Griffin score the first goal, and Chris Bosh responds with a 19-footer from 20 feet.

• Dwight Howard seems to be wearing a t-shirt from JC Penney’s Young Men’s collection under his jersey.

• West out to a 12-7 lead. Find myself wishing one of these teams would make it interesting by suddenly going into a full-court trap press, or maybe a box-and-one defense, or just something interesting.

• 5 minutes in, Popovich subs in Tim Duncan and Tony Parker for Blake and Dwight.

• Best play so far: Kobe with the steal and through-the-legs dribble to maintain control, than a flip up ahead to Durant for a two hand reverse. First timeout, West leads 20-26.

• Two airballs for Bosh. People in Canada are probably loving this game.

• Before this season started, would anyone have predicted the Eastern Conference All-Star team would feature an Irving-Chandler-Deng-Noah-George lineup?

• After one, the West leads 31-26. KD, LeBron and Melo each have 7 points.

• For shoe game MVP, I think I’m going with James Harden, who’s wearing a pair of Nike’s that are fluorescent orange, like they’re made out of traffic cones.

• 7:39 to go in the second, West leads 42-41. Pop burns a timeout to talk about this.

• We get a video during the timeout where two kid reporters ask questions to the All-Stars, and one of the kids asks the players if Kevin Garnett’s head looks more like a milk dud or an M&M, and every player just cracks up. They then ask KG, and he votes for Milk Dud.

• Dwight gets a dunk and the PA systems breaks into the guitar riff from “Master of Puppets.” Not sure if we’re supposed to read anything into that or not.

• Tony Parker dribbles through Bosh’s legs, making him the second person tonight to do this. Again, Canada’s loving this game.

• Halftime! West leads 69-65. Durant has 19, Chris Paul has 9 assists.

• We missed the Alicia Keys performance at the half, because we were behind the screen and all that. People were tweeting that it perhaps wasn’t the most exciting performance. That’s really all I have to say about that.

• Asked Ben during the halftime show, what would happen if the stands all the media are sitting in collapsed during the halftime show? If we all survived but had various injuries and had be removed from the rubble, would the game continue as planned? I don’t know, but I’d probably blog about it.

• Second half! Let’s do this thang.

• Oh and apparently Bosh had three airballs in the first half.

• Duncan and KG seem to be done for the evening. I kinda hope everyone else fouls out and they have to put them back in.

• Wait, Duncan’s in.

• Instead of discussing matchups, we’re up here talking about mascots. #realjournalism

• This half has been sort of stultifying thus far. Lost of scoring, obvs, and running up and down and all that stuff, but feels like it won’t get real until there’s about 6 mins to go.

• After 3, West up 108-104. Durant with 24. CP3 has 13 and 11. D-Wade has 21 and 6.

• Fourth quarter opens with Harden sinking a long jumper and giving a half-airplane celebration. Then Holiday rips Westbrook and Russ just yanks on his jersey to stop a break and get a foul called.

• This game needs more jump balls.

• Brook Lopez just tried (and missed) a three.

• West pushes it to a 10-point lead, 8:50 to go. Spoelstra has LOST CONTROL.

• It’s never not funny when the senior dance teams go from a classic oldie to a twerk song.

• OK, now we’re at 6 minutes to go and the West is up 123-120. Now we might have a game!

• Dope alley-oop to Blake—he soared on that one. KD’s charge and dunk down the lane earlier was great, too.

• East using Bron at the 1, playing Kyrie off the ball.

• 4:24 to go, West up 127-124.

• Kobe’s trying to win the MVP for playing defense.

• Jump ball! I called for more, I got more!

• Kobe outhustles Bosh for a board, then crosses over Bosh and scores. 134-126. Then the West rips Bron and Durant gets an uncontested hammer dunk. 136-126, with 2:33 to go.

• CP3 and Noah go one-on-one and CP3 dribbles down the clock, then drains a three on Noah. George answers with a dunk. Then Noah inadvertently elbows CP3 in the nose. Then Noah hacks Griffin. This dude is going crazy out there. West leads 109-104, one minute to go. Blake to the line: Good. Miss.

• Bron turns it over, Blake gets a runaway and throws it off the glass to himself for a two-handed dunk. Bron gets blocked out of bounds and the ball clearly hits him last, but the refs are like, Ah, screw it, and they give it to the East. Bron hits one free throw to make it 142-135. Griffin misses a dunk attempt, Melo hits a three. West leads 142-138. 22 secs left.

• West is up 143-138, 20 seconds to go. Spo takes a TO to draw up a 5-point play.

• The 5-point play only nets 0 points. Game time. West wins, 143-138. Durant finishes with 30, CP finishes with 15, Melo with 26, Wade with 21.

• And the MVP…goes to…Chris Paul! Big weekend for CP3, after his West team won the Saturday Night stuff. Cliff Paul finished second in the voting.

• Aiight then. Thanks for joining us! See you soon as we wrap up all our All-Star coverage!

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  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Off to a great start. Open run was awesome. Our view and the internet less so. Presumably the curtain will come down soon?

  • http://twitter.com/ReeseReport Maurice Bobb™

    Lang is on the 1′s and 2′s tonight. Let’s get it!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Oh, and LeBron is my pick for MVP. Really going out on a limb, huh?

  • http://twitter.com/HabeebaHusain Habeeba Husain

    Anyone know why Harden didn’t welcome everyone to Houston? I didn’t expect to see CP3 and Wade.

  • http://twitter.com/ReeseReport Maurice Bobb™

    Bosh with two air balls. Really sums up his “box office” abilities…

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Great question. CP3 and Wade were the “captains” last night and I guess serving as hosts of sort. And they had a live Harden interview on the scoreboard about half an hour before the game. But I agree—having him address the full audience would have made sense.

  • http://twitter.com/HabeebaHusain Habeeba Husain

    I thought the captain thing was only for Saturday night. They usually have players from the home team talk to the crowd, hm. But thanks for the response!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Not to be all whiny media type, but the NBA wants to encourage coverage/tweets from the arena, so shouldn’t they make sure the arena’s airwaves can handle it?

  • The Philosopher

    The King.

  • http://twitter.com/HabeebaHusain Habeeba Husain

    I’m not sure now. Kyrie perhaps? That would be awesome, he’d be the youngest at 20.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    I hear you.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Chris Bosh is trying to ruin this game.

  • http://twitter.com/ReeseReport Maurice Bobb™

    Alicia Key is in the slander zone.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    No clue how Alicia looked from our view. She didn’t sound too hot with the big barrier between her and us, either.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Speaking of our view, as we tweeted earlier, here it is: https://twitter.com/SLAMonline/status/303330013510504448

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    If Rudy Gay would have been selected to the All Star team, how would that have went down? Would the East just have one more guy? Would he still get to play?

  • The Seed

    KD gunning for the MVP trophy, is about to make the West lost to the East. BOOK IT!!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Doubt you guys are seeing this at home but…Inflatable mascot time!

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Word, Lang. This weekend is all about #realjournalism

  • Adam Figman

    Can’t decide which inflatable mascot should be MVP of this game.

  • BC513

    This definitely wont go down as one of the better All-Star weekends. Almost every event has been a let down.

  • http://twitter.com/ReeseReport Maurice Bobb™

    Uncle Drew still droppin’ three-point bombs

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    I have to agree, BC. Maybe these last six minutes can save it.

  • http://twitter.com/HabeebaHusain Habeeba Husain

    I liked the Rising Stars Challenge a lot!

  • https://twitter.com/jasontichenor Mr. Wet

    Lebron could have had a decent chance at a block when Kobe drove by Bosh. He laid off because it’s an All Star game…. Kobe didn’t have the same mind set. Let’s hope that sparks some Lebron fire to make this exciting.

  • Darksaber

    Did the Slam crew fall out of grace with the League or something? Lang has been lamenting your seats in Houston since yesterday.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    Ehhhh. No defense, no atmosphere in the arena. Some cool passing/dribbling though.

  • http://twitter.com/HabeebaHusain Habeeba Husain

    Yeah I meant the passing/dribbling and dunking haha. I’m used to hearing the kids screaming constantly in the background on Friday. Tonight’s game is turning out interesting too, different.

  • Lebron > Kobrick

    The nba should be
    Embarrassed with how these refs don’t call things in tho game and how uncompetitive this game was.. PATHETIC.

  • http://twitter.com/stepfdelaghetto Stepfan Raiford
  • Initbruv

    Kobe psyched Bron out hard tonight

  • theDankerNuggets

    Kobe shutting down Lebron completely down the stretch, I don’t care what you say that’s a damn statement

  • Dagger

    When Lebron turned the corner on Kobe, Griffin was there waiting for him. Lebron had no trouble getting past the first defender, it was the hard double team that tripped him up. Smart defence, but hardly individual domination.

    But as for a statement, it might be: I know my team won’t make the playoffs, so I better get my shots in now.

  • Teddy-the-Bear

    I think I’m actually starting to outgrow All-Star weekend. That depresses me slightly.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elliot.eckley Elliot Eckley

    where was the double team when Kobe got his 2nd block on Bron? That was one-on-one and Kobe stuffed his @ss!

  • Conor

    The only points James scored were off of free throws after an out-of-bounds play which was actually off of him.

    Additionally: no teammate passed Bryant the ball at the end, offensively.

  • Conor

    * “…from free throws…”

  • Dagger

    This to me is evidence of the influence of Skip Bayless style thinking. The kind of thinking that rips the team out of team sports, so all we have to do is hype a showdown between two stars. It’s a good way to sell sneakers and drive traffic to websites, but a terrible way to analyze a game like basketball.

    Look, Kobe defended Lebron aggressively on the perimeter and forced him to drive left. Lebron used a screen to get by Kobe but then found himself facing Griffin and, I believe, Aldridge. Lebron pulled up for a midrange jumper instead of making the pass, and Kobe blocked it from behind. Lebron took it at Kobe soon thereafter and, if I remember correctly, got by him easily without a screen, but again, the bigs were waiting for him, drove him left, and forced him to take an impossible shot which Kobe blocked again. Then after the inbounds play Lebron drove again to get the foul.

    Great decisions by the defence, and necessary because the east, lacking the west’s talent, were only going to win through Lebron. But Lebron was slowed only because Kobe and the west’s bigs worked well in concert, and the floor wasn’t spaced for Lebron as it is for the Heat.

  • Dagger

    This to me is evidence of the influence of Skip Bayless style thinking. The kind of thinking that rips the team out of team sports, so all we have to do is hype a showdown between two stars. It’s a good way to sell sneakers and drive traffic to websites, but a terrible way to analyze a game like basketball.

    Look, Kobe defended Lebron aggressively on the perimeter and forced him to drive left. Lebron used a screen to get by Kobe but then found himself facing Griffin and, I believe, Aldridge. Lebron pulled up for a midrange jumper instead of making the pass, and Kobe blocked it from behind. Lebron took it at Kobe soon thereafter and, if I remember correctly, got by him easily without a screen, but again, the bigs were waiting for him, drove him left, and forced him to take an impossible shot which Kobe blocked again. Then after the inbounds play Lebron drove again to get the foul.

    Great decisions by the defence, and necessary because the east, lacking the west’s talent, were only going to win through Lebron. But Lebron was slowed only because Kobe and the west’s bigs worked well in concert, and the floor wasn’t spaced for Lebron as it is for the Heat.

  • shutup

    ” Chris Bosh responds with a 19-footer from 20 feet.”….LMFAOOOOOOO

  • theDankerNuggets

    yeah I normally wouldn’t look so much into a couple plays of a one-on-one matchup, but under the circumstances (all-star game, Jordan’s comments about these two, Kobe clearly attempting to make a statement, Lebron then clearly trying to go back at him), it was pretty obvious this was not a normal situation, they were challenging each other.
    The first play there was a screen that’s why Lebron got by him so easily. If i’m not mistaken though, the second block it was Kobe alone that forced Lebron left and smothered him when he went up.
    When you have Melo, Kyrie, Wade, and Bosh on the floor don’t tell me that line-up is worse at spacing the floor than the Heat. This was Kobe’s defense that was making Lebron struggle, he was forcing Lebron left completely which is clearly a weakness of Lebron’s. And maybe the slides were cheating a little early but I don’t care Bron was still forced by Kobe into situations where he couldn’t even get a shot off, or find an open teammate.

  • Happy

    Same. It was just so boring.

  • Caboose

    Yeah Kobe wasn’t fouling LeBron during that whole drive by holding his arm or anything. CLEAN BLOCK!

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk

    yeah, it says, Kobe has nothing else to play for.

  • http://twitter.com/BEdotwater Orlando Coolridge

    He really wasn’t though. Dont know what you saw, but it looked like clean body contact the whole drive.

  • Caboose

    He had his left forearm riding LeBron from about the 3 point line. That’s a foul.

  • LakeShow

    A dumb foul. One we all b*tch about and say “let em play”, but yeah, technically speaking… A foul.

  • E.Yellowhorn#23

    Very lackluster…..But was nice to Melo put on for Ny….Since Flight could’.t… And Durant should of got Co-Mvp with Paul…But whatever… Clippers finally got there first allstar mvp ever..I assume…And the look on Kings face when Mamba mutomboed his ass was priceless…..Lol Next lakers/heat machup will be one to look forward…..P.s. Either K.D. or Melo for season MVP…….Would be magnificent….

  • http://slamonline.com/ Ben Osborne

    They weren’t bad as far as distance from the court…but they were behind the performance space. But no, we’re still in good with the League. Had 4 people credentialed without a problem which was great.

  • http://twitter.com/BEdotwater Orlando Coolridge

    I guess you could say that, but I wouldnt call that foul. That’s tough D to me. But I can see where you can see a foul. I’ve experienced that type of handcheck numerous times, It’s rarely called. LeBron is stronger than that foul affecting him, IMO.

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