Live Blog: All-Star Game 2013

by February 17, 2013

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!