Live Blog: All-Star Saturday

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.


• 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…


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…

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.