Another All-Star weekend behind us. It was a mix of good and bad, but not necessarily the good and the bad I was expecting. It was also Kobe‘s last All-Star weekend, which was kinda sad, but not as sad as Michael‘s last All-Star in 2003. At least this is how I felt. BTW, do you remember that back then in 2003 Kobe was the one who denied us the ultimate Hollywood ending to the game, with Michael’s game-winner-which-turned-out-to-be-not-a-game-winner because Kobe sank those free throws that forced a second overtime? What a stupid question, of course you remember.
It’s weird, I still remember Kobe’s first All-Star game back in 1998, when he was called “Jordan’s Heir” something like 500,000 times. It was during the 1998 Winter Olympics, the first Olympic games that I saw properly (I remember bits from Atlanta 1996). How can this be his last All-Star game?! God damn it, we’re getting old.
Anyway, let’s see what we had in Toronto. This is what we’ll cover in the first part. The second part of this summary will concentrate on the updates that underwent the all-time rankings of the various statistical categories. I have a strong déjà-vu to last year…
Rookies and Sophomores game
And speaking of bad things… Well, we weren’t speaking of bad things but let’s speak of them now: Wow was this a waste of time or what. I intended to watch this to catch a glimpse of the likes of Kristaps Porzingis and Karl-Anthony Towns. And… well… I did catch a glimpse of them, but the game itself was sooo bad that it was really un-watchable. I suffered through one half of this abominational bullshit before turning off the TV.
It was so fucking bad. Zero defense, even less than in the actual All-Star game. Everybody just dunking and throwing threes. And I don’t want to see dunks and threes, we have whole contests for these things!
And as for Porzingis and Towns, well I did see some of the things they are capable of and they looked good (and, er, played good), but this was not the best stage to watch them in action… Anyway, when the first ridiculous (and not in a good way like “Kobe’s 81-points game was just ridiculous!”) first half ended with USA leading 88-79 after only 20 minutes (WTF) I decided that this was enough bullshit for today and turned off the TV. A reminder to 2017 Michael: DON’T WATCH THE GODDAMN ROOKIES AND SOPHOMORES GAME!!!
Ok, Day 2. This was actually something that I didn’t expect to interest me much, but boy was I wrong. I don’t know why but for some reason I thought that the guards and the bigmen are competing among themselves, and only in the competition itself I realized that a final between the winner of each group is supposed to take place.
Draymond Green was my favorite among the bigmen (wow Michael, you’re so original), and I was surprised to see him eliminated in the first round by Towns. I was also surprised and much amused to see Boogie Cousins make a classic Shaqtin A Fool moment, when he fumbled the ball while dribbling it at the start of the course.
Isaiah Thomas won the guards bracket, which I was pleased to see, but in the final I supported Towns, and it was so funny to see him compete with the tiny Thomas, who is only 5cm taller than me. I was sure Isaiah would own Towns, but the final turned out to be really intriguing and the final stretch was soooooo good. Hey, that’s what she said!
The bigmen’s celebration over Town’s victory were even better than the victory itself. I’m sure they were indeed sort of proud that the victory went to one of them and not to one of them “little men”. Awesome camaraderie :-).
On the contrast, I was really expecting this one. But it turned out to be a bit less interesting than expected. True, there was some awesome drama in the first round, when Steph needed to make ALL of his several last shots in order to qualify for the final, and he made it big time, like a boss.
In the final I wanted to see a showdown between Steph and Klay, but Steph underperformed, as much as you can call a score of 23 “underperformance”. Well, in Steph’s case – you can. Klay was awesome, achieving a score of 27 and equaling Steph’s record from last year (well, out of 34, it’s not THE record in terms of %), taking his time on the last rack and making sure each ball was falling in before continuing to the next one. But damn his release is so beautiful to watch! And he is so quick. too. He came to that last rack with something like 50 seconds remaining on the timer… I shit you not. Well, maybe just a little.
So all in all, another title for the Splash Brothers, but I hope Steph will reclaim this title in next year’s contest. BTW, the thing that is so great with the three-point contest is that the biggest relevant names are actually taking part in it, unlike the next event…
Well, another surprise! I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary from it, perhaps another one-man show from Zach LaVine. I certainly didn’t expect the bestest dunk contest I ever saw live. Because you see, I didn’t get to see live the 1988 dunk contest between Michael and Dominique. Iron curtain, yo. And, well, I was one year old.
Before you ask – yes, I too believe Aaron Gordon was robbed. Zach was great, he was awesome. But Gordon was colossal. His “sitting in the air” dunk was otherworldly, perhaps the greatest single dunk I have ever seen. And his last dunk received only a 47?! How in the name of fuck?! Zach’s last dunk got an undeserved “between-the-legs-from-the-free-throw-line” title, even though it was a step inside the free throw line. It was awesome, don’t get me wrong, but Gordon’s dunks were more creative and their difficulty level was higher. I mean, that last one, when he put the ball behind his hand and THEN lowered it between his legs?! I mean, what?! How can that dunk not get a 50?! Just like Iguodala in 2006 and JaVale in 2011 – Gordon was robbed. For me he is the real MVP of the contest.
BTW, is there like some implicit contest between the players who come to watch the contest as to who dresses in the most ridiculous way? Because it certainly seems like there is… I find it difficult to pick just one winner.
The main event. And it sucked majorly. Too many damn points. I mean, 196-173?! Are you fucking kidding me?! This game broke all the ridiculousness records of the past few years. I thought that last year’s game featured no defense? Well, thankfully the 2016 All-Star came along to put things in the correct proportions.
The things that I did enjoy:
– Watching Kobe play in the All-Star for the last time. His first field goal was magical, with the ball spinning for ever on the rim…
– Some nice alley-oops, especially between Wade and LeBron. Damn I miss their Miami partnership.
– Sting performing at halftime and sporting a Dumbledore-esque beard.
– Steph’s half-court shot to finish the game, Nothing but net, That guy is ridiculous (see? here it’s used in a good way).
– The West defending Wilt Chamberlain‘s single-game record for most points. Thank the flying spaghetti monster that Paul George didn’t break it. I don’t have any sentiments for Wilt, but to break it in this bullshit game is blasphemy.
Westbrook was chosen as the game’s MVP, which is ok, I guess. I didn’t have any real objections to that. He was one of several worthy candidates (CP3, and Steph being the others).
And that’s pretty much it. My enjoyment of the All-Star game continues to decline every year. I’m not going as far as saying that I’ll stop watching it, I like the concept too much, and the chance to see all the best players share the same court is too appealing. But god damn, I can’t be the only one feeling this way.
It didn’t seem that high-scoring of a game to me until late 2nd quarter, when I was doing the math for on-pace score. Definitely too laid back of an AS game, but I still enjoyed it.
If Westbrook didn’t deserve MVP, then who did? He had the best stats, but it’s more than stats. He was the only player playing hard consistently, and only played 22 minutes. Paul was fine, but definitely not deserving of MVP. Curry just jacked up some ridiculous 3’s for the most part and ended up making several, but certainly didn’t have the impact that Westbrook did. Westbrook completely took over at times, and put the game on ice in the 2nd half. George thankfully didn’t set the scoring record. He played well and shot great from wide-open looks, but wasn’t better than Westbrook, though he wins it if East wins obviously.
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Just to make it clear, I have no complaints about Russ winning the MVP 🙂
PG13 would have definitely won the MVP had the East won the game. They had such a nice lead early on, I don’t understand how they lost by so many points… Pity LeBron didn’t get to play at all in the 4th quarter.
True, the MVP always comes from the winning team, regardless if he was the most-deserving player or not. I was surprised to see James play so little. But, with the way he was playing, I’m glad, since he was trying a lot of stupid stuff and struggling. I also hope I never see Green or Aldridge in an AS game again. They were terrible.
It looked like the East was going to do well, but the West AS are just that much better and eventually were way too much, even given the farcical nature of this year’s game. The high point of the game was the opening tip, for goodness sake.
I also think the fact that each team only featured one true center(Drummond and Cousins) and both were reserves attributed to less defensive presence overall. Durant and James were the starting centers. Oh, I guess Pau as well. He seems like a PF more to me.