2011 NBA All-Star Game: West Defeats East Behind MVP Kobe Bryant

Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors was not selected as a 2011 NBA All-Star reserve for the Western Conference. Should he have made it?

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NBA Dunk Contest Videos: Watch Blake Griffin Soar Over Cars, Serge Ibaka Does His Best Coming to America Impression

If you didn't catch the dunk contest but want to now, here you go.  Some of the most creative dunks in a while and JaVale McGee officially will enter NBA history for dunking three basketballs and also dunking on two different hoops. Blake Griffin jumped over a car...or just the hood. But All-Star weekend had its first church choir singing at half-court to Blake Griffin's dunk.  The kinds of dunks they pulled off rival Vince Carter's 2000 dunk contest win, but without the efficiency. At any rate, the NBA should invite both Blake Griffin and JaVale McGee next year, just to see what kind of craziness they can put together. Perhaps JaVale McGee will dunk on 3 hoops? Or maybe Griffin will actually jump OVER the actual roof of the car? Anyway, sorry for the spoilers. Catch the broadcast with all the random commentary below. Beware, the commentary is a bit borderline R-rated


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2011 NBA Dunk Contest: JaVale McGee Dunks Two Balls On Two Hoops At 12 Feet

[J MCGEE NBA ALLSTAR DUNK CONTEST 2011 DOUBLE DUNK (via casual5500)]

This might have been one of the most absurd dunks I have ever seen. But the creativity of it and sheer athletic and physical tools necessary for this kind of dunk makes it one of the craziest of all time. JaVale McGee has redeemed himself in my eyes. It did take him a few tries, but this alone should have given him the crown as this year's best dunk and dunker in the NBA. JaVale McGee dunked two basketballs on TWO SEPARATE RIMS set at 12 feet. 

For those that aren't familiar with McGee's portfolio, a simple search on youtube.com will give you a sample of why he's one of the more intriguing players in the league for his height and athleticism, but also for his bonehead plays. But for one night, his absurdity on the offensive end actually was what catapulted him into the dunk contest finals with TNT commentators Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, and guest commentator Dwight Howard on his jock. And myself included. 

(video via BleacherReport)

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2011 NBA Dunk Contest: Awkward Commentary And Bad Shoes

If the botched dunk attempts were a little awkward to witness, seeing all participants try repeatedly to finish their jams to a silent and listless crowd waiting for amazing to happen, some of the commentary by NBA legends caught on camera during the contest made the event a little more strange.

Darryl Dawkins, dunk coach for DeMar DeRozan, when interviewed by Cheryl Miller about what tricks he had up his sleeve, responded “We’re going to rattle some people’s balls.” Miller laughed and so did Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, and Dwight Howard. It was hard to hear what came after that, but Dawkins quickly ended the conversation by saying “We’re not going to go there. We’re not going there.” His green snake-skin suit was intense, Carl Sager style.

Next, when Serge Ibaka was ready to try his first dunk attempt, Charles Barkley said “he has a great body.” Barkley and Miller talked a bit more about Ibaka’s “great body,” which we as fans couldn’t see because, well, it’s hidden under his clothes. But we’ll just take Barkley’s word for it.

In the final round, JaVale McGee was lacing up his five different Peak sneakers (he had replaced his shoes each round). The camera zoomed in on them and Barkley asked “What kind of shoes are those?” Reggie Miller responded, “Those are the Chinese brand Peaks.” Barkley, full of zingers, asked sarcastically, “What are those the Chinese version of PF Flyers?” For those that don’t know what PF Flyers are, here ya go:

Purchaseable for less than $50 on Zappos.com. They look just like Peaks, but for less!

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2011 NBA Dunk Contest Final Round: Blake Griffin Wins!

I think JaVale McGee was cheated. McGee had the creativity and execution, hands down. But clearly Blake Griffin had to win, right? Hometown hero makes for a great story.

Here’s briefly how it went down. Both of their first dunks of this final round between Griffin and McGee were somewhat ordinary. McGee had a physically difficult dunk to execute, but problematically, it only looked challenging in slow-mo. Otherwise, it just looked like an ordinary MJ cradle the ball reverse slam. Still impressive, but not jump out your seat like an NBA player at the All-Star festivities good.

Griffin, however, won it, probably, with showmanship. With coach Kenny Smith bringing out an all-black choir singing "I Believe I Can Fly" by R.Kelly, Griffin jumped over a car with Baron Davis tossing him an alleyoop from INSIDE of it. Actually, Davis was popping out the sunroof. I would agree with Charles Barkley’s criticism. It really wasn’t that difficult given that Griffin angled his run to jump over the hood versus over the roof of the entire car. Though, I’m glad he didn’t try to jump over the hood because it looked like he was going to injure himself badly if he tried. 

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2011 NBA Dunk Contest: JaVale McGee Juggles Three Basketballs in Round 2

The second round of the dunk contest followed similarly to the first round: lots of creativity, but requiring multiples takes. There’s no “One-take Hov’s” in this bunch.

But like T-Pain and Kanye West, which autotune technology allows them to express themselves in ways their bodies can’t without it, these players had wild ideas that their bodies just couldn’t quite execute perfectly to their imagination.

Highlights

Blake Griffin might have pulled off the impossible: Baron Davis tossing an alley-oop off the side of the backboard, which Griffin, getting a running start, would catch, do a 360, then reverse jam it. He couldn’t do it, but the possibility alone was enough for fans, who were squealing after his first botched attempt.

JaVale McGee dunked three balls. You heard me: THREE! With two in hand, John Wall tossed the third. Took him a few attempts, but it was pretty impressive, if not a little absurd.

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2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Round 1: Blake Griffin Dazzles, JaVale McGee Goes Space Age

The NBA Slam Dunk contest didn’t disappoint when it came to creativity, but execution was what ultimately plagued what otherwise looked to be one of the better dunk contests in a while. But this year, we saw flair, some ridiculous athleticism, and huge entertainment value ala And 1 Mix-tape showmanship.

First round

DeMar DeRozan pays homage to JR Rider’s East Bay Funk Dunk by having teammate Amir Johnson throw him an alley-oop off the side of the backboard, which DeRozan then jumped, corralled the ball, and put it through his legs and slammed it. Only problem is that it took him about 10 times to do it. He missed the first three attempts and it was all bad after that. Amir Johnson, at one point, threw a terrible pass. Another time, Amir Johnson forgot to throw the ball altogether.

Serge Ibaka, aka Air Congo, came out straight up “Coming to America” Zamunda-style! With cheerleaders in tow, carrying huge flags with “Africa” printed on them, Air Congo was definitely trying to get the fans behind him. Congo took flight on his first attempt doing his best Dr. J impression. The big man jumped from at the free throw line and made it! But he didn’t quite get the height of Dr. J and Michael Jordan.

JaVale McGee tried to dunk two basketball on TWO hoops set at 12 feet high! But like DeRozan, the amount of times it took him to complete the feat made it seem a little less spectacular.

Blake Griffin did what looked like a Vince Carter impression with a mini-tomahawk, 360 two handed cocked back slam. Surprisingly, his two missed attempts were actually more impressive than the one he made because he not only got higher but his jams were WAY more aggressive. Kenny Smith, his coach, did his best And 1 hype man which is needed when participants are bricking tons of attempts.

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2011 NBA Three Point Contest: Miami Heat James Jones Beats Boston Celtic Duo

The Miami Heat have not been able to beat the Boston Celtics this season, at all. But for one night, the Heat can rightfully claim that they are better 3-point shooters.

Miami Heat reserve swingman James Jones, whose one job is to stand at the corners and chuck threes, won the Footlocker 3-point shootout, beating Paul Pierce (18) and Ray Allen (15) by scoring 20 points.

Ray Allen, who recently shattered Reggie Miller’s NBA record of 3-pointers made, struggled in the final round, making only 5 after the first two racks. Not quite what we expected from him. From the look of his mom’s face (who the camera kept following), Mama Allen was also surprised.

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2011 NBA Three Point Contest: Dorell Wright Eliminated 1st Round By Paul Pierce, Reigning Champion

Sadness.

The opportunity to have two Warriors winning two All-Star Weekend festivities quickly came to an end.

Soon after Stephen Curry won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Dorell Wright scored 11 points in the first round of the three point shoot out. With only the top 3 of the 6 contestants moving onto the second round, final contestant of the first round Paul Pierce narrowly made it on the last 2-point “money ball” which gave him a one point advantage over Wright.

Wright came out hot scoring 4 points in the first rack alone. With commentator Reggie Miller talking up Wright’s “shooter’s stroke,” saying that there are “no knuckle balls here,” Wright was soon jinxed and struggled until he made it to the final rack.

But its impressive though that any Warrior was featured in this contest given what a poor perimeter shooting team they have been since Run TMC.

Congrats Wright on your 4th place finish! He made more than Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Cleveland Cavalier’s Daniel Gibson.

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2011 NBA All-Star Weekend: JaVale McGee To Go "Space-Age"

On tonight's TNT broadcast of the NBA All-Star festivities, Chris Webber, JaVale McGee's dunk contest 'coach,' said that JaVale McGee has some "space-age" tricks up his sleeve. Based off a sampling of dunk failures and miscues, a close friend of mine think McGee is closer to being more "space cadet" than "space-age."

No doubt JaVale McGee is one of the most athletically "space-age" players out there. Standing at 7'0 but with the agility of a wing player, McGee has all the talent to be a super star. Until you see him battling teammate Andray Blatche for the lead in head-scratching offensive problems. Whether it's dribbling in traffic or showboating in a blowout (where the Wizards are losing, mind you), McGee most likely will NOT disappoint tonight. Which McGee do you think will show up today? Apparently McGee has been influenced by the dunk master Michael Jordan. Of his two impressions, which McGee dunk should he try tonight?

JaVale McGee misses a free throw line dunk (via outsidethenba)

JaVale McGee Rock da Cradle Dunk(2010 Summer League) (via JWO35)


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2011 NBA All-Star Game: Dorell Wright Chosen For Foot Locker Three Point Contest

While there is no Golden State Warriors in the All-Star game, at least there are some notable Warriors starters in other events that weekend. Dorell Wright has been chosen to participate in the Foot Locker Three Point Contest, as reported by Warriors.com. Wright, who leads the league in 3-pointers made (more than Ray Allen!), will battle Boston Celtic’s Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant, Cleveland Cavaliers' Daniel Cole. I mean Daniel Gibson and the Miami Heat’s James Jones.

Wright joins a long list of Warriors who have previously starred in All-Star weekend festivities if not the actual All-Star game itself. Who could forget Jason Richardson’s dunk contest wins, Stephen Curry’s near win at the 3-point shootout last year, and, of course, Gilbert Arena’s Rookie-Sophomore game MVP award.

But what are Wright’s odds of winning?

I would say pretty slim. Unlike Ray Allen and Kevin Durant who both have a rapid fire stroke, great for timed events like this, Wright seems to take a while to cock the ball back up over his head, then with a pretty and thorough follow-through. It’s nice to look at, but it’s not exactly very quick. On top of that, Wright is mostly a spot-up shooter who hits from the corners or from 45 degree angle from the hoop. Having to move around the whole court feels like it might hurt his chances. Maybe Curry can just toss some passes to him instead?

Either way, it should be interesting to see how he matches up.

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Monta Ellis Has Eyes On Wins, Not Individual Achievements

When asked about how he felt about not being chosen as an All-Star reserve, Monta Ellis cooly and quietly responded that the playoffs were important, but also:

"It's over now. I just plan on playing basketball."

Not a bad answer. Monta's been saying this repeatedly over the last two weeks since he hit two last-second shots that lead to Warrior victories over the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings. When pressed about whether he would be ready to go if they needed an injury replacement, he just said "I'm gonna stay away from that question (cracking a smile)."

Monta's saying all the right things, which follows similarly to what Raymond Felton was reported as saying today about how he would react if he did or didn't get voted in: 

"If they call me, great. I'll be the happiest man there is. If they don't, I'll still be the happiest man there is."

Guards are classy. And Monta seems to show that winning is everything. Carlos Boozer on the other hand seems pretty intent on making it known that his individual achievements should be recognized. Even though he says he "won't be disappointed," his humbleness doesn't seem to come off so sincere. While Monta Ellis may or may not deserve the selection, at least he's taking the high road, seeing the bigger picture.

 


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Monta Ellis All-Star Snub, Stephen Curry Continues Warriors Tradition

When asked what he was doing last time the Warriors had an all-sta(Latrell Sprewell, 1997), Monta Ellis responded:

“I was 12. What I was doing was playing in mud and eating mud pies at that time.”

For Monta, publicly at least, an All-Star selection holds little value compared to the value of wins. His witty remarks about mud pies, perhaps, captures his sentiment. But there’s a puncher’s chance that Monta may still get selected if Utah Jazz PG Deron Williams isn’t ready to go. But Monta Ellis is no stranger to All-Star weekend festivities as he made a name for himself on the NBA scene several years back as the person all the sophomore guards in the rookie-sophomore challenge wanted to throw alley-oops to. I believe all 28 of his points came off dunks.

Perhaps Stephen Curry, like Monta, will continue the tradition of Warriors lighting up the Rookie-Sophomore challenge this year. And before all of these three was the trio of exciting and brash sophomores Troy Murphy, Gilbert Arenas (MVP of the game), and Jason Richardson, with the infamous pass to himself off Carlos Boozer’s head. Last season, Curry and Anthony Morrow, quietly, scored 14 and 15 points respectively. Curry scored mostly off jumpers, but I’m guessing we can expect him to do a lot more ball handling and no-look passing. What does this say about the Warriors? Maybe they’re pretty good at drafting guards.

Stephen Curry is currently a finalist in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. NBA.com compiled a nice video of some of Curry’s nicest plays this season. Though, I find the juxtaposition between the term “skills,” denoting the top athletes in the NBA showcasing their amazing discipline to their craft, and the fast food brand “Taco Bell” to be a little jarring. Nothing about Taco Bell’s unhealthy menu equates with this idea of some of the greatest athletes in the world. Anyway, you can vote as much as you like, so get your vote on! And please, no Derek Fisher. Unless there is a flopping challenge, which is a skill unto itself, then please vote for Fisher.

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