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Almost every time Kobe plays at the Staples Center, its going to be entertaining. But when you mix in a little bit of LeBron, Durant, and Amare, its guaranteed to be must see TV.
The Black Mamba fought of a surging LeBron for MVP honors on his home court, leading the West to a 148-143 victory over the Eastern Conference All-Stars. The game looked all but over after the 3rd quarter, but the Miami Heat's LeBron James took over for the East in the 4th, successfully getting his team back into the game. It was LeBron's leadership that willed the East back into it, leading the way with dunks like this. You could see it in the eyes of the players as the score got closer, neither team wanted to lose. The East battled back and cut the lead to 2 with under a minute to play; but the West fended off the East's charge with some clutch shooting.
Kobe finished with 37 points and 14 rebounds in 29 minutes, shooting 14-26 from the floor. Kobe is now tied with Bob Pettit for most All-Star Game MVP's with four, and moved into 4th place all time in All-Star Game scoring. Not to be outdone by Kobe, LeBron messed around and got a triple-double scoring 29 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists while shooting 10-18 from the field. LeBron became only the second player in history to have a triple double at an All-Star game, the other being Michael Jordan.
Kevin Durant and Amare Stoudemire had really nice games as well as KD finished with 34 and Amare 29 points for their respective teams. As for the other L.A. All-Stars, Pau Gasol had 17 points and 7 boards while Blake Griffin had 8 points and 5 rebounds. In rivalry news, Kobe outscored the Celtics' big four 37-28. The complete box score can be viewed here.
The East came out of the half a bit more agressive, but couldn’t catch the West as they trail 117-100 after 3 quarters. LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Derrick Rose came out hot, combining to score the first 8 points of the 3rd quarter; effectively cutting the West’s lead of 12 down to 5. The tempo definitely increased during the period, running back and forth almost every offensive possession for both teams. Kobe had another sweet dunk, taking it to the rack on the breakaway as LeBron tried to swat it from behind a few minutes into the quarter. Dwayne Wade tweaked his right ankle with about 5:00 left in the quarter on a mid-court collision with Deron Williams, and will be done for the rest of the night.
Craig Sager tried to have an in-game interview with Carmelo Anthony, attempting to stir the pot as much as possible with all the ‘Melo-drama’ going on. Kobe jokingly interveined and would not allow him to answer any questions about being traded because ‘big brother said so." I like to see Kobe’s humorous side (because it doesn’t come out too often) and because he’s actually kind of funny.
The story of the game thus far is obviously the Black Mamba, and should be a shoe-in for MVP. Going into the 4th quarter Kobe has 34 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and an assist.
With a commanding lead by the West, I’m looking for some highlight-worthy blacktop basketball in the 4th quarter.
The Western Conference played more as a collective unit in the first half than the East, and took a 76-64 lead into halftime to prove it. Kobe Bryant lead all scorers with 21 while Chris Bosh had 12 for the East. The players seemed to settle in to the game a bit more in the second quarter, and it looked like each guy started doing what they do best; Derrick Rose was darting to the hoop, LeBron was taking it coast-to-coast for easy lay-ins, Russell Westbrook was catching some hang time, Kevin Durant was looking to score.
The fans took a moment during the second quarter to recognize Boston Celtics’ legend Bill Russell for receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, from President Obama on Tuesday. Really nice touch by the NBA to recognize Russell like that.
During halftime Craig Sager caught up with Kobe and asked him about the first half. Kobe reiterated the fact the the West “wants to win” and “prove that it is stronger” than their Eastern Conference counterparts. When Sager asked if he was striving for MVP honors for the game, Kobe acknowledged that “the fans voted us in” to the All-Star game, and that they deserve to see a high level of play at an exhibition game such as this. Im rooting for the Black Mamba to take home MVP for sure.
In celebrity news, I enjoyed Rihanna’s halftime performance, but mostly just the end when she brought Drake out to perform “What’s My Name” and Kanye West for his “All of the Lights.” The NBA certainly knows how to throw an extravagantly choreographed All-Star Game.
The stars were out in full force in Los Angeles tonight as the 60th NBA All-Star Game kicked off at the Staples Center. Even with people like Jay-Z, Spike Lee, and Mark Walburg at the game there was one celebrity in particular who made sure to steal the show early; TNT’s Charles Barkley. Today is his 48th birthday, and he made sure to remind everyone as many times as possible. TNT even went as far to get him a giant birthday cake likened to an NBA championship ring.
Lenny Kravitz and his band helped introduce both the Western and Eastern Conference All-Stars, which was interesting. Not the biggest Kravitz fan personally, but it was kind of cool to see the players come out to live music like that. The East definitely wins when it comes to the pre-game warm ups this year, the West’s black and glittery gold outfits just aren’t doing it for me (Craig Sager’s shiny purple suit isn’t doing it for me either).
I enjoyed watching all 5 of the Eastern Conference starters throwing up the baby powder LeBron style, nice to see a group of guys like that show some unity.
The game started out rather sloppy, but was had an early highlight by Kobe Bryant taking Derrick Rose baseline, darting around to the opposite side of the hoop, and slamming down an impressive two-handed dunk. Chris Bosh also had a pretty sweet throw down off of a missed shot with about 2:30 minutes to go.
Doc Rivers checked in his whole Boston Celtics group with about 6:30 left in the first quarter, and were immediately greeted by an emphatic round of booing. Teamed up with Dwight Howard, the big 4 and Superman make an impressive squad to watch. Chris Bosh led all scorers for the East with 8 points.
As for the local All-Stars, Kobe played almost all of the first quarter, going 4-7 from the floor for 11 points, while adding 2 steals. Pau Gasol had 6 points and a rebound while Blake Griffin had a couple of nice dunks, and finished the quarter with 4 points. The West leads the East 37-27.
One is an explosively talented rookie. The other is a living legend. Put them together and you have a devastating combination.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant is set to team up with in-town rival Clippers’ Blake Griffin at the Staples Center tonight for the 2011 NBA All-Star game. Kobe, Blake and the rest of the Western Conference squad should have a stiff test waiting for them in the Eastern Conference, who are stacked with the Miami Heat’s big three of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, as well as the Boston Celtics’ big four of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo. The Western All-Stars will be up to the task though, with the likes of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul, and another hometown boy in the Lakers’ Pau Gasol.
I’m predicting that the Eastern Conference will hear it’s fair share of boos tonight in the mostly pro-L.A. crowd, especially if Doc Rivers puts groups of Celtics or Heat on the floor at the same time (which I’m sure he will). Even though it is technically an exhibition game, the All-Star game matters to players and fans alike.
This is the fifth time the All-Star game has be held in Los Angeles, the last time being 2004.
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.
[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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Bay Area has skills, and the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry has the hardware to prove it. Even as he matched up against some of the most talented guards in the game during the 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Steph made sure he was going to bring that trophy home with him.
Start from left hand corner, make a layup
Dribbling pilons to other side of court
Chest pass to open cylinder
Bounce pass to open cylinder
Jump shot form top of the key
Outlet pass to open cylinder
Dribbling pilons to original side of court
Here's a brief synopsis of how it all went down:
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was up first, tearing through the first few sections, but struggled with the jumper from the top of the key. He made up for it by nailing the long outlet pass, then finished with an emphatic dunk. Curry completed the course in 34.1 seconds.
Russel Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder was up next, who finished dead last in last year's Skills Challenge and was determined to made up for it. He soared through the course with ease, finishing with a time of 30.0 seconds; taking the first round lead.
John Wall of the Washington Wizards' quickness was to be on full display, but he struggled with all 3 of the passing drills and the jump shot. He looked like he knew he was out of the competition early, finishing with a time of 39.3 seconds.
Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls must have left his quickness at home because he seemed to be simply going through the motions. He also struggled with the passing drills, but finished with a time of 35.7 seconds.
Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets' Skills Challenge was doomed form the start, missing the layup on the first section of the course. He also struggled with the jump shot, and cruised his way into last place with 42.1 second time. Maybe next time Chris.
Final Round: Steph Curry v. Russell Westbrook
Curry came out first and was firing on all cylinders, nailing his passes and his jump shot. He put some serious pressure on Westbrook as he tore through the course in 28.2 seconds.
Westbrook was up next. He zoomed through the first sections, but couldn't come up with the bounce pass, jump shot, or outlet pass. He knew half way through he couldn't catch Steph, eventually finishing in 44.2 seconds.
With the win, Curry earned teenager Karen Batani a $30,000 college scholarship through theTaco Bell Foundation's 'Graduate to Go' program, sponsered by NBA Cares and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
After the competition Curry said that the longer outlet pass is the hardest on the course, and instead of trying to look cool, he figured he "might as well go hard" and try and win the thing. Congrats Steph, you earned it buddy.
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)
The Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry is set to compete alongside some of the most talented guards in the NBA as All-Star weekend rolls on with the 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge. The level of competition will be high as Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Derrick Rose, and Chris Paul duel it out with Curry in the ultimate showcase of skills and fundamentals. For those of you unaware of how the skills challenge works, here's a brief description of the event provided by NBA.com:
Players compete in a two-round timed "obstacle course" consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The two players with the fastest times from the first round advance to the finals with the order of competition determined by inverse order of the first round times. At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.
The NBA added a new charitable aspect to the challenge this year, teaming up with NBA Cares and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to sponsor the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens 'Graduation to Go' program. Each contestant will be paired with a teen from a Southern California Boys & Girls Club, with the eventual winner receiving a $30,000 college scholarship for their student, while the other 4 students will receive a smaller education scholarship. Sounds like a good way to add some extra incentive for the players to do the best they can. Who will step their game up and take home the prize of NBA Skills Challenge champion?
For those of you out there who love solid, fundamental basketball, tonight was just not your night. For the second straight year at the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam the rookies prevailed, outlasting the sophomores 148-140. The Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins led all scorers with 33 while sporting 14 rebounds and one sweet assist off the glass for a John Wall dunk. Golden State Warriors' guard Stephen Curry had 13 points for the sophomores, going 3-9 from 3 point range while adding 8 assists. With 19 lead chances and 10 ties, the game was tight all the way to the end, but the rookies came up victorious.
Even with Cousins' dominant performance ultimately the night belonged to the Washington Wizards' John Wall, who racked up a Rookie Challenge record 22 assists while adding 12 points, taking home the MVP honors for the game. I would have liked to see something like a co-MVP with DeMarcus Cousins because he was playing incredibly well, but with assists like this, it's hard to argue against John Wall.
Playing true to form, the Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam was basically a dunk off in the first half as the rookies lead the sophomores 71-69 going into halftime. Both sides combined for a total of 22 dunks in the first half, highlighted by a sweet alley-oop from John Wall to Blake Griffin who threw it down with two hands and his head high above the rim. Dejuan Blair added to the dunking extravaganza by throwing it off the glass to himself on a breakway.
As for the bay area boys, the Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins had a huge dunk over the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry early on in the game, finishing the first half with 10 points. The loudest thing about Stephen Curry's game in the first half were probably his socks and shoes, sporting a fresh pair of blue and yellow kicks matched by his stained glass looking blue and yellow socks. His best highlight so far came from pre-game warmups, as he hit a half-court shot with ease.
Blake Griffin was also inadvertently elbowed in the nose by Dejuan Blair, much to the chagrin of the hometown crowd, but will play in the second half and it will not affect the rest of his busy All-Star weekend.
All-Star weekend is finally upon us and what better way to kick it off then the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam. The Bay area will be well represented tonight as the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry and the Sacramento Kings' DeMarcus Cousins square off in what should be an exciting matchup of a lot of talented youngsters. the Kings' Tyreke Evans was picked for the sophomore team, but pulled out due to injury. Curry and the sophomores will be coached by Steve Kerr while the rookies will be coached by Kevin McHale. Stephen was part of the winning rookie squad last year, and is looking to repeat as champion against a group of hungry rookies, led by the Los Angeles Clippers' human highlight reel, Blake Griffin.
This matchup, like the All-Star game, usually involves some serious scoring and little to no defense. I'm looking forward to seeing some ridiculous dimes and even more ridiculous dunks. One thing to note is that unlike NBA games that consist of four quarters this game will be played as two 20 minute halves. Should be an exciting night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
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.
If there was ever a reason (or 3 reasons) why Stephen Curry should be in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge at NBA All-Star weekend, then last night's Golden State Warriors versus Milwaukee Bucks game is the perfect resume.
Earlier that day in practice, Stephen Curry made a full-length trick shot that left Dorell Wright speechless...in mid interview. No green screen and "no Adobe Photoshop," says Curry. The fact that Wright could only utter, "nice," is proof that this ranks up there with some of what Wright has seen from the talents of teammates (Dwyane Wade?) in the past.
Do you believe it?
Has Curry been training for this skills challenge in the event that he gets voted in? Well, later that day against the Bucks, Curry dazzled fans at the Oracle two times. One play was a driving layup into the lane where he faked a pass to the corner in midair with his back to the basket and kissed the ball off the backboard with his right hand.The other play was a 3/4ths court alley-oop pass to a sprinting Dorell Wright who reversed jammed it, which SB Nation Bay Area editor Avinash Kunnath broke down earlier today. It reminded me of when Baron Davis tried the same thing against the Warriors with a pass to Blake Griffin, which Griffin missed. Perhaps this was inspiration for Curry and Wright?
In any case, Curry has showed off a range of skills that make him worthy of selection for the skills challenge. Go and get your vote on here!
Curry is no stranger to full-length court shots. See him here last year at the practice for the rookie-sophomore challenge making not one but TWO 3/4ths court-length shots!
Stephen Curry hits 2 FULL court shots in a row! (via jjcomet93)
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.
“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.
The 2011 NBA All-Star reserves were announced an hour ago, and Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors wasn't among them. Ellis has had a fantastic season and would probably be All-Star worthy, but it would be hard to say that he deserved it over other guards like Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs, and Deron Williams of the Utah Jazz, who were the official reserve selections. Ellis will probably only make it if one of those guards gets injured or declines to attend, including starters Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers and Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets.
In a complete non-surprise, no Sacramento Kings will be making the trip to Staples Center Sunday night (they'll be competing elsewhere though!). Although as Akis notes, Luther Head's omission is quite notable.
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