Dirk eats

Shooting stars? Guards shoot, big men dunk. That's the formula, right? Well, Saturday Night's Shooting Stars Competition gave us all a little lesson in New Math and - as Reggie Miller put it - set back shooting 100 years. Team Detroit (Chauncy Billups, WNBA Player X, Bill Laimbeer) were the defending champs, but they got ousted in the first round, and the finals pitted guard-heavy Team Chicago (Chris Duhon, WNBA Player Y, B.J. Armstrong) against center-laden Team San Antonio (Tim Duncan, WNBA Player Z, David Robinson). So naturally the team with two seven-footers won the thing, thanks to a top-of-the-key three from Duncan and a half court shot from The Admiral, who looks better in retirement than most guys look while playing. Seeing my man David made watching this travesty of shooting a little less painful.

They've got skills. Well, some of them: The Skills Challenge turned into a somewhat exciting battle of one-upsmanship between two emerging superstar point guards, with Deron Williams setting a new even record (25.5 seconds) to upset Chris Paul in the finals. However, Jason Kidd and Dwyane Wade just embarrassed themselves. Kidd's woeful lack of shooting touch was on display when he clunked all five three-point attempts and got tossed after round one with a time of 39.7 seconds. Wade, though...Wade had a full-on ego-ectomy. After electing not to even practice the course, the two-time defending Skills Competition champion lost his dribble out of bounds, botched four straight jumpers before just giving up and flinging the fifth at the hoop, and then missed two layups before ending the round with a score of 53.9 seconds...a time even Stephen Hawking could have beaten.

Steve Nash has no rhythm: Nash admitted before the Three-Point Shootout that the only reason he was taking part in the event was because the Collective Bargaining Agreement says he has to. (Said Nash: "They hold me to it every year.") So naturally he went out and performed like a man who didn't care and wanted it to all be over as quickly as possible, hitting only eight of 25 shots and scoring a lowly nine points. Maybe that'll teach David Stern not to force unwilling former MVPs to compete in meaningless contests they couldn't care less about.

The dunk contest requires dunks, right? Okay, let me open by saying that I have a serious case of the man love for Dwight Howard, and I freaked out when he pulled out the Superman cape for his first dunk. But...he didn't dunk that ball, he just sort of threw it in. Of course, everybody was so juiced about the cape - even David Stern was standing and yelling - that nobody seemed to notice that Howard failed to slam it home. I was also a little bummed that the Superman routine and Gerald Green's cupcake dunk got used up in the first round, because everything after that felt a little anticlimactic.

Gerald Green lost his invitation to planet Lovetron: I can't believe I forgot about this one. Thanks to flohtingpoint for the reminder: "While all of this was great stuff, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, came close to Gerald Green taking off his shoes, signing them for Darryl Dawkins, then having Chocolate Thunder bat them off the table when Gerald basically performed the same dunk twice in a row." You know, while I was watching that dunk, I thought: You know, doing a running dunk in socks would be pretty difficult. Unfortunately for Green, the dunk may indeed have been difficult, but it just looked stupid.

The Bibby Trade: So...Mike Bibby finally gets traded...to the Hawks?! Excuse me for totally not caring. I guess it improves the Hawks and all, but it's probably only the difference between not making the playoffs and first-round sweep. I was really hoping the Bibster would end up in Cleveland. And so was LeBron James.

The All-Star Game script remains unchanged: This is the way almost every All-Star Game seems to go: Ridiculously sloppy first quarter, followed by one team running up a big lead in the second quarter, followed by the other team staging a rally in the third quarter, followed by a fairly competitive fourth quarter (except for the occasional blowout). And this year's game followed that time-tested script to a T.

Three-point shooting: There were a lot of airballs last night despite the fact that no one was playing any defense until the fourth quarter.

Freethrow shooting: I understand that it's just the All-Star game and the level of focus and concentration maybe isn't as high as usual. But the FT shooting numbers were a Shaq-like 57 percent (8-for-14) for the West and a Chris Dudley-like 42 percent (6-for-14) for the East.

Yao Ming: Not only did the big man attempt a couple threes - the second of which was a step-back airball after the game had started to get serious - he was posterized at least two or three times by Howard. Maybe it's just me, but Yao always looks like he's moving in slow motion, especially when he's surrounded by All-Stars.

Kobe Bryant: He played only 2:52 in the first quarter and then sat out the remainder of the game to rest his pinkie finger. And yes, those are some of the lamest words ever strung together in the English language. My real disappointment, though, was the fact that he couldn't take part in the Three-Point Shootout, because then at least there would have been one score lower than Steve's.

Allen Iverson: The Answer scored only 7 points (3-for-7) and committed 6 turnovers. I wouldn't have even bothered to mention him, except that he apparently jumped everybody's case during halftime about taking the game seriously and playing to win. Come on, A.I., we're talking about All-Star Games!

Tim Duncan: Does this man ever smile? TD didn't crack one after the Shooting Stars Competition, and his face didn't so much as move during the ASG intros, despite the fact that his fellow starters were hamming it up for the camera. Okay, fine, Tim. We all get that you don't want to be there. But you don't have to act like your puppy just died, okay?

Dirk Nowitzki: It was a rough night for the reigning regular season MVP. He airballed a three, shot 5-for-14, got posterized by LeBron, and then got his junk stuffed by Dwyane Wade.

Chris Paul: I have nothing bad to say about this kid. He was huge (16 points, 14 assists) and probably would have won the MVP if his team could have pulled it out. Which would have rocked the house, since he was playing at home.

Rasheed Wallace: The one man who wanted to be at the All-Star Game less than Tim Duncan. He might have been dancing a little jig during the intros, but the expression on his face said, "I'm about to choke a bitch." 'Sheed then went out and hoisted out three or four left-handed threes, only, just like Inigo Montoya, he's not left-handed.

Chauncy Billups: I cringe every time somebody calls him Mr. Big Shot. Last night's line: 3-for-10 from the field, 0-for-6 from three. Can't we just call him Mr. Occasionally Hits A Tough Shot?

Jason Kidd: It was awkward to watch him in a New Jersey Nets uniform during the Skills Competition, and it was even more awkward to listen to trade updates throughout the All-Star game...including when David Aldridge tried to bug Dirk about it, and Dirk was afraid to even comment on it.

LeBron James: He had a great night put up some big-time numbers - 27 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists - but he didn't deserve the MVP award. Ray Allen did. And you could kind of see it in LeBron's face when he was accepting the trophy from David Stern. But he cut through the Western Conference All-Stars like a knife through butter and crammed one down into Nowitzki's face, which immediately became the signature play of the game. And that's what the fans were thinking about while casting their MVP votes, I'm sure.

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Blogger Shrugz said...
MVP voting started in the 4th quarter before ray allen hit those shots LOL that's probably why allen didn't win

Blogger Wade Word said...
How could you do a write-up of all-star wknd and not mention DH's self-alley, then left-hand backboard carom-to-right-hand dunk. That was some of the illest stuff ive seen in a while.
"He blew out the candle, Chuck! C'mon, Chuck, he blew out the candle!"

Blogger Babyshoes said...
Hooray, Brandon Roy didn't make the worst of list! I love being a Blazer fan.
Oh, and what's the point of being a starter on the West? Most of the bench players got more court time than the starters! Yao-- 13 minutes? Of course, if I were Byron Scott I'd bench Carmelo for Dirk too (sorry, but it's true).

Blogger Unknown said...
Was it just me, or did everyone else die of laughter when the cupcake was being... very... slowly... and... carefully... placed on the back of the rim, like they were performing open heart surgery on a four star general. Then the blank look on the face while lighting the candle was just too much, like you just asked the kid to climb up a ladder and recite the preamble to the constitution instead of light a stupid cupcake.

Am I also the only one who found the cupcake dunk to be monumentally stupid? This beats Cebollos' blind dunk for "dumbest dunk that people greatly and irrationally overreacted to. Now I know what you're thinking, hang, all this leads me to.....

Superman "dunk"... Yea, usually a "dunk" involved the placing of ones hand on the rim. When dunking was outlawed, this is basically what bigmen would do, cept w/out looking like 7 foot tall jackasses in a childs costume. Technically, this dunk should kill the cupcake dunk in the level of overreaction for no damned good reason, but if you watch the tape of it all and look at the crowd, you'd see that the whole damned place was suffering from Stockholm's Syndrome, and the Superman "dunk" just sealed the deal. Lets face it, after that dunk Dwight could have come out in the next round, smashed the ball off Dr. J's face (ala Tim Morris on Aboya) and walked into the locker room and still won the contest. People were that caught up in it...

While all of this was great stuff, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, came close to Gerald Green taking off his shoes, signing them for Darryl Dawkins, then having Chocolate Thunder bat them off the table when Gerald basically performed the same dunk twice in a row.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
To be fair to Mamba (!), Kobe was forced to play by league officials. I think I read it on Truehoop that Byron Scott had orders from the top to play Kobe for a couple meaningless minutes. Now of course, I had no problem with him sitting on the bench because it allowed some time for Brandon Roy to shine. Which I should mention, he clocked the most time for the All-Star West team and (according to Yahoo) was the top performer.

Did anybody else feel like Jamario Moon got panicky when he saw Green's dunk and rushed the long distance dunk ahead of schedule? I was really hoping that he would make it to the second round. Also on Jamario: What the hell? Wasn't this the guy that had all the crazy hype surrounding him? Mr Youtube himself?

Blogger Shrugz said...
actually rudy gay started the youtube garbage and I'm pretty sure the league wanted him to make a preview tape. like all the other dunkers did
too bad for jamario here's an interview from youtube(Cabbie style)


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Hola! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger LooseChange said...
while watching the game last night and cringing at the uniforms, i realized what makes them so offensive. they're like mullets - business in the front, party in the back, and all together just WRONG.

anyway, on behalf of everyone that has to suffer through work on a holiday, thanks for the entertainment!

Blogger Alex(andra) Cavnar said...
pfft they don't call him King James for nothing!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Why is everyone ragging on Dwight? Good grief, you could feel his giddy excitement the moment he walked into the building. He got people excited about something as mundane as dunking a basketball. So what if people were caught up in the moment? It was fun to watch him grinning like a fool and definitely worth it to see him clutching that trophy to his chest.

Blogger bob said...
Dirk needs AT LEAST three mentions in the All-Star Worst of the Weekend. He really should've skipped the stupid thing to y'know, prepare a welcome party for Jason Kidd or console Harris and try to persuade Mavs management not to trade for Mr. Crusty Can't Shoot. That Skills Challenge thing was ridiculous, Harris could've won it.

At least he didn't get something like, five in the 3Pt contest, considering how he's shot from beyond the arc this season.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't quite understand the hatred for the superman dunk. According to Wikipedia a dunk is defined as: "...a type of basketball shot that is performed when a player jumps in the air and manually powers the ball downward through the basket with one or both of his hands." Dwight manually powered the ball through the goal, so technically it was still a dunk (hence the term "throw down" which is exactly what he did). Wikipedia never lies.

Blogger starang said...
I'm with you on the wikipedia comment. Wikipedia never lies, and I'm never wrong...so the dunk was great. The cape, however, was not.

There are only so many ways to dunk it. I'm waiting for someone to come out and like this video clip, entertain me with a good laugh:


Anonymous Anonymous said...
wnba player x, was pretty hot, actually...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
wnba player x was super hot. and her name is becky hammon, i think.

it should be noted that sheed made at least 1 left handed three, AND played tough defense throughout the entire game.

rip and chauncey sucked. sucked hard. painfully hard. i love them and the way they play, but the all-star game was not meant for players like them.

Blogger abstract8000 said...
A dunk is defined as something like "thrusting the ball downward through the hoop." and that's exactly what dwight did. i would argue that doing what he did is even more difficult than dunking normal.