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NBA All-Star Game

February 25, 2012 by staff 

NBA All-Star Game, All-Star weekend is All About The Dunks: Blake Griffin had the score of the night during the Rising Stars Challenge and here John Wall of the Washington Wizards gets in on the act too.
This season’s All-Star Weekend is the strangest one the NBA has put on in years. Because of the lockout, the 2011-2012 season isn’t even two months old and this weekend’s events are shoehorned in an already crowded schedule filled with back-to-back games.

Because the NBA is holding All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Magic center Dwight Howard has become, in All-Star game tradition, the de facto host for a city he’s determined to be traded from, which is like being asked to hold a neighborhood party while you’re packing for a big move. Heck, the All-Star Game’s biggest draw this year wasn’t voted into the All-Star Game and will not even participate in the Dunk Contest.

That player, of course, would be New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin who did however participate in the Rising Stars Challenge which kicked off Friday night’s All-Star festivities, unless you count the Celebrity Game, which I don’t. I have boycotted watching even the “highlights” of the NBA’s Celebrity Game until they actually recruit celebrities. This year’s game MVP was something called a Kevin Hart, whose horror show of a filmography says he’s appeared in the most painfully unfunny movies of the last decade. Well, last year the game’s MVP was Justin BIeber, so I suppose it could have been worse.

The good thing about the NBA All-Star Weekend starting with the Celebrity Game is that after watching D-List celebrities and washed up former ballplayers make a mockery of the game, you’re a lot more eager to watch talent, young players competing against each other. The Rising Stars Challenge was a revamped version of the Rookies/Sophomores Game, instead of pitting the first-year and second-year players against each other, former superstar players and current TNTanlysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal handpicked teams that were a mix of both players.

While these young players might, at least right now, lack the name recognition of Sunday’s true All-Star Game participants, there’s a case to be made that they were a more fun group to watch. Not only did the team feature buzz-friendly, headline grabbers like Jeremy Lin, Ricky Rubio and Blake Griffin (also an All-Star Game starter), but it also liberated great players like DeMarcus Cousins, John Wall and Kyrie Irving from their middling teams and subpar supporting casts.

Unfortunately, the Rising Stars Challenge shared the same problems with most All-Star exhibition games. There was no way to even fake rooting interest in the game, unless you bet on the game (which means you’re likely a problem gambler) or really hate either Barkley or Shaq (which is understandable). Plus, because the players didn’t even attempt to play defense, the game offered no true drama, it was essentially a scoring contest disguised as a team game. The game ended with Team Chuck defeating Team Shaq 146-133. That’s not even an acceptable score for a Golden State Warriors game.

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