Tag Archives: all star 2010

Season on the sofa: NBA All Star 2010 game diary

According to legend, everything’s bigger in Texas – even the NBA All Star game. Which is why, after foregoing sleep for the last two nights in exchange for a thoroughly underwhelming Dunk Contest and a high scoring but tedious Rookie/Sophomore game, the Sports Bloke has re-charged his batteries for the third and final night of the All Star weekend. What better way of covering this glorified exhibition game/annual spectacular (delete as appropriate) than with a special All Star season on the sofa diary of the game not quite live and direct from the UK.

11:38pm Only 22 minutes of Valentine’s Day left. The Sports Lass is sound asleep. I’m ready for the All Star game. Excited to see a Knick on the East roster for the first time in nine years. Even more excited to see how Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones are going to pull off a basketball game in front of 100,000 people.

11:40pm No basketball yet. Watching the Winter Olympics luge instead. Torn between whether I’d like to try a luge run or if it would be terrifying. Maybe Bobsleigh is a safer option. The Skeleton is not an option.

11:57pm Just realised League Pass coverage doesn’t start until 1am UK time. Isn’t the game tipping off at 12:45am? I want some build up. Good old P2P, never lets you down. There go the Men In Black. Time for EJ, Chuck and the Jet.

12:02am Good lord, Cowboys Stadium is huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. Hope the people in the nosebleed seats brought their telescopes and binoculars.

12:05am Here comes the Thunderbirds flyover. Barkley looks perturbed. And cold. In other news, One Republic suck. Bland, mediocre major label pseudo indie rock. Get out.

12:15am It’s Kobe doing his “reasonable human being” act. TNT host slurps accordingly.

12:19am Someone should tell that guy with the broom to stop walking across the shot. Good job Christian Bale isn’t on the TNT panel.

12:27am Is this the first sporting event where the scoreboard is bigger than the playing area?

12:43am This pre-game show is starting to drag. Even Mark Cuban can’t save it.

12:57am Is there any league commissioner more polished than David Stern? The man can deflect anything.

1:04am The West players take to the court. I’m buying a ticket for the Dirkus Circus for MVP. How can he fail with J-Kidd and Nash feeding him all night? I also expect Durantula to announce himself to the world tonight (it’s not possible for British people to use the phrase “Coming out party”, too many non-sporting connotations).

1:08am You can’t blame Craig Sager for doing his Nash interview introduction twice. He does have to carry the can for his tie though. Who dresses this man? Stevie Wonder?

1:21am How many Taco Bell five buck boxes has Chuck gone through this weekend? Over under must be around 15.

1:26am Derrick Rose gets a huge pop from the Dallas crowd. As does Chris Bosh in his home state. The starters then come up through the floor with Kevin Garnett proving once again he is the coolest man in the league.

1:30am The organisers of English football’s Charity Shield should take some notes on how to put on a showcase event. They’d have to book someone less totally overrrated than Usher though.

1:32am Dallas erupts for Kobe, who looks resplendent in his grey cardigan. Chris Kaman looks utterly overrawed. Z-Bo looks all business. Huge pops for Kevin Durant amd Jason Kidd. Nothing compares to the ovation for Dirk though. The player introductions have been better than the whole dunk contest.

1:44am West starting backcourt is Nash and Nowitzki. This could be very interesting.

1:51am Two sweet jumpers from Dirk to open the scoring.

1:55am Nash orchestrating things beautifully. Easy baskets for the West. Lots of jumpers from the East. 16-9 West.

1:56am Dwight Howard drains a three. Seriously. Still nowhere near as awesome as the Cowboys Stadium organ.

1:58am Time out, time for Stan van Gundy (SVG) to chew out his players (possibly)

2:01am Did Lebron really just argue a no-call in the All Star game?

2:07am Devastating putback dunk from Chris Bosh. 29-28 East. Aside from one KG block, no D in Dallas tonight.

2:14am Wow, Zach Randolph just fed Pau Gasol a bounce pass for a lay-in. Is that his first assist of the season? First quarter ends with East leading 37-34.

2:20am David Lee enters the game at the start of the second quarter. He immediately feeds Wade for an easy hoop.

2:23am Deron Williams sparks a run of more traditional all star plays as he creates an alley-oop and hammers home a dunk of his own. East respond with a D-Wade alley oop. West lead 51-47.

2:30am Lee on the board with a dunk.

2:34am Lee guarding former Knick Randolph. Can’t say I ever thought I’d see that in an All Star game.

2:41am Lebron starting to percolate. A circus shot, a cross-court assist and a monster block on Melo.

2:43am Half time. East leads 76-69. Melo leads all scorers with 17. Bosh and Horford having very nice games off the bench.

2:54am Shakira’s songs may be shit but she has a chart-topping caboose. Props to the TNT cameraman for helping me to notice this important fact.

3:05am Is this Alicia Keys song sending a subtle message to Lebron re this summer? It’s probably the only hope for Walsh and D’Antoni.

3:15am An epic 35 minute half time (and counting). Thank Christ I’m not at work until Tuesday.

3:24am PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE restart the game. Boredom is making me tired.

3:25am Looks like someone should take hold of Chuck’s car keys.

3:27am Howard goes coast to coast and finishes with a dunk. East starting to showboat. 84-71.

3:32am Lebron throws up an ugly air ball. Reggie Miller blames it on the sight lines. I blame bad shot selection.

3:34am Savage baseline alley oop – D-Wade to Lebron. East leads 97-88.

3:49am Lots of scoring but the West can’t get any closer. 115-106 to the East. Bosh continues to fill it up.

3:52am Billups loses his dribble but Durant recovers the ball and nails a long distance three at the buzzer. End of the third. 113-104 to the East.

3:55am Mark Cuban announces the attendance: a whopping 108,713. Biggest crowd to ever watch a basketball game.

3:58am West start quickly in the fourth. Three from Billups. A drive to the hoop from Z-Bo. Fast break finished by trailing Gasol. Two point game.

4:01am 120-119 with nine minutes to go. Things should get serious now.

4:07am Wade hammered by Williams and Randolph. That’s more like it.

4:10am East getting aggressive defensively. Steal by Rondo who then sets up Wade with an alley oop. East lead 128-124.

4:15am West offence stagnating. Lebron hits a long two then Bosh converts an And 1. A steal by Wade leads to a big dunk. The lead goes to nine with four minutes left.

4:17am Blown dunk by Amare. That’s gotta be embarrassing in front of 108,000 people

4:20am Beginning to feel worn down by seeing the same five commercials at every ad break

4:23am Lebron throws up another brick but redeems himself with a steal and a dunk. Billups answers with a three and Dirk hits two free throws. West hanging in down by two. 1:46 remaining.

4:26am Blown alley oop by Bosh. Billups ties the game at 137. Minute to go. West sensing victory.

4:29am Williams stripped then compounds his error by fouling when he had no need to. Wade on the line. Makes both. 139-137 East with 12 seconds left. Bet George Karl wishes Kobe wasn’t out injured now. In his absence, the ball’s going to go to Dirk to be the hometwon hero.

4:32am Ball does indeed go to Dirk who mugs Howard with a pump fake. Nowitzki makes both free throws. We’re tied again at 139. Seven seconds left. Time out East.

4:34am Bosh fouled driving the baseline. He makes both free throws. East by two. Five seconds on the clock.

4:37am Carmelo looks for a three to win it but can only throw up an off balance air ball. Game over. East win 141-139. Wade would be my MVP but it doesn’t really matter. Time for the Sports Bloke to retire to bed. Out.

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Raising the white flag: Knicks Season on the Sofa week 15 and 16 review

This weekend David Lee will play in the All Star game, Nate Robinson will go airborne in the Slam Dunk contest and Danilo Gallinari may win the three point shootout and shine in the Rookies vs Sophomores match-up. And when the glitz and glamour of All Star 2010 is over, the New York Knicks will return to their regular season schedule safe in the knowledge that their play-off hopes are already well and truly extinguished for yet another year.

How did it get to this? The Knicks went 9-6 in what was, relative to this team’s penchant for underachievement, a December to remember. One week into the new year, they were just 1.5 games away from the eight seed. One month later, their record stands at a miserable 19-32 after they contrived to lose 12 of their last 16 games at the precise moment when their schedule was at its softest. Of the many recent losses, the defeats to Minnesota (in which they were inexplicably destroyed by Kevin Love) on the road and Sacramento (in which they were torched by Tyreke Evans and, in overtime, Kevin Martin) at home went beyond heart-breaking. They were simply unacceptable.

What is it about the psychology of this Knicks roster that causes the team to subside as soon as they build the slightest shred of momentum? It’s almost as if, at the moment the basketball media reached a consensus that the Knicks were, against all logic, legitimate play-off contenders, a collective notion of “job done” came over this team and caused them to slack off. If Mike D’Antoni convinced this Knick team that they should walk through teams like the Timberwolves and the Kings, he made a severe misjudgement regarding his own players. This team is simply not good enough to turn up without the appropriate effort and walk off the court with a win.

A glaring feature of the recent string of losses has been the failure to execute plays in the clutch. Against the Kings, Chris Duhon jacked up an air ball three at the buzzer. In fairness to the much-maligned guard, he found himself totally without options as four teammates stood motionless as he dribbled his way into trouble. All the while, Wilson Chandler, enjoying his highest scoring game of the season, was starved of the ball.

In the same game, Jared Jeffries ended up shooting a crunch-time three with predictably dire results. This isn’t a criticism of the man I like to call Mr Intangible. Jeffries deserves credit for winning over the Garden crowd with his hustle and defence since being roundly derided in the season’s opening weeks. The point here is that he’s not the man to be shooting a crucial three with the game on the line. Could D’Antoni, consistently hailed as an offensive genius, not have drawn up a better play? Or were his players unable to execute the coach’s plan under pressure?

The Knicks’ slide into irrelevance has coincided with some muddled thinking from Coach D’Antoni. The underperforming Duhon was benched for Nate Robinson at half-time against Washington and the little man sparked what proved to be the Knicks only win of the past fortnight with a 23-point burst. Two nights later against Milwaukee, Nate was named a starter but could only shoot 3 of 12 as the Andrew Bogut-less Bucks cruised to a comfortable 114-107 victory. By the time the Kings came into the Garden, Duhon was back as starting point guard less than a week after losing his job. If you’re going to give the starting reins to Nate, surely he derserves more than three games to soar or stumble. The bottom line is that, whatever D’Antoni is looking for from his point guards, neither Duhon or Nate are able to provide it. With play-off hopes gone, perhaps rookie Toney Douglas will see more minutes in the post-All Star stretch.

In spite of the depressing string of results, some Knicks players can hold their heads high. Since he was initially snubbed for the All Star roster, David Lee, like a true professional, once again raised his game to show the Eastern Conference coaches what they had overlooked. Boosted by a 32-point, 15-rebound game against the Bucks, Lee has now upped his season averages to 20 and 11. More impressively, the league’s best (and only) point-center has also dished the ball better in recent times. His 3.5 dimes a game leads all NBA centers. Thanks to the withdrawal of Allen Iverson, who really had no business going to Dallas in the first place, Lee has finally been granted a deserved All Star spot, the first Knick to be invited to the game in nine seasons.

Wilson Chandler and Jared Jeffries also emerged from the Knicks’ recent run with some credit. Jeffries, a man I once christened Mr Fumbles on account of his inability to catch even the most straightforward of passes, leads the league in taking charges, regularly plays hurt and makes all the hustle plays anyone could want. Playing with increased confidence, he’s even started draining threes, albeit wide open ones in non-crunch situations. The enigmatic Chandler finally shook off his early season woes in January and, despite a small dip in form, bounced back with a career game against Sacramento. Ill Will is the Knicks’ most aesthetically-pleasing player and his athleticism is rivalled only by Nate. With these gifts alone, Chandler should possess the confidence to demand the ball. Against the Kings he was red hot but, when the ball stopped coming his way, his failure to demand it impacted badly on the Knicks as bad shots were hoisted as the offence stagnated.

With the Knicks now certain to miss the post season yet again, what is left to look forward to once the All Star break is over? Perhaps the most interesting moves will come off the court. The T-Mac to the Knicks rumours continue to swirl, the latest word suggesting McGrady will come to New York in a three team trade that moves Al Harrington to Washington and Caron Butler to Houston. What’s in this deal for the Wizards remains a mystery unless they have decided to blow up their entire roster so I wouldn’t count on it actually happening. If it does, the sad fact seems that, With nothing to play for other than pride, the last 30 games of this season could simply be an exercise in gauging what, if anything, a former NBA superstar has left in the tank. If the trade doesn’t happen, all we can hope for is that rookies Toney Douglas and Jordan Hill get enough burn to prove one way or another that they are part of the future at the Garden.

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