I covered All-Star Weekend for NBC this weekend because it was in my backyard. Not a lot of Cavs-related stuff happening, for obvious reasons, but here are a few notes from the weekend:
– Best All-Star game in years. Kobe set the tone early, and there wasn’t nearly as much fooling around in the early going as there usually is, although the East kept itself in the game with a lot of fast breaks off of made baskets.
– Kobe was a man possessed. Where did those dunks come from? The All-Star game is a Rorschach blot — you can see Kobe trying harder in an exhibition game than he has for most of the season, or you can see Kobe stepping his game up against the best in the league and sending a message. It looked like he really wanted to put on a show for his home crowd, although he really gassed in that fourth quarter. Still, what a performance from Kobe. There is literally no way to reconcile this performance with Kobe’s performance against the Cavs.
– LeBron James is good at basketball. There was a lot of up-and-down play and somewhat lax defense at the All-Star game, and there’s no way to stop LeBron in those situations. There’s nothing quite like seeing him drive to the basket with a full head of steam.
– Dwight Howard literally could not have cared less about the All-Star game.
– I know it’s only the All-Star Game, but Derrick Rose did not look like he belonged. Forced shots, failed drives into traffic, and he generally didn’t look like he could have been one of the Alpha Dogs in the game. I know that value and ability are different things, but does anyone really think that the Bulls would be worse with C.J. Watson starting at the point, LeBron at the three, and Deng as the 6th man?
– Chris Paul’s handle is something to behold. He’s literally one move faster than everyone else in the league with the ball in his hands. He flew by guys when it looked like they had him made, and performed inside-out dribbles in the time it takes most guys to perform a standard dribble.
– I’m not sure whether the fact that Russ Westbrook had some of the best highlights of anybody in the game and a pedestrian final line is a good thing or a bad thing. Rorschach blot, right?
– The dunk contest was amazing, and will be unfairly defined by the car dunk. Without the car dunk, this contest still had more memorable slams than the last few contests combined. And yeah, the thing was totally rigged to get Blake into round two, but his elbow dunk in the finals easily trumped anything McGee did in the finals.
– McGee’s first dunk was the best of the night — if the car dunk is the dark side of props, that dunk is the right way to use them. I did not know that was possible. Ibaka’s free-throw line dunk was ripped off.
– Daniel Gibson — #1 among three-point contest participants that attended the University of Texas. WE CAN BUILD ON THIS! CATCH THE FEVER!
– Halftime show was incredible. Rihanna looks amazing, she sounded fairly good for a pop singer that’s more of a “performer” than a pure musical artist, and Kanye absolutely knocked it out of the park. Drake expects you to be impressed by him — Kanye BEGS you to remember him when he performs live. That’s an important quality in a performer.
– Tim Duncan, the All-Star game may have passed you by.
– I don’t see the Knicks making it to the conference finals over the course of a possible Carmelo three-year deal. If New York is fine with being Denver east, that’s fine for them. There are worse things than being Denver East.
– That’s all I have for this weekend. Great all-around experience, and the game and dunk contest were all I could ask for. Soon the Cavaliers will play again.