All Star Weekend Chat

Kurt —  February 14, 2009

NBA All-Star Game
If you read just one thing this weekend, make some time to read this NY Times article, based around Shane Battier but really about the use of statistics in basketball. Yes, it talks about Kobe, but I think the point about how to value basketball players is really the interesting part, and well worth the read. I think we’ll talk more about this, but I want to do it justice. (Thanks to Zephid for the link.)

Aside this, this is the thread to talk about all the All Star fun. Should be an entertaining night of dunks and trick shots on Saturday. Come Sunday, it will be interesting to see which star shows up and wants to be MVP — there always is one who puts out the extra effort going for the prize.

Kurt

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140 responses to All Star Weekend Chat

  1. Thanks, zephid and Kurt. That is an excellent article. I would love to read about the parts of the system that they wouldn’t discuss.

    A lot of that is what we see ourselves watching a game. It will be interesting if Kobe adjusts his game because of this.

  2. My anti-virus just caught a trojan from a link on that site.

  3. I used to not like him cuz i thought he talked way too much during telecasts, but over time I’ve really come to admire Doug Collins. Respect Doug.

  4. Kurt,

    Thank you for the link to the Battier’s article. For long I praised the guy… He’s an excellent basketball player and he doesn’t get enough credit. If only we could get him, we would win the next 4 or 5 championships for sure!

  5. This HORSE game is just awful. As hyped up as it was, this is horrible. I’ve had more competitive and crazier trick shots in my own HORSE games.

    They should have brought Kobe. He would have taken this seriously, would have used that left hand, done something interesting.

  6. OK Mayo just made his stands shot. I take it back. It’s heating up now.

  7. Are you watching GEICO right now? OJAM is about to pull an upset.

  8. OK it looks like C-Webb called it, just took them time to get started. Mayo and Durant seemed relaxed early on, but they’ve got that competitive edge now. Kobe in place of Joe Johnson would have been the perfect competition. Iverson or Alston might have some great playground shots too.

  9. The way Durant won kind of sucks. Durant won on simple jumpshots near the end. I want to see Mayo again next year. Mayo really turned this competition out, he really upped the ante and gave us what we wanted to see – real trick shots. I was pulling for him to win.

  10. 10. I’m with you, that was a little dull. Put the trick shot guys in next year and let them have some fun. Winning with corner threes is a smart strategy but if this is supposed to be entertaining for the fans what is the point?

  11. Great article, Kurt, but I have a few points of contention.

    1- It definitely oversells the antipathy of people to Battier. Houston’s move to get him was almost universally praised because he was considered the perfect “glue guy” for a championship caliber team.

    2- “Plus 6 is enormous,” Morey says. “It’s the difference between 41 wins and 60 wins.” He names a few other players who were a plus 6 last season: Vince Carter, Carmelo Anthony, Tracy McGrady. ” You had me until you named those names- ironically 3 guys considered selfish and not great winners (though Melo’s been great this year). None of them came close to winning 60 games last year.

    -Is Battier the only example of nba moneyball they could come up with in Houston? I think scola would be another good one, but they never touch on him. I’d like more specifics about how this system can identify the components for an all around great team, not just that it appreciates battier.

    Aside from a few other tidbits like that, though there were some great nuggets of info. The parts the contextualize the stats with specifics- why Battier improves others’ rebounding, what he does on defense. I liked the stats on Kobe too.

    All these very different new stats are very enlightening, but there’s still a lot of room to misuse them. We’re still not to the point of having some of the objective answers we’d hope for (though once we had them, a lot of the joy would be taken out of arguing the game). The Celtics’ numbers show that KG is one of the greatest defenders of all time while the Mavs’ numbers show that Jason Kidd is the second best player in the league. Interesting yes, but possibly calibrated with more than one interest in mind.

    P.S. I hate Stanford

  12. This theatre of the dunk hour is pretty great

  13. wow…that article about battier is really great
    masterpiece man…

    i love battier more now than i do then. (and i love his game before)

    thanks for sharing zephid and kurt.

  14. 12. I agree that the author picks his arguments oddly at times. He makes it sound like Battier was responsible for the improvement in Memphis, when I would argue that Gasol and others had a lot more to do with it.

    It’s hard to get the details we’d really like, the best guys all have proprietary info and don’t release it to us in the public like they used to. Except for the occasional Cuban blog post.

  15. I feel basketball is too fluid for Jamesian, moneyball types of stats. It works in baseball, not basketball. Shane Battier is just a good defender, and always was. He can read stats that say, “Force Kobe left and make him dribble,” But that;s easier said than done, and I’m sure Battier knew that anyway.

    When mediocre defenders can use this information and succeed while doing it, I might find it more credible.

    The HORSE contest was disappointing….

  16. Tremendous honor Stern gave to Bill Russell. Celtic or not, friend of KG or not, Bill Russell is a class act, a pioneer, and a great champion. It’s great to see him still so involved and influential in the world of basketball.

  17. Why is Michael Cooper wearing pink shoes?

  18. Orange…for “phoenix” they are showing up pink on tv under the lights…

    lakers out in the first round…I’m pretty sure it will be different in the real season :-)

  19. That girl in the commercial for jimbeam..

    What nba player is she talking about?

    I like guys who are “little bit fat”
    with little bit “hairy back”
    like to watch football, go out with the boys and sometimes go to the striptease.

    My vote: Its mr. badboy himself, BILL LAMBIER

  20. 16.
    and now that kobe might read battier’s comment.
    kobe might will himself not to go left when play against battier.

    kobe is the best player in making adjustment, IMHO

  21. After that article I’m giving him a nickname.. shane the brain battier

  22. These Gatorade commerical are hilarious with Usain Bolt’s mini big headed ego.

  23. I love Kapono, but I almost want to root against him solely because of how incredibly annoying Reggie Miller is. When TNT hired Miller, they should have told him to check his ego at the door. His personality, lack of analysis, and completely arrogant way of speaking really get under my skin.

  24. Just noticed this, but why isn’t there a link to lakernoise?

  25. Good call Kenny, no way Daequan can win!

    Hopefully the dunks are better than the shooting though.

  26. Only 7 points by Lewis in the tiebreaker. Ouch. Gordon should have been there.

  27. 26

    Which one, Eric or Ben? (I assume it’s Eric.)

  28. What a stinker of a 3 point shootout. Give me Steve Novak, Ray Allen, and SASHA!

    Hopefully the dunk contest will be worth watching. Thinking about muting Kenny Smith, who is reaching new and higher levels of absurdity.

    Overall, I’m happy with the Lakers’ first half. I know Kurt and the Brothers K have been trying to downplay the Utah loss, but without a quick follow up win it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    Lakers Report Card, First 52 games:

    Kobe Bryant: A
    LOVE the career high in field goal percentage thus far. I thought his assist numbers would be higher than they are, but he’s demonstrated he can throw out the 7-10 dimes/game if that’s what the team needs. I can’t help but think of the NO loss last month when he was 14-22 from the field, had 11 boards and 13 assists…and the Lakers lost. Goes to show that Kobe can be the perfect player in all aspects, and that will not be enough to win. I think if he can manage to beat Lebron in scoring average, maintain his career high FG%, and the Lakers have the best overall record, it will be hard to not give Kobe the MVP.

    Pau Gasol – A
    What can I say? I never fail to be impressed by his skill and consistency. I’d like for Kobe to look to Pau more in late game situations…he will need the poise and confidence come playoff time.

    Lamar Odom – B
    Amazing that this would have been a C or C- only 2 weeks ago. He has truly been scary dominant the last several.

    Derek Fisher – B+
    His play has improved steadily after a pretty miserable start to the season. With every PUJIT part of my soul dies, however.

    Luke Walton – B-
    I am less nervous with Luke on the floor with each passing game.

    The rest will be revealed later…don’t hold your breath!

  29. I like JR Smith to win this…

  30. pau is supposed to assist rudy fernandez on his next dunk.

  31. That’s definitely not a 50.

    And didn’t Nate do the exact same dunk the year he won?

  32. Never mind, it looks like the judges are trying to make sure Dwight repeats.

  33. “The amateurism of uh.. Spain”

    Funny Kenny.

  34. Fernandez is going to break his hand before he completes this dunk. Brutal.

  35. I don’t think Rudy is athletic enough to pull off that dunk. Didn’t Kenny see Pau’s point guard moment earlier in the year when he took the ball up the court and did the behind the back pass on the fast break?

  36. He made it. And on the replay, that is hugely impressive. Fernandez deserved more points than they gave him.

  37. Rudy was punished by the judges for missing all those attempts. The dunk itself was 45 at least.

    Why don’t these guys get a PG to throw these passes?????

  38. That dunk by Nate was bogus.

  39. I’m thinking that dunk by Nate was way too dangerous… that’s a great way to hurt someone’s back.

  40. I think Dwight paid off the judges…

  41. I’d laugh if Nate Robinson is hurt from that dunk, unless there is another reason he left to go to the locker room. How is he going to compete in the second part?

    Dwight Howard dunk was nice, but he could have added more to it. Two years ago when he slapped on the sticker, the sticker was at least two feet above the 12-foot rim.

    Let’s see what Superman has in store for the finale.

  42. That was way too easy for him. Either put it up higher two feet or do something more stylish than a two-handed dunk.

    Also, Rudy was robbed. That was a 50. Nate Robinson winning the contest a few years ago after missing a bazillion shots proves that.

  43. Haha, I take it back. Clever clever.

  44. KRYPTONITE. That was stylish.

    And if LeBron is in the contest next year, that is going to be absolutely sick.

  45. Oh my lord.

  46. Holy crap Nate’s dunk looked good.

  47. I think Nate levered himself over Dwight though.

  48. Seen too many “free-throw line” dunks that are actually a step in or just the heel on the line. Impressive nonetheless, though he got up high enough that he probably could have done a legitimate dunk from behind the line.

  49. Rudy definately got robbed. Dwight’s third one was nice though=)

  50. Not quite as exciting as last year. The 3-point shootout was especially disappointing, but not surprising considering the weak field.

    I like Lebron’s attempt to steal the spotlight from Dwight and Nate. He couldn’t have picked a better time to announce it? And does he really need to announce it a year in advance? Still, it’ll be exciting to finally have him in there, I just think there were better ways of going about it.

  51. the contest felt a bit staged.

  52. Snoopy: Reggie was the one asking him during the break (on NBA league pass broadband you hear the announcers during the commercials) – wasn’t anything planned as far as I could tell. I could of course be wrong, but that’s how it seemed to me.

    Also I agree with you; the whole thing was kinf of dissapointing. Not terrible, but yeah.

  53. Dunk contest 2009 = disappointing. I hated Rudy’s pick for the dunk contest this year (really wanted to see Joel Alexander), but I liked his creativity and would’ve liked to see him dunk some more. That first Rudy dunk was pretty sick. If only he had more showmanship.

    Nate Robinson deserved it. I was disappointed with Dwight. If he did a 360 dunk from the FT…then he would’ve won it. I’m pretty sure he could too.

  54. Side note, how awesome would it be for a Laker to win the first ever Bill Russell Finals MVP award?

    Also, Dwight should have done the free throw line in the first round, and then done the side of the backboard and the 12ft in the finals. He also probably should have put it higher. I agree that Nate only wins because Dwight was okay with being the prop.

  55. Kobe is gonna own the next few Bill Russel awards (crossing fingers)

  56. Too much pageantry (especially from Superman) and not enough substance this year. My top 3 dunks were:

    1. Dwight’s first in round 2
    2. Rudy’s second (eventually)
    3. Rudy’s first

    Am I the only one who thought Robinson levering himself up on another guy’s back for 2 different dunks was borderline cheating? I know he’s 5’9″ but still…

  57. hey if anyone wants to see a great magic johnson highlight vid and compliation check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U93YwENjC4k

  58. Really liked the article but have to keep in mind that the focus was Battier, not Kobe. Kobe being weaker in certain situations wasn’t the point, it was just the sales pitch to get people (like us) to read it. The point was that there are players like Battier who just won’t show up in the traditional box score.

    I’m more than certain that every team, every player in the league has massive data on Bryant, who’s been around for over a decade. The mention that Kobe is equally likely to go to his right as he is to his left makes me want to bet that every data on Kobe is given to Kobe as well. So that’s nothing groundbreaking. I’m also kinda sure that Kobe himself receives all sorts of data regarding LeBron and whomever he’s going to face.

    What I gathered from that article are these:

    1. There are no ‘selfless’ stats in the NBA when taken out of context. Each and every stat is just as fulfilling to players, so a player racking up assists should actually be treated the same as players racking up points. In a way I always thought it could be a way of shifting blame and responsibility to those who score, but anyway, the only stat that promotes the interest of the team at all times is the +/-

    2. There is a way for not-as-talented players to crack the rotation, as long as teams are building for Ws not tickets. Provided that they’re talented enough to play some kind of defense.

  59. I do agree that the +/- stat is the most interesting, but needs manipulation to remove all the garbage. I would kill to see what Houston does to this stat. The only real problem with it is when the game is in danger of being lost really great players become more aggressive and that can lower their +/- numbers.

    One other thing; glue guys like Shane have to be on teams where there are other stars. By themselves they may make their teammates better, but they also wind up like Memphis, going out in the 1st round of the playoffs – and they had Gasol. This aspect of the team equation wasn’t covered in the article.

    On the Lakers, I think Walton is clearly the guy who fills the Shane role. You just can’t pick out the reason, but the team seems to have fewer extreme highs and lows when he is in the game. My only problem is that he gets too passive when Kobe starts into his “me against the other team” mode, along with his other teammates. Motion that allows Kobe additional passing lanes would be good in that situation and also force some defenders to pay attention to others besides Kobe.

  60. Your basketball life is on the line and it comes down to a single possession. You’re in isolation. Who’s the last guy you want to see defending you? And how do you beat him?

    Both Jameer Nelson and Danny Granger said KOBE

  61. Interesting posts at truehoop where Kevin Arnovitz is asking people who the best defenders are. Most players would tip their hand on the issue with an active player, but of those who did, only 3 active players were named- 2 votes for Artest, 1 for Marion and 2 for Kobe:

    http://myespn.go.com/blogs/truehoop/0-38-181/Your-Nightmare-Defender–All-Star-Sunday-Edition.html

  62. There’s another truehoop article discussing the possibility of the Kings relocating to San Jose or Anaheim.

    Can you imagine if they moved to Anaheim? They would be competing with Laker loyalty (and clippers too I guess)- and they’re a team Local laker fans learned to hate as recently as 2002.

    I think San Jose would be more likely. Then the lucky bay area could have 2 crappy teams to choose to follow.

  63. Wasn’t the picture in today’s LA Times Sports section just great with Kobe and Shaq smiling together again. Hopefully Kobe will feed the big dog, so that the big dog will defend his house.

    I also think of Moon as a ‘glue guy’ type of player and I liked that article, it was worth the time spent to read it.

  64. So, what are the chances of Bryant playing competitively in the All Star Game?

    Cavs’ Coach joked about giving LBJ only 3 minutes of PT while giving KG 48 minutes… if BOS-CLE was the first game scheduled after All Star break, do you think he’d do it?

  65. Wow. Tough break for Oden. I hope he makes it back sooner, rather than later.
    http://tinyurl.com/cneh46

    Also, it appears Porter has been designated the Phoenix management’s scapegoat for the incompetence of Sarver and Kerr.
    http://tinyurl.com/c58hu4

    Don’t they realize it wasn’t the fault of the players or D’Antoni’s style in that 2007 series against the Spurs? They had horrible luck in the game where they couldn’t stop Nash’s blood flow in crunch time, they had a horrifically one-sided reffed game go in the Spurs’ favor in another, then they had the unequal treatment of the two separate leaving the bench incidents in Game 4 (which they won).

    This was the same team (minus Kurt Thomas but plus Grant Hill) in the first part of last season, and they blew it up because Bynum/Kwame overwhelmed their frontcourt in the first matchup, Bynum did it by himself in the Christmas game, and the Lakers traded for Pau a month later.

    It’s funny that the NBA blogosphere is somewhat jokingly accusing Kerr of being San Antonio’s mole in the Sun front office. If he is, then the Spurs picked the wrong franchise to wreck. Luckily, Jerry Buss is smarter than Sarver.

  66. Should be exciting tonight!

    If the east wins…I am thinking Dwade for MVP

    If West wins…I am thinking Chris paul…

    I think Kobe and Lebron might take it easy…

  67. Wow. After watching that amazing Native American opening, I have chills. I have to wonder – why doesn’t TNT host the Finals? So superior to ABC, it’s unbelievable. That was an amazing opening.

  68. can anybody send a link to the all star game????? im in the library

  69. the other Stephen February 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    kobe and many of the lakers could learn a good deal from shane.

  70. Wow, Phil, don’t act so excited

  71. When they announce “3 time all star” or whatever number, does that count instances where you were selected but were injured?

  72. the other Stephen February 15, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    this year’s all-star introductions are so good. shaqtus coming out with jabbawockeez was crazy.

  73. shaq was, for lack of a better word, shaqtastic.

  74. Wow, glad that this cold version of Kobe is in the AG not in the real season.

  75. they can’t spread the floor at all!

  76. I didn’t say anything.

  77. Does Dwight know you’re not supposed to start playing defense until the fourth quarter?

  78. Kobe dunk then a Shaq dunk, these are always fun games.

  79. heres the box score in case anyone is interested http://www.nba.com/games/20090215/ESTWST/boxscore.html

  80. That pass-fake by Paul was sick.

  81. Shaq is having a ball out there!

  82. Anyone know the names of the two female DJ’s during the player introduction?

  83. Did Craig Saiger just call the Jabbawockeez the Wakajabeez? Wow, it must suck to be old and out of touch.

    Great game so far, not too sloppy. I wish Kobe’s J was on. There was a great opportunity at the beginning for a Shaq to Kobe lob, but Shaq missed it. Still keeping my fingers crossed for that though.

  84. This is what barack obama thinks of Kobe Bryant.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08f1GacuXd4

  85. If I didn’t already know and had to guess who was Marc Gasol’s brother from appearance alone, I’d have guessed Mike Miller.

  86. The announcers are really right. These guys are actually playing basketball, despite the high pace. Real plays are being run. It’s refreshing.

  87. These rims are very friendly…

  88. lol Shaq. Entertaining as always.

    Kobe really going for All-Star MVP.

    Chris Paul is amazing. Just watching him run around with the basketball as though it’s an extension of his limb is incredible.

    West’s big men and height + great perimeter players > East’s amazing wingmen.

  89. Shaq and Kobe co-MVPs?

  90. looks like kobe for mvp

  91. I’m falling out of my chair watching Shaq trying to do everything on the floor.

    Anyhow, I agree with Joel. Shaq and Kobe co-MVP would be great.

  92. kobe sure is taking a whole lot shots today

  93. shaq would probably be mvp seeing how suns are hosts

  94. i keep thinkin about that shaq dance in the intros

  95. roy or billups would be so perfect for the triangle.

  96. Kobe really wants to win an MVP when Shaq’s on the same team.

    I think that’s his MO today, except… well, Shaq is playing really well.

    Wonder if Shaq’s ASG is going to help his trade chances.

  97. Oh man, at the Time Out PJ walked up to Lebron and put his arm around him to talk to him. Then they cut away. Is he giving him props or congratulating him on the most spectacular missed dunk in allstar history?

  98. Kobe’s treating the game as if he’s playing with Smush, Devean, Kwame and Luke.

    22 attempts.

    Hah.

  99. Terry Porter is officially out.

  100. Chris Paul is incredible, it’s like he has the ball on a string or something.

  101. How many dunks has LeBron missed tonight?

  102. Kobe is really trying to steal an MVP award from Shaq.

  103. wwowww… co-mvps

  104. the world is ending!

  105. Psh. Milk it Stern.

  106. Shaq only played 11 minutes tonight. Has to be the fewest minutes ever for an ASG MVP. Talk about efficiency.

  107. I’m all happy about Shaq and Kobe being co-mvps.

    Hehe it’s just amusing that the guy who played 30 minutes is as valuable to the team as the guy who played 10.

    So i agree with Aqzi, nba is truly milking it :)

  108. I love Kobe and all, but Shaq should have won (solo) by virtue of his awesome dance.

  109. Gotta say, the sight of Kobe and Shaq hoisting up another trophy together is making me nostalgic and a little teary…

  110. Having Kobe and Shaq as co-MVPs is great for headlines, but I really think CP3 was the engine that made the West go tonight.

  111. Wonder what Kobe thinks of Shaq deep down. If I worked as hard as Kobe, I’d resent players like Shaq who is just born with it, wastes whatever talent he has, and STILL gets mentioned in front of Kobe.

    Anyway, this year’s ASG festivities was just too scripted. You have a new budding star score 46. You have the ‘underdog’ beat the defending champ. You have old buddies come back to beat the current champs (3/5 of them anyway).

    Just wish Kobe could have used this opportunity, this nationally televised game to work on his image. Instead he probably burnt it to just about every casual NBA fan and sports-write that he is still the ball-hog regardless of who’s out there with him.

    Oh well.

  112. This game was a reminder of what was and what could have been at the same time. All right…back to the 2nd half of the season. Here’s hoping Kobe wins another league MVP and our Lakers are hoisting up the only trophy that matters. By the way, how weird would it be if we win the Finals (if..if) and Kobe, as a Laker, is the first recipient of the Bill Russell Finals MVP. Too weird. A lot has to happen for this to occur, but it could happen.

  113. If any of you are interested in Shaq’s dance with the ShaqaWockeez, here’s a link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmbh7pqYFDw

    Great to see Shaq back in the all-star game.

  114. can you feel the drama? lol

  115. kobe is probably shot the ball too many
    and yes, it is bogus that kobe and shaq are co-mvps
    although u don’t have a clear cut mvp candidate too.

    kobe, cp3, roy, oneal –> all has a valid reason to be named mvp

    anyway, thats not what i am trying to say:
    – roy’s stat is just great…
    – cp3 is the best pg in the game right now
    – joe johnson, talking about an off night 0 pts, 5 TOs (hopefully, he will be off too when he plays us tuesday night)
    – lebron missed the dunk at the end of the game, made my day brighter
    – this game also shows the competitive nature brought by those olympians (lead by kobe) – this game is not a showcase. they play good basketball
    – PJ is by far better coach than mike brown. I can imagine lebron overrule him in cavs bench. PJ even give a REAL practice session to his all star team, while mike brown just do it casually. if you want to win, do it seriously and do it right. (ok i get it, all star game is a fun game – but still)
    – if u look at the way west win this game, it is really similar with the way lakers plays the past week. Going inside, score inside the paints, kick out to perimeter shooting. although west has by far better talent in their bench too. there’s no way devin haris, granger, mo williams have the same talent as parker, dirk and roy (just to name a few)

  116. harold – I don’t think one game ultimately matters in terms of “repairing Kobe’s image.” The casual NBA fans who go around obstinately calling Kobe a ball hog are going to do that regardless of what they see in the ASG. Kobe passes a lot and they’ll say that he’s just doing it for the cameras.

  117. West won because the East had no legitimate size on their bench. You can’t really blame Stern though. Who was a legitimate big to replace Bosh? Okafor and Sheed would have been less deserving than Lewis or West. Lee maybe, but Cleveland would have thrown an incredible hissy fit over that.

    But I agree with 1331, the West played a lot like the Lakers do. They packed the lane, went inside, and kicked out to the perimeter. The only way the East could have won this game was exploiting the rather blatant LeBron-Stoudemire mismatch, but Phil likely would have put a stop to that. And on that note, Stoudemire’s last dunk was a stylish way to go out, if he gets traded sometime this week.

  118. Kobe’s half-time interview punctuated what it was we were all seeing in the game and what the announcers were saying, namely these players understand that the ASG is most entertaining when the players are playing a real basketball game and letting the amazing happen in that context. The forced highlights are much less appealing then seeing Kobe decide to take over the game in the manner he did. I think Kobe’s presence on the Olympic team made him into a genuine leader among the NBA stars in a way that his usual Summer schedule and personality never allowed. I like that the NBA has taken on Kobe’s personality.

  119. I love the NBA, but they really do take their fans for fools sometimes.

    Tonight’s co-MVPs, after several days of fabricating this Shaq-Kobe-Phil “reunion” as meaningful, was just comical. They had no better story to sell, and this was just the rigged icing on the pre-sold cake.

    They did the same thing in the Rookie of the Year voting — twice — in years’ past, when it wouldn’t have been convenient for a real vote to chose one best player, so instead they led everyone to believe that Hill & Kidd got the exact same number of votes, then pulled the same crap a few years later with Elton Brand and Steve Francis.

    In the grand scheme of things, these mini-fixes don’t mean much. But it sure doesn’t help their case when a ref fixing games is brought to light, because too many NBA fans would buy into things not being on the up and up based on too many things we’ve seen over the years: calls favoring stars, calls favoring the home team, etc.

    No other sport has this, yet we still love the NBA. Sometimes you just have to plug your nose and watch the greatness of the players rather than the string-pulling of Stern & Co.

  120. you really have the credit the phoenix sun’s medical staff for getting shaq into the shape he’s in. Lakers need to hire him to rehab Bynum. Shaq looked like he was 5 years younger than he is.

  121. as much as i think the co-mvp award a questionable decision, i could make a case for both of them to deserve the mvp award.

    kobe with the higher pts scored and an all around play on both end of the floors (4 rbs, 4 assts, 4 steals)

    oneal with 17 pts in 11 min – you cannot argue that it is efficient.

    and btw, in the first 5 minutes of the game, west starters are outscored 20-10. when oneal entered the game to accompany kobe, they immediately on 11 – 0 run.
    so kobe and oneal tandem really changed the game on that point on.

    i really think in this year all star game, nobody has really stand out to deserve the award.
    kobe, oneal, cp3 and roy have reasons to be named the mvp.

    justmy2cents

  122. The two DJs are: DJ Sky Nellor and DJ Beverly Bond. The one that you see the most, and the hotter one, is Sky Nellor.

  123. Did anyone else read this article? As of this moment, its the most sent article on ESPN.com

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3896242

    I guess the most I can say is everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, the bit about Ariza making the 24 footer had me wondering.

  124. 126. The question to most of us isn’t whether or not Simmons is a Kobe hater. The question is why Simmons deliberately writes an article full of obvious omissions.

    Like how, far from padding his stats, Kobe scored his 61 in tandem with Gasol’s 32-20 in Madison Square Garden. Subtract the free throws and Gasol scored almost as much as Kobe.

    Then there is always the comparison with Lebron.

    The best recent comparison between Kobe and LeBron was their head to head in Cleveland, when Labron scored 19 in a stinker of a game as his team lost at home for the first time–partly due to Kobe’s defense.

    In Kobe’s MVP performance w/Shaq tonite, Kobe took 22 shots and made 27 points–but he played serious defense, made 4 steals, and collaborated beautifully with Paul, Shaq, and Gasol, blowing out the East. Simmons might well focus on the “ball hog” 22 attempts.

    Why? He even says it in his article. That’s how he makes a living. What he says in this article is much like his rating of the top 40 NBA players: subjective and abrasive, with just enough basketball knowledge to sound authoritative and convincing–enough controversial remarks to get himself read, quoted, and passed around the internet.

    BTW, didn’t you say that this “Kobe Hater” article is being passed around the internet more than any other?

    Simmons knows his craft.

  125. re: Bill Simmons article, genuinely don’t care one way or the other whether he likes Kobe, but does anyone else think he has dug himself a hole by saying he doesn’t like Kobe ‘personally?’

    On the one hand I guess its good journalistic honesty, but on the other he seems to be burning a pretty large bridge with Kobe saying that. If I was Kobe reading that it would make it very awkward on next meeting.

    I guess what I’m saying is that even though it is an opinion piece, coming out in public and saying you dislike as a person (not a bballer) one of the most popular athletes in the world seems like a rash move. Is Simmon’s seriously never going to need to talk to Kobe again? I dunno maybe I’m overblowing things…

  126. Wow. Some of you here really talk this All-Star game too seriously.

    The Co-MVP shouldn’t surprise or miff anyone here. The ASG is nothing but marketing and like CP3 said, it was the storyline all weekend.

    Shaq and Kobe played their parts well, and were rewarded for it.

    Who cares how many shots Kobe took. It’s an exhibition that turned into a blowout. I was kind of disappointed though in the 2nd Half. I was hoping it would be close throughout so I could see a competitive 4th Q.

  127. wondahbap:
    I agree… when you get right down to it the entire weekend was just a publicity stunt, and it played out well. While I would have liked seeing a more competitive fourth quarter, it was none the less a fun game to watch, and to see Kobe, Chris Paul, and Shaq work together was well worth putting up with the annoying, annoying bells and whistles around the whole thing.

    The NBA needs to take a long good look at the NFL, and takes notes on how to put on a good show. They have all the ingredients, they just don’t seem to know how to deliver. Seeing Shaq doing an impromptu dance (while taking his clothes off!) was deeply disturbing, and I’d rather not have to sit through that again.

    The fabricated reunion story was a good one, but once again the delivery was bad. The build-up was too obvious, Kobe and Shaq played their parts well, from the joking around during warm-up, to Kobe pointing to Shaq as the ASG MVP winner, to lifting the trophy together… but it was just too contrived and too neatly put together. A good media narrative, while solid and perfectly orchestrated, should never come across as such. It should look random, it should have some genuine drama… not complacent smiles and fake laughs throughout. Not to mention that every good narrative has at least a couple of subplots, but they were pretty squashed and kept out. I saw very little about the Shaq vs Superman match-up, and no mention of the Kobe vs LeBron “rivarlry”…

    That’s not to say that it wasn’t great fun to watch the events this weekend. The H.O.R.S.E. was fun, the game itself was great, and over-all, it was good entertainment. It’s just that it could have been so much better, if the micro-managing crew of media manipulators had been able to simply step back, and been content to let events unfold naturally.

  128. Minor but interesting thought: the East was favored because of the dynamic duo of Lebron and Wade. And they certainly started off better. But as soon as Kobe and Shaq got on the floor together, it was over. Kobe + Shaq >> Lebron + Wade

    Obviously there was a lot more to it, with CP3 going off too. But still, if you want to reach a bit, it kind of legitimizes how otherwordly those 3-peat teams were. I’d take my early 2000 Shaq-Kobe combo over any other theoretical 1-2 in the league.

  129. And in other news, the Suns franchise seems to have imploded while everyone was busy watching the All-Star scripted entertainment… once more reality trumps fiction. Phoenix goes down in flames?

  130. Oh I don’t know, I thought that Shaq dance was pretty awesome. In fact despite all the short comings I usually enjoy ASW quite a bit. To each their own I guess.

  131. Pau has hired a dance instructor and has begun training to do the Texas Two-Step during the intro next year.

  132. The difference in the game really was that the East had no legitimate big man depth. Rashard Lewis on Shaq? Yeah, Shaq sewed up his MVP when Stern chose Mo Williams to replace Bosh. I mean how many 7 footers did the West have, five? And the East had Dwight and KG. The game would have been much more competitive if the East had Big Z or Okafor or Rasheed (granted none of those guys deserved to be on the team and Mo Williams played great when he was in there).

  133. 133. New post coming on that later today.

    Personally, I liked the Shaq dance with the, what did Sager call them the Waberjockies? (that killed me). It was vintage Shaq the showman, he was a big kid having fun. Trying to crossover Howard at the three point line, that’s what the ASG is. My issues with Shaq were focus during the season and his ego getting in front of the team, but this is the perfect setting for his clowning.

  134. I personally loved watching Shaq dancing with the Jaberwockies.

  135. I guess the story here will be, Kobe could not win the MVP award by himself….he needed Shaq hahahaha….