The NBA All-Star game is one of my favorite sporting events.
It’s not because the stakes are high (they’re not) or that the result means anything more than some bragging rights for the conference that wins (it doesn’t), but because of the sheer amount of talent that’s on the floor playing the game at its highest level. (At least when the fourth quarter comes and both teams bear down and try to win.)
The NBA is a league of superstars and while there are some who aren’t in this game today (Dirk Nowitzki, Derrick Rose, and Rajon Rondo are a few examples), this game still boasts the best players in the world doing what they do best for our entertainment. How can you not love that?
While the Lakers are well represented in this game with Kobe and Dwight starting for the West, my focus isn’t really on them today. To be completely honest, this weekend has been a nice reprieve from all things Lakers. This season has been a trying one not just for the players and team execs, but for the fans.
So, even though I think it’s great (and pretty amazing in his 17th season) that Kobe is in this game again and is showing few signs of it being his last appearance and that Dwight, despite a year that’s not been up to his normal (incredibly high) standards, is his conference’s starting Center again, I’m actually just looking forward to good basketball from the best players without my entire focus being on how far back the Lakers are behind the Rockets for the 8th seed. That stuff can wait for another day.
For me, today is about LeBron, Durant, Wade, and CP3 — four players who lead some of the best teams in the league. It’s about Timmy and KG — two front court legends who are still playing at an extremely high level. It’s about Westbrook and Kyrie — two young PG’s who go about their craft in different ways, but are so damn entertaining for how they play. It’s about first timers like Noah and George; about the walking highlight reel Blake Griffin who will, for the foreseeable future, be a starter in this game. And, of course, I’ll be interested in Kobe and Dwight — two teammates who seem have been mainstays in this game for nearly their entire careers but for the first time team up in this game.
How the game unfolds is anyone’s guess. My two cents are that the game is pretty close throughout, but that the West will take command at some point (likely right before the end of the first half or start of the 2nd). I then envision the East making a run to get the game close down the stretch with LeBron leading the way. And then, in the end, I see the West holding on with some key shot making coming from Durant and Kobe.
A few additional thoughts:
- How much will Dwight play? He’s openly spoken about how his back is at around 75% and, of course, he still has a torn labrum. My hope is that he plays around 15 minutes, has his good time, and then takes his seat on the bench while the other big men take most of the minutes.
- Will the East’s newcomers show any nerves? Brook Lopez, Joakim Noah, and Paul George are all first timers. I think Noah will play his normal game; he’s a low usage big man and games like this are typically dominated by the guards anyway. Lopez and George, though, are high usage players who are used to scoring the ball and doing multiple things to help their team win. Sometimes, those guys can struggle when it’s their first time on this stage.
- Will Pop rest his guys? Timmy has missed games lately with a sore knee and Parker has been carrying a big load for the Spurs this year. I’d imagine he’d give them token minutes and then let them rest up. We’ll see, however.
- One of the things I love about this game are the potential for wild lineups. For example, I’d love to see a Paul, Westbrook, Harden, Durant, and Griffin lineup just to see all that athleticism and finishing ability flanking Paul. In the East, I’d love to see a Kyrie, Wade, LeBron, Carmelo, and Noah lineup for the mix of elite scoring with Noah’s frenetic energy and passing ability in the middle of it all. There are many other variations, of course.
At the end of the day, the stories will play out and write themselves. I’m just happy we get to watch it all go down. Enjoy the game, folks. It should be a good one.
Kobe Alert: This All Star weekend is perhaps a welcome rest for our franchise as a whole, however for our franchise player, it is yet another chance to showcase his skills against the leagues elite. Kobe owns this game. He was named to his 15th All Star Team which is tied with Shaq and Garnett, and is second only to Kareem (19). Kobe was voted as a starter for the 15th time in a row, which both in sheer numbers and the fact that it is consecutive, are both records. He has received more votes than any other player in history (Shaq 2nd). At tip-off he and Garnett will be playing in their 14th game, which will pull them out of a 7 way tie for 2nd all time (only behind Kareem with 18). Also at tip-off Kobe will pull out of a three way tie with MJ and Kareem, to take over first alone with his 14th actual start.. Kobe is the all time All Star scorer with 271 points (MJ 2nd). He is also 1st all time in Field Goals (MJ 2nd). In spite of already having moved by MJ in points and FGs, KB is only in 2nd place for FGAs, a full 15 attempts behind MJ. Kobe is 2nd to Ray Allen in both All Star 3 pointers made and attempted. Again KB is hitting for a much better percentage as he needs 2 makes to move by Allen, but 11 attempts just to equal him. To support the claim that KB does not get his share of calls at times, in spite of all these shots from the field, KB is not even in the top 20 for FTAs. He is in 19th for FTs and can vault up that list with a few makes (of course he would need to sent to the line – perhaps that Punk Wade will do that). Kobe is 6th all time in the offensive rebound category and needs 8 to catch Dr J and Kareem. He is 13th for defensive rebounds and can catch David Robinson for 12th with 1 board, and Patrick Ewing for 11th with 6. Kobe needs 1 dime to break a three way tie for 8th on the all time All Star helper list (tied with Jerry West and A Iverson). He needs 3 Steals to move by MJ in yet another category, for 1st all time. He is currently 6th on the minutes list, and can vault up that list with some decent play time in this game. He is tied with Bob Pettit with 4 All Star MVPs. So, as you can see Kobe already leads many of the these categories, should take over a few more today, and basically dominates this game when looking at the entirety of NBA history. In other words whether it is regular season, playoffs, or the All Star Game – Kobe Rules !
Nice one Robert! Kobe only has a couple more of these games left in his career, so we should all enjoy them while we can. I’ll miss watching him play! Unlike when Jordan hung ’em up for the first time, there will be plenty of players to carry the NBA into the future.
I’d like to thank the NBA All-Star Weekend schedulers for helping to put things in perspective. Dwight Howard may be an absolutely infuriating diva at times, but at the end of the day, at least he’s not Kesha.
Great Kobe Alert. My guess is that this puts Sacre 2-3 behind Madsen in the “Years Holding a Roster Spot when the Lakers had two guys in the ASG” category.
Some of those all-star lineups mentioned in the article would be very entertaining. Particularly the Western’s version.
I like Kyrie Irving!!!!!!!!!!!
Robert, I’ll keep stats of Kobe just to see if he pass MJ in another category.
Interested to see if Howard goofs off like he did in his last start when he was with the East.
Just wondering if Harden, Durant and Westbrook will only pass to each other. And you know Paul will try to get Griffin going.
Western team wins this!
Good to see that Neyo was able to avoid the dreaded ‘Wardrobe Malfunction’ by catching his hat before it flew off that dome of his.
Kobe Bryant. That is the great question. Do the Lakers spit on the end of Kobe’s Lakers career? Should the team only care about winning or about doing the (my opinion) third greatest NBA player of all time right and let him be on playoff teams in his final years? Would he be okay singing with a contender? Kobe is still good enough (look at this year) to keep the Lakers out of a top pick by himself. So it would be counter productive to have him on the roster with a bunch of scrubs. I’m a business is business kid of guy when it comes to the bottom line which is championships for this organization. The ultimate question is if doing Kobe wrong would hurt the teams credibility with other superstar players? Lots of questions but only one set of perfect plays for the Lakers to orchestrate. Will they make the right choices…
Well, so far, Dwight looks as terrible with a bunch of all-stars as he does with the Lakeshow.
So Far same Dwight. ;fumble, missed shot, no rebound and zero defense!
This guy is not a All-Star. Looked terrible.
His trade value is dropping faster then home prices in Bakersfield.
Chris Paul is so good. Laker would be top 5 in NBA with him.
Dwight is the least athletic player that has played so far. Aaron called it but it’s sad to see when he’s playing alongside these athletes. He cannot move at all.
Dwight is the Mel Count of today.
Irving is unbelievable.
As a fan would you rather watch 4 years of a talent like him or 4 years of fumbling, bumbling Dwight.
Hope the FO sees Blake and Paul and realizes that’s ShowTime. Instead we have NoTown. Rather see Knicks center on Lakers. Guy plays hard every minute.
Kenny T says
This all star game is boring as hell.Can’t manufacture excitement. Alicia Keys is the MVP.
If Dwight Howard is going to be a part of this team for the future, I’ll have to remember to watch as little of his interviews as possible, because every time he tries to be funny, I want to break something. I’m no old fogey – I was in college just a few years ago – but his mental maturity is so childish, it’s almost ludicrous. Kudos to Kobe and Nash for not taking his head off yet. I wouldn’t have the same patience.
On the positive, this is a fairly fun ASG. Durant is a little trigger-happy (although much better than usual for him) but otherwise the players are spreading the wealth, getting everyone involved, and everyone is flashing their incredible talent.
Oh Kobe!! The sweet crossover and then the block on LBJ!
Two best players on the court are Chris Paul and Irving. By far. Neither are Lakers. Neither are big men.
Meet the NEW NBA.
Love Kobe D-ing up Lebron! Maybe he can guard Lebron when they meet in the Finals this year! Oh wait… 🙂
Kobe could play this type of defense if he didn’t have to score on offense too. Too bad Dwight sucks otherwise Kobe could do this every game.
Exactly, Kevin. He doesn’t have to score in this game. He doesn’t have Metta out there chucking up bricks!
Lebron has been Kobe’s b*tch tonight. Haha!
Wow Kobe with another block!
If only Kobe does this well against LeBron in the regular season. Look at LeBron walk slowly up the court after his missed free throw; he’s beat.
I might get killed for this, but hear me out… I love tonight’s all-star game because the refs stay out of the way and let the players play. You’re not really seeing some of the garbage officiating that you would normally see with these guys in normal games. Of course, you also saw Harden get away with about 4 travels tonight too because the whistles were swallowed.
Love what Kobe did against Lebron and Harden did against Wade. Cp3 was ridiculous tonight too. Good game!
If only Kobe does this well against LeBron in the regular season.
Exactly. And that’s just why, as much as the ‘Media Mouths’ will try to blow this up (especially after Jordan’s comments), in actuality it means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Pretty sure that LeBron feels the same way.
Jordan said that Kobe is just as cursed as he is. He wants it so bad that he is willing to play 38 mins at the age of 34, and guard the point guard…that’s ludicrous!
Kobe played defense against Lebron because he knew that Lebron was going to try to take over in the waning minutes of the 4th to win the game. Kobe took it upon himself to prevent Lebron from doing that. Also, as someone said it was the ultimate compliment.
Kyrie Irving in Los Angeles?
T. Rogers says
Kyrie Irving in Los Angeles?
We can only dream.
Although this may have been tied into comments made by Michael Jordan, if that was Kobe’s last All-Star game (God forbid) he proved that he was willing to except the challenge of LeBrawn’s end of game heroics. Nobody even noticed he ended LeBrawn’s 20 point scoring streak in All-Star games.
As far as Jordan’s comments, LeBrawn may never equal Kobe or Jordan in competitiveness, he is a much more gifted specimen than either. He is stronger and bigger than both guys and rebounds better too. They may be better scorers, but he is just as unstoppable due to his strength. Though he’s killing it right now, we all know that he has a way higher ceiling. I hate the guy as much as I hate Boston (the Lepers and the Dead Socks) but I respect him.
How about Kyrie and Varejao for Pau?
How about Kyrie and Varejao for Pau?
More than likely, you’re joking. Right? But if not, in the eloquent words of T. Rogers, “We can only dream.”
Did anyone else notice that Shaq said something to Kobe to piss him off at half time? They greeted each other with a smile as Kibe was walking off the court but Shaq said something to Kobe as he patted him on the back and Kobe turned around and gave him a death stare.
Yes Tra I was joking but I can dream can’t I?!?!
Yes Tra I was joking but to quote Terry Thomas “But I can dream can’t I?!?!”
RIP Dr. Jerry Buss. Thank you for all that you did for the Lakers. You will be missed. Thoughts are prayers to your family and friends. A sad day not just in Lakers Land but in basketball.
A very sad day for the Lakers organization and the NBA. My thoughts go out to the Buss family.
Darius Soriano says
A new post is up.