Tag:2012 All-Star
Posted on: February 24, 2012 11:25 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 11:32 pm
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Greg Monroe steals dunk from John Wall

Posted by Royce Young and Ben Golliver   

Washington Wizards guard John Wall was holding an impressive one-man impromptu Dunk Contest during the second half of Friday's Rising Stars Challenge but then Detroit Pistons big man Greg Monroe stepped in to kill all the fun.

After Wall completed an alley-oop, a left-handed cockback and a behind-his-own-back dunk that had the Amway Center on its feet, he lined up a self alley-oop pass from outside the 3-point line. His plan: attempt a between-his-legs dunk to finish the evening on a high note.

The only problem? Monroe stepped in to swipe the ball, killing Wall's chance while drawing some jeers.

"I was going to try the between-the-legs," Wall said. "I've never tried that before. He stole the ball. He messed my up my rhythm." 

Here's the video of Greg Monroe stealing a dunk attempt from John Wall via YouTube user SoccerKevin11.



Of course, Monroe's unexpected pilfering was hilarious.

"It was just a joke," Monroe said. "He got another shot at it. The game was over so it wasn't a big deal... I thought about it right when I did it. It was real quick. I was thinking about letting him go but then ..."

Monroe tailed off, and shrugged his shoulders.

Wall was able to laugh it off too, although he said he has plans to get revenge when the Wizards host the Pistons on Mar. 26.

"It's just fun. Don't get mad at him for it. He did it so I'm going to try to dunk on him when we play them... It was funny. I was going to try something else but he took it away from me. The crowd didn't like it. You get a little upset but it's an All-Star Game. We're having fun. You just let it go."

As the players filed into post-game media availability, Monroe ran ahead of the pack to snag a Gatorade bottle that had been placed on the table of New Jersey Nets guard MarShon Brooks.

"Are you going to steal that too?" Brooks asked, incredulous.

Wall and Brooks got the last laugh, as their Team Chuck, coached by Charles Barkley, defeated Monroe's Team Shaq, coached by Shaquille O'Neal, 146-133.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:14 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 9:09 pm
 

Jeremy Lin: Bias provides 'chip on shoulder'

Posted by Ben Golliver   

Jeremy Lin discussed the bias he faced from talent evaluators during All-Star Weekend (Getty Images)

ORLANDO -- Jeremy Lin knows exactly how much he was overlooked.

"I think ESPN had me as the 467th best player out of 500 or something like that coming into the season," Lin said, speaking in front of a standing room at Amway Center on Friday night.

Lin, a Taiwanese-American, said that he believes that a biased perception of Asian-American athletes was a contributing factor in his being underrated by NBA talent evaluators during the last few years.

"I think it has something to do with it," Lin, who was undrafted out of Harvard in 2010 and cut by both the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets this season, said. "I don't know how much. But I think just being Asian-American, obviously when you look at me, I'm going to have to prove myself more so again and again and again, and some people may not believe it."

Preconceived notions about his race, Lin said, choosing his words carefully, might even have influenced the language used to describe his skillset.

"I know a lot of people say I'm deceptively athletic and deceptively quick, and I'm not sure what's 'deceptive.' But it could be the fact that I'm Asian-American. But I think that's fine. It's something that I embrace, and it gives me a chip on my shoulder." 

The media contingent began arriveing more than a half-hour before Lin's press conference, which was televised live on NBA TV. Unlike the other participants in the Rising Stars Challenge game, Lin did not conduct interviews following Friday morning's practice. Instead, he filled 10 rows of chairs in Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy's Amway Center press conference room, with reporters hugging both walls as well. Eventually, the doors were closed and media members were turned away due to a lack of space.

Lin went on to state that the doubts about his abilities continued into his tenure with the New York Knicks, where he has become a breakout star since moving into the starting point guard role. He confirmed reports that he had attended a group chapel service with a number of fellow NBA players and admitted that he had prayed that he wouldn't be released before cut day, as his contract was not yet guaranteed.

"I went to chapel with Jerome Jordan and Landry Fields and the chaplain asked us to share a prayer request," Lin remembered. "I knew February 10th was right around the corner, so that was what was on my heart. Just that I would be able to continue to stay on the roster and be with the team the rest of the year. So that's kind of what I shared with the group of guys."

The prayer, he said, was the result of feeling as if getting released would put him at a crossroads.

"I really didn't have a Plan B to be honest... I was thinking about three main options: overseas, D-League or to just take a break or give up basketball for awhile. And I just didn't really know. I was just trying not to think about it basically. I just said, if I get cut by the Knicks, then I'll take a look at all that, but until then, I want to make sure I try to stay focused and not think negatively.

That prayer session probably feels like years ago to Lin, who currently ranks in the top-20 in player efficiency in the NBA. Nevertheless, his frugal lifestyle remains the same.

"I'm still a minimum guy," he said quickly when asked if he had "splurged" on anything recently. "That hasn't changed."
Posted on: February 24, 2012 7:54 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 8:04 pm
 

Jeremy Lin explains Slam Dunk Contest couch plan

Iman Shumpert and Jeremy Lin's dunk would have involved a couch, Landry Fields and Sprite. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver   

ORLANDO -- Blake Griffin's dunk-over-the-Kia will remain the corniest Slam Dunk Contest concept for at least another year.

New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert was a late scratch due to injury, and Shumpert's departure prevented Knicks guard Jeremy Lin from taking the Slam Dunk Contest to a whole new level of ridiculousness. 

Lin, a 23-year-old Taiwanese-American, has become a global sensation over the last few weeks. He barely avoided getting released by the Knicks before emerging as a big-time player once he moved into a starting role in February. The symbol of Lin's rags-to-riches journey became a couch, as he was reportedly crashing on the living room furniture of his teammate, Landry Fields, and his brother because he didn't want to rent his own place in Manhattan with his future unknown.

Word leaked earlier this week that the Knicks guard duo planned to incorporate Lin and a couch into their 2012 Slam Dunk Contest routine.

Lin laid out the whole plan in detail during a Friday press conference prior to the Rising Stars Challenge.

"We actually had a sweet idea," Lin explained. "Landry was going to roll a couch out with a cover over it, I was going to be sleeping underneath it, and then we were going to pull the cover, I was going to throw Iman an alley-oop from the couch, and he was going to jump over both me and the couch, windmill it and then sit down and have Landry hand him a Sprite. That was our idea, but it didn't happen."

Shumpert scratched last week due to a sore knee, and he was replaced by Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans. Shumpert will also sit out the Rising Stars Challenge.

"He got hurt and hopefully he gets better," Lin said. "We miss him and wish he was here with us in this game that we're about to play."
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:48 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 3:03 pm
 

Dwight Howard dodges trade talk, hides behind Lin

Posted by Ben Golliver  
Magic center Dwight Howard faced a huge media crowd on All-Star Friday. (Sergio Gonzalez)

ORLANDO -- Dwight Howard did his best to dodge the trade talk, but when the questions kept coming, he took cover behind the only NBA story bigger than his future with the Orlando Magic: Linsanity.

"The situation right now is All-Star Weekend," Howard said, when asked for the latest on impending free agency and trade demand. "That's the only thing that matters right now. This is the moment -- this is All-Star Weekend. We're going to have fun and we're going to enjoy ourselves. All that stuff can go on after All-Star Weekend."

Howard drew by far the largest media crowd on All-Star Friday, with more than a dozen cameras and dozens of reporters crowded together to hear the latest updates regarding his happiness with the city, his relationship with the city's fans, and everything else. Sizing up the scene, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who dealt with the media's obsessesion with "Melodrama" during the 2011 All-Star Weekend, shook his head and shouted to Howard, "Thanks."

The questions kept coming, and, after picking Jeremy Evans to win the Slam Dunk Contest and teammate Ryan Anderson to win the Three-Point Contest, Howard didn't wait very long to pull out his ace card.

"Right now, my focus is on having a great time and being a great host with all these great players around us. This is Jeremy Lin's first All-Star. I'm going to make sure I get with him and have some fun with Jeremy Lin."

The tactic worked fairly well, as the floodgate of Lin inquiries opened wide. The NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year said that he's been impressed with the play of the Knicks' sensational guard, but made it clear he is relishing the opportunity to bring him back down to Eath.

"I think it's one of the best stories... It's crazy," Howard said. "He's all over the place. Every time you turn on the TV it's something about Lin, which is great. I'm happy for him. He's been playing great basketball. The Knicks are winning so a lot of people are happy. He hasn't went up against the Great Wall of Orlando yet. We'll see what happens then."

Despite Howard's best efforts, the questions kept popping back up, although the scene was more conversational than confrontational as Howard played the "host" card, talked up the Magic's playoff chances, and complimented Magic fans many times. Howard said the Magic have "an opportunity just like every other team in the NBA to win a championship" and pointed out that Orlando has the NBA's fifth best record. 

"I don't care about none of the other stuff that's being said," Howard repeated. "We're going to have fun this weekend. We're going to show everybody our city. All the other stuff can wait."

Asked again about his contract situation, Howard put down his fist. "We're not going to talk about it."

Howard appeared relaxed, but tired, and said he was operating on three hours of sleep. He noted that he's hosting parties in Orlando all weekend long and joked to one reporter that he didn't meet the appropriate height requirement to be invited and that he looked like a character from Jersey Shore.

The joking was a bit off-key and not met with the hearty laughs that the charismatic Howard often receives. Perhaps the subtext of tension between Howard and the media that has covered him like a blanket this season was trickling in. Howard made a point of mentioning that media accounts of a stressed relationship with Magic fans are not representative of his day-to-day interactions around Orlando, which he also referred to as "my city."

"A lot of the fans here are just, 'Whatever you decide to do we're behind you 100 percent.' They've been great despite what people may say or think. The fans here have always been great to me. I really appreciate it. They've shown me nothing but love since day one. I've done the same thing. The city means a lot to me."

Those comments probably make fans in Cleveland cringe, after hearing a similar refrain from LeBron James before he left to team up with fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat during the Summer of 2010. Howard didn't totally distance himself from James, who was seated nearby with less than half of the media attention that Howard received. 

"LeBron did it his way, he did what was best for him," Howard concluded. "I will do what's best for Dwight."
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 1:55 pm
 

Colangelo: Lin to be considered for USA Select

Team USA head Jerry Colangelo says they will consider Lin for USA Select. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ben Golliver  

ORLANDO -- Could Jeremy Lin's overnight success story wind up landing him a future spot with Team USA?

It's possible, according to USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo, who told reporters at an All-Star Weekend press conference that the New York Knicks guard will be given consideration for USA Basketball's Select Team, a player pool used to cultivate potential Team USA members. 

"We'll look at him as well as anyone else who is doing the job," Colangelo said. "If we think they are worthy of being invited we'll bring them in to Las Vegas to do just that."

Colangelo said that "a list of names" was being formed and that Lin was "off to this great start" for the Knicks.

"Everyone has to pay their dues," Colangelo said. "We told players if you join us I promise you we are going to be successful but you have to do it our way. Those who participate earn equity in our program… There's a lot of players who want to play, who are paying their dues with the select team, who have participated with us over the last six years. No exceptions."

Team USA is stacked with point guard talent, with Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Deron Williams expected to represent USA at the 2012 London Olympics. Asked if Lin's skillset was a fit with what Team USA looks for from its floor generals, Colangelo withheld judgment, but said that Lin is in an ideal spot with the Knicks, playing for Team USA assistant coach Mike D'Antoni.

"It's too early," he said. "I wouldn't even make a judgment like that. I would say, I believe that he's in the right situation to do well in New York. The way Mike D'Antoni plays offense. It's the extended dribble. In a different kind of configuration like the triangle I think it would be more challenging for him, not that he couldn't do it. I just think we just have to appreciate what he's done so far. Period. Commend him for what he's done. It's a great story." 

Lin, a 23-year-old Taiwanese-American from California, went undrafted out of Harvard. His rise to NBA prominence seems to embody the spirit of dues paying that Team USA has tried to cultivate in recent years.

"I think it's wonderful," Colangelo said. "I love that. The whole story is great. First of all, think about the impact he is having and would have if this continues on the average guy, the average player. Hope. It doesn't get any better than that."
Posted on: February 22, 2012 1:20 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 7:04 pm
 

Rajon Rondo named East All-Star replacement

Rajon Rondo is headed to Orlando. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver

Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo has been named as an injury replacement for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, according to the Boston Globe and Celtics Radio. The NBA confirmed the selection on Wednesday afternoon. 

Rondo will replace Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson, who was diagnosed with tendinitis in his left knee and is sitting out two games this week, in this Sunday's All-Star Game at Amway Center in Orlando.

He will join an Eastern Conference roster that includes starters Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard, plus reserves Chris Bosh, Roy Hibbert, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Luol Deng and Andre Iguodala.

Johnson is the game's first and only injury scratch so far.

Rondo, 26, is averaging 14.8 points, 9.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 37.0 minutes per game. He's played in just 22 games this season though, which is what led to his snubbing in the first place. This will be Rondo's third consecutive All-Star appearance.

Earlier this week, Rondo was suspended two games for throwing a basketball at an official, which earned him an ejection.

According to the Associated Press, Celtics coach Doc Rivers joked: "When you get named to the All-star, you should take one game of suspension away."
Posted on: February 15, 2012 5:01 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 6:59 pm
 

Kevin Durant added to Three-Point Contest

James Jones will look to defend his 3-point shooting crown. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver  

Update: Atlanta Hawks guard Joe Johnson will sit out both the All-Star Game and the Three-Point Contest, due to tendonitis in his left knee. Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant will replace him, according to the Thunder. Durant also participated in the 2011 Three-Point Contest.

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Bombs away.

The NBA announced its field of six competitors for the annual Three-Point Contest, a Saturday staple of All-Star Weekend. This year's Three-Point Contest will take place at the Amway Center in Orlando on Saturday, Feb. 25.

The field includes Miami Heat forward James Jones, the defending champion, plus Heat guard Mario Chalmers, Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star forward Kevin Love, Atlanta Hawks All-Star guard Joe Johnson, Orlando Magic forward Ryan Anderson and New Jersey Nets guard Anthony MorrowLast week, Love revealed that he would be among the competitors.

Chalmers leads this year's field with 46.3 percent 3-point shooting. He's actually not even the best 3-point shooter on the Heat, as Mike Miller is connecting on 52.1 percent of his tries, although he's only taken 48 through Tuesday night's action. Anderson is next at 42.1 percent (22nd in the league among shooters with enough attempts), Morrow is at 42.0 percent (26th in the league), Love is at 36.1 percent (63rd in the league) and Johnson is at 35.6 percent (65th in the league). Jones is shooting 40.4 percent from deep but hasn't hoisted enough threes to make the leaderboard. He would place in the mid-thirties if he had.

Here's how the competition works, in case you are new to the sport of basketball.

The players will compete in the two-round competition with the top three finishers from the first round advancing to the finals. Five shooting stations will be set up around the three-point line, with four Official Spalding NBA game balls worth one point each and one Spalding NBA All-Star 2012 commemorative “money ball” worth two points at each location. Each player will have one minute to shoot as many balls as he can. In the final round, players will shoot in ascending order of first-round scores. At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.

At 2011 All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles, Jones defeated a field that included Boston Celtics All-Star forward Paul Piece, Celtics All-Star guard Ray Allen, Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors forward Dorell Wright and Cleveland Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson.
 
 
 
 
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