Tag:2012 All-Star Game
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:26 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 10:50 pm
 

Video: Rubio through Cousins' legs to Griffin

Posted by Royce Young



Ricky Rubio was created by the basketball gods for the type of open floor, no defense setting featured in the Rising Stars game.

Really, Ricky Rubio was just created to make ridiculous plays, period. Care-free exhibition or not.

What honestly makes Rubio's dribble through DeMarcus Cousins' legs a little bit cooler is that it's not all that hard to picture it happening in a real NBA game. Except for the part about throwing it to Blake Griffin, because, you know, he's not on Rubio's team.

But you know a play has to be impressive when it catches your attention in a game like this. And Rubio's completely slick move definitely has my vote for move of the weekend so far. It's going to be hard to top.

Via @jose3030
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:53 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 3:06 pm
 

A clip from KD's movie 'Thunderstruck'

Posted by Royce Young



ORLANDO — It's definitely going to win any awards and it's probably not going to be scoring high on Rotten Tomatoes. It might not even be going to theaters, but Kevin Durant made a movie and there was a promotional press conference for it Friday in Orlando.

Durant was there with his two co-stars Tristan May and Taylor Gray as well as with a producer and the director. He answered some questions about it and when the clip rolled, he looked a little uncomfortable watching himself. Because originally, Durant didn't want to do the movie. It wasn't him, he said.

"When they first came to me with it, I was like 'No, I'm not going to do it,'" Durant said. "But after a while I wanted people to see a different side of me other than just playing basketball. And I'm glad I did. I had a lot of fun and stepped out of my comfort zone."  

The synopsis for the movie, which is definitely aimed for kids, is  "fun and energetic family basketball movie" starring Durant, as himself, playing a "basketball star who switches talent with a klutzy 16-year-old fan. When Brian, a hopelessly uncoordinated young fan, magically switches basketball  skills  with his hero, Kevin Durant, he becomes the star of his high  school team ... while Kevin Durant suddenly can’t make a shot to save his life. But with the playoffs approaching, Brian learns that being a true winner  involves working hard at your own game, and he tries to make things right in time to prevent a catastrophic end to his hero’s season."

Sounds awesome, huh? So why did Durant decide to do it?  Other than just doing something different (and I'm sure because of the money), he said one of his main goals was to help put OKC and the Thunder's name out there a bit more.

“That was one of my main goals when I first got to Oklahoma City," Durant said. "Whatever I do just try and represent it as much as I can. Because we are always underrated as a city and people always look down on us. So like I said, I just try and represent as much as a I can. With the film, seeing Thunder everywhere makes me feel good.”

But KD talked about the movie some, they showed a clip and they gave me a free mini basketball. So overall, score.

Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:21 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 4:01 pm
 

Kobe Bryant calls in sick to All-Star session

Kobe Bryant didn't feel like talking at All-Star availability Friday. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

ORLANDO -- The biggest horde of media during Friday's All-Star availability piled up around Kobe Bryant's table and waited. And waited. And waited.

But he didn't show. The official word from the league was that Kobe was sick. Which means that he won't be fined for missing it. Calling in sick is always the best excuse.

Still, it's an odd situation for one of the league's one or two more visible superstars to spurn the mass of reporters, both foreign and domestic. Some even waited there for the entire 30 minutes before a league spokesman finally came over and said Kobe wasn't coming.

Bryant was the top vote-getter in the West with better than 1.5 million votes. It's Kobe's 14th consecutive All-Star Game appearance, which ties him for the most all-time with Karl Malone, Jerry West and Shaquille O'Neal. So obviously he's been here and done that.

But the no-show was a bit curious. There were rumblings it might happen earlier in the week and it's up for speculation as for the reason why. Maybe he didn't want to talk about the Pau Gasol rumors. Maybe he didn't want to talk about the Laker organization potentially being a bit in disarray. Maybe he didn't want to talk about how excited he is to be here. Maybe he didn't want to answer questions about Jeremy Lin. Or maybe he was actually sick. Who knows.

Kobe does have another appearance scheduled for Friday night, a special "surprise" announcement with LeBron James, Omri Casspi, Serge Ibaka and Andrea Bargnani. We'll see if he calls in sick to that too. The only other availability for Bryant this weekend would be following Sunday's game. So by skipping the Friday time, he basically avoided pretty much the bulk of the questions he'd have to answer.

It's not the biggest deal in the world to skip out on the availability, even though he is the only player that didn't show up. All 23 of the other players were there and spent their 30 minutes talking to reporters.

Now if Kobe skips out on Sunday night, well, then that's certainly a big deal.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 8:32 pm
 

Chase Budinger prepares for the dunk contest

Posted by Royce Young



Most everyone wasn't exactly blown away when this year's All-Star slam dunk contest participants were announced. Derrick Williams, Paul George, Iman Shumpert and Chase Budinger isn't exactly a field that gets you pumped up.

But that's not so say those guys aren't taking things seriously and aren't going to try and put on a real show.

In what's clearly a planned video featuring teammate Chandler Parsons and a cardboard cutout of Yao Ming, Budinger is caught practicing a dunk over the likeness of the former 7-6 Houston Rocket. I don't know if that's one he's really planning, but points for thinking outside the box. Maybe we shouldn't write this dunk contest off quite yet.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 10:25 am
Edited on: February 16, 2012 12:04 pm
 

Dunk contest released: Jeremy Lin to have a part?

Posted by Royce Young

He won't be dunking, but Linsanity could have a role in the dunk contest. (Getty Images)

The 2012 dunk contest participants will be Paul George of the Pacers, Derrick Williams of the Timberwolves, Iman Shumpert of the Knicks and Chase Budinger of the Rockets, the NBA announced Thursday.

But that's not all. I guess in an effort to spice up the field as well as find a way to work Linsanity into All-Star Weekend, Jeremy Lin will also be playing a part. According to ESPN.com, Lin will be "assisting" Shumpert in some way, much in the same way Baron Davis helped out Blake Griffin at last year's contest.

The New York Daily News also reported that Lin would be part of the "Shooting Stars" competition, meaning he'd already be in the arena for All-Star Saturday night. David Stern has already said that Lin would not be a late addition to the Rising Stars game.

There will be a revamped format that will feature only one round and be voted on only by the fans. There no longer will be judges in the event, which also will be reduced to one round. Each contestant will execute three dunks. Fans will determine the champion by voting on NBA.com, Twitter or through text messaging. The format in recent years was two rounds, with a panel of judges voting on the first round before fan voting in the second.

As for the actual contest, it's a pretty weak field with no big name stars. Actually, when you really look it over, it might the weakest there's ever been. No disrespect to the participants, but none are exactly well known players to the casual NBA fan. Maybe Williams, just because the was the No. 2 overall pick.

Last year featured Blake Griffin, JaVale McGee, Serge Ibaka and DeMar DeRozan, four fairly well known players. This year has two rookies and two role players. Not exactly an eye-popping group. But let's break the field down anyway.

I'd say the early favorite has to be Williams, who is a bit in the Griffin mold of a big man with freakish leaping ability. He can always employ his teammate Ricky Rubio, who surely could zip a fancy pass Williams' way. Paul George is long and can jump. Budinger participated in the McDonald's All-American dunk contest in high school and has always been known as a big leaper.

But it might be hard to top Shumpert. Not because he's some fantastic dunker, but because of this being a fan vote thing and if he indeed brings along Lin, the people will likely speak on the side of the not just the Knicks, but of Lin.

I suppose the NBA is banking on Lin's "assisting" star power to give this contest a bump. Players are less and less inclined to participate in the event for the risk of injury and just the fact it's a stressful thing to add to an already busy weekend. Plus, the league sees it as an opportunity to welcome new faces to the casual fan with the possibility one of the guys does something unexpected and amazing. Vince Carter was a rising star, but he exploded as a household name after his dunk contest performance.

It might be a weak group lacking big names, but we'll all be watching anyway. And if you've watched much Paul George or Derrick Williams, you know that those two can fly. Who knows, we might be in for a pleasant surprise.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 7:40 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 9:11 pm
 

The five biggest All-Star snubs

Posted by Royce Young

Jennings tweeted after the announcement, "Just gotta work even harder now." (Getty Images)

The 2012 All-Star teams have been filled out and as always, there are some serious snubs. It's a select group that makes the All-Star Game as just seven spots in each conference are open for reserves. It's not easy to make it which means guys that have a great case to be there always get left out. You can't take everyone and there have to be cuts. So here the top five guys that have a reason to be disappointed. Feel free to create your own "snubbed from the snubs" list too.

Brandon Jennings

The Bucks aren't having a great season at 11-14, but it would be really bad without Jennings. He's averaging 18.9 points, 5.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game. He's third among Eastern point guards in scoring and has been terrific in a number of big Milwaukee wins, including both over the Heat. Again, what hurts him is that his team is 11-14, but that didn't seem to affect Deron Williams' candidacy much. Jennings has a legitimate gripe to be left out.

James Harden

You're saying, "James Harden? There are way bigger snubs than that. But there should be something to be said for a guy that’s second at his position. It just makes sense for Harden to have been included. He’s second in PER (21.94) in the West for shooting guard, only behind Kobe. He’s 22nd overall in PER in the league. He’s fourth in scoring among 2-guards. He’s the third best player on the team with the best record in basketball. And his beard has the power to heal blindness. Those five things should add up to enough to trump Dirk Nowitzki, who even said himself he shouldn't be there.

Paul Millsap

The Jazz have basically come out of nowhere to contend for a playoff spot. People are saying things like, "Whoa, where did the Jazz come from?" and "Hey, what are the Jazz doing in the top eight?" You know why? Because of Paul Millsap. He's averaging 16.5 points and 9.7 rebounds which aren't as gaudy as his power forward counterparts in the West, but definitely better than Dirk who has missed a good number of games and isn't playing close to his level.

Kyrie Irving

He's a rookie. He's playing for a not great team. But as Blake Griffin proved last season if your play is outstanding, those things aren't supposed to matter. Look at Irving's 21.66 PER. That's top 25 in the entire league. And he's exploded over the last month too. He's really blossoming into one of the East's very best point guard and with the reserves just having two point guards, Irving has a good case to be a third.

Kyle Lowry

The top snub in my mind. Lowry isn't just having an All-Star caliber season. He's having potentially an MVP caliber season. His numbers don't pop -- 14.7 ppg, 7.9 apg and 5.8 rpg -- but considering his importance to the now 15-11 Houston Rockets, he has to be considered one of the elite players in the West. It's tough because the Western team is already guard heavy and it would be tough to say Lowry should go ahead of Tony Parker or Steve Nash, but this shouldn't be about name recognition. It should be about this season and Lowry is having as good a year for a point guard as anyone in the conference not named Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 3:27 pm
 

Report: Griffin to play in Rookie/Sophomore game

Posted by Royce Young

Blake Griffin could be headed for another hectic All-Star Weekend as he's already been voted in a starter for the Western Conference, has been named in the Rookie/Sophomore game and might participate in the dunk contest.

Griffin said recently that "last year was hectic and it kind of made it unenjoyable" so that would make one think he'd scale back on his participation. But according to the O.C. Register, Griffin will indeed play in the now titled "Rising Stars Challenge" on Friday night.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin was one of 18 first and second-year players selected to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge Friday night during All-Star Weekend in Orlando. And despite already being named a starter for the Western Conference in the big game, Griffin will still participate in the Rising Stars game, a team source confirmed Wednesday.

The two teams will be selected by Shaq and Charles Barkley and Griffin will almost assuredly be the top pick. At least that's where I have him on my big board. The draft will take place on NBATV Feb. 16.

With Griffin playing in the Rising Stars game, that would likely cancel him out for the dunk contest, if what he said is true about doing less this season. Because last year in Los Angeles, Griffin did all three and was obviously worn out from the weekend. He hinted that he might consider the dunk contest when asked, but I wouldn't bet on it now. I'm actually a bit surprised he's playing in the Rising Stars game, really.

The game is on Friday, Feb. 24.

Posted on: February 8, 2012 2:53 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 4:05 pm
 

NBA releases Rookie/Soph 'player pool'

Posted by Royce Young

Irving leads the rookie class in this year's reformatted Rookie Challenge. (Getty Images)

The NBA's Rookie Challenge is getting a facelift this season. Instead of just matching up rookies against second-year players, there will be a "player pool" in which two general managers -- Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley -- to pick from. Which means the rookies and sophomores will be mixed.

The 18 players picked are (sophomores first): Blake Griffin, Landry Fields, DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, Gordon Hayward, Greg Monroe, Tiago Splitter, Evan Turner and John Wall. From the rookie class, Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio, MarShon Brooks, Brandon Knight, Kawhi Leonard, Markieff Morris, Tristan Thompson, Kemba Walker and Derrick Williams.

No Iman Shumpert is definitely a snub though. NBA assistant coaches are the ones who voted on this list of players.

If Griffin indeed is playing, as one report says he is, he's the obvious No. 1 overall pick but after that, it'll be a little interesting. I imagine John Wall will be taken second, but Irving and Rubio have a shot at it.

Here's my rookie/sophomore big board:

1. Blake Griffin - Obvious top player. A franchise cornerstone where in this case, the franchise is a one-game exhibition no one really cares about.

2. John Wall - Maybe not having the best season for the struggling Wizards, but in this format could be the best player on the floor.

3. Kyrie Irving - Irving is maybe actually All-Star material. You can't go wrong taking him second overall, but if Griffin plays, an Irving-Griffin tandem is likely.

4. Ricky Rubio - Whoever has the No. 2 pick will likely be forced to pull a Kahn and take two point guards with his top two picks. But you can't pass on Rubio. Plus, a Wall-Rubio backcourt makes enough sense.

5. Greg Monroe - Every team needs a skilled big man and Monroe is the class of the class.

6. Paul George - You probably haven't noticed yet, but George is having a breakout season.

7. DeMarcus Cousins - Lucky for whoever takes Cousins, this is only one game and things like "character" and "chemistry" don't really factor in.

8. Evan Turner - It's not hard to see Turner excelling in this game. Good passer and a steady shooting guard that can score off the dribble.

9. Kemba Walker - Walker's versatility gives him value. He could play point or off the ball. And I bet he'll try a crossover so nasty in this game that it breaks someone in the crowd's ankles.

10. MarShon Brooks - It wouldn't shock me if Brooks ends up the high scorer in this game.

11. Derrick Williams - His jumper hasn't been as good as advertised thus far and he hasn't sniffed a breakout moment yet, but Williams might feel more at home against guys his own age.

12. Gordon Hayward - Now you're getting to the point where you're going off name recognition.

13. Kawhi Leonard - A good defender really isn't something that valuable in this game, but Leonard has a pretty solid outside touch.

14. Tristan Thompson - This isn't an indictment on Thompson as a player to have him this low, but in this format, I don't think he'll be much more than an alley-oop target and someone to grab rebounds that come directly to him.

15. Brandon Knight - Who wants a fifth point guard on their team?

16. Landry Fields - Pretty much the same explanation for Leonard could go right here.

17. Tiago Splitter - The biggest big man that needs the ball on the block to be effective. So who wants the boring post player?

18. Markieff Morris - I assume this is the better Morris because he was named to the pool. Bragging rights!
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com