Tag:2012 All-Star Weekend
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 2:53 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 2:48 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 20, 2012 3:09 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 3:18 pm

NBA announces All-Star Skills Challenge field

Posted by Ben Golliver  

Russell Westbrook shows off his skills during the 2011 Skills Challenge. (Getty Images)

Wow! Did you just see him dribble around that cone?

On Monday, the NBA announced the field for its annual Skills Challenge, a pointless and confusing event in which players dribble and their pass their way around the court in a timed competition. The Skills Challenge annually serves as a prelude to the Three-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday night. This year's group is made up entirely of point guards, including three All-Stars, Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets), two participants in the Rising Stars Challenge, Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards), and defending champion Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors).

Here's the full explanation of how this event works.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta and features six players competing in a two-round timed “obstacle course” consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The three players with the fastest times from the first round advance to the finals with the order of competition determined by inverse order of the first round times. At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will be televised live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night. Coverage will begin at 7 p.m. EST from Amway Center in Orlando.

The key components to winning the Skills Challenge are precision and actually giving a (bleep). That tends to favor the younger guys.

Last year, Curry finished first, Westbrook finished second and Wall finished fourth. Williams won the Skills Challenge in 2008. None of the other participants are past champions.

One interesting note: this year's field includes the NBA's top-3 turnover-generating players: Westbrook, Wall and Williams. Irving is No. 13, Curry is No. 18 and Parker is No. 37. 

Handicapping this thing is the definition of a fruitless exercise, but a repeat performance from Curry or a debut victory from Irving would probably be this year's least shocking results.
Posted on: February 16, 2012 8:51 pm
Edited on: February 16, 2012 8:52 pm

NBA holds Rising Stars draft for rookies, sophs

By Matt Moore 

The NBA held the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge draft Thursday night, the first time the two selected celebrity coaches would draft their own teams from the available pool of eligible selected rookies and sophomores. Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley alternated picks on a live telecast on NBATV, with Barkley coming away with a well-rounded, not-as-star-studded roster and Shaq essentially taking Blake Griffin, Greg Monroe and a bunch of guards. 

Jeremy Lin was a late addition to the pool, along with Norris Cole, after Lin's meteoric rise to stardom created a public outcry to place Lin into the competition. 

Notable from the selections were O'Neal taking Blake Griffin first overall, John Wall sliding to the seventh pick, Lin going second overall to O'Neal's team and an amazing instance of serendipity as Charles Barkley, a brash, rebounding, aggressive big man took DeMarcus Cousins, who is very much in line with the traits Barkley possessed at his age. 

Kyrie Irving going first for Barkley's team shows how strongly most consider the sharpshooting Rookie of the Year leader. 

2012 NBA Rising Stars Challenge




Blake Griffin


Kyrie Irving

Jeremy Lin


DeMarcus Cousins

Ricky Rubio


Gordon Hayward

Markieff Morris


Paul George

Greg Monroe


Derrick Williams

Landry Fields


MarShon Brooks

Norris Cole


John Wall

Kemba Walker


Tiago Splitter

Brandon Knight


Evan Turner

Tristan Thompson


Kawhi Leonard

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.


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.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com