Posted on: February 18, 2011 3:04 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2011 3:23 pm
Posted by Matt Moore
Live quotes from NBA All-Star Media Availability from our crew at the event:
Posted on: February 9, 2011 11:24 am
Posted by Royce Young
All-Star weekend is really all about the show and not so much basketball. It's an event, a party and with it in Los Angeles, it will include the stars.
So the entertainment is important. Last year, Usher was pretty awesome and the halftime act from Alicia Keyes was solid.
This year, Lenny Kravitz will be handling pre-game duties, playing his song "Come On Get It" as the starters are announced. Josh Groban will sing the national anthem and for halftime, Rihanna will perform.
But that's not all!
Keri Hilson will sing the anthem on Saturday night before the skill competitions, Cee Lo Green will perform "Forget You" between events and before the slam dunk contest, Far East Movement will perform "Rockateer."
Finally, Friday night, Cali Swag District will perform "Teach Me How To Dougie" before the Rookie/Sophomore game. Of course John Wall is playing in that game, so I'm sure that will be a fun combination.
Posted on: February 8, 2011 2:35 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2011 2:46 pm
Posted by Royce Young
The NBA announced the participants for the annual 3-point contest at All-Star weekend and there are some big names involved. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce of the Celtics, Kevin Durant of the Thunder, Daniel Gibson of the Cavaliers, Golden State's Dorell Wright and Miami's James Jones will compete.
Pierce of course is the reigning champion, but he's defending against a pretty stout field. His teammate Allen will be the all-time 3-point leader by the time of the contest and Dorell Wright leads the league in 3-point makes at 124.
Gibson is in the top 10 in percentage at 44 percent. Jones has hit 91 3s on the year, 12th in the league.
But the real wild card is Durant, who at just 34.7 percent may not seem like a great candidate to win this. Durant though is absolutely one of the finest spot up shooters in the league and he's the kind of player that can make 15 in a row. He's had multiple months in his career of hitting 50 percent from 3 and the only reason his percentage is down is because of a slow start in November. Since the first month of the season, Durant is hitting over 40 percent from 3.
Really though, this is one of the most intriguing groups in the contest in a while. To have three big stars like Allen, Pierce and Durant, with one being the all-time leader is pretty cool. Wright, Gibson and Jones are your preverbial specialists. It's a really nice mix.
Last year Pierce bested Stephen Curry in last year’s contest, scoring 20 points in the final round to capture the title. Jeff Hornacek, Jason Kapono, Mark Price and Peja Stojakovic each won two titles; Larry Bird and Craig Hodges captured three straight.
Gibson actually has the highest career pecentage of the group at 42.6. Allen has made 39.8 percent of his career 3s, Durant 35.8, Wright 38.3, Jones 40.0 and Pierce 37.0. Allen has hit 2,559 in his career and the only other player in the field with at least a thousand is Pierce, who has hit 1,297. Between Durant, Gibson, Wright and Jones, their total is 1,513.
Missing out though are Matt Bonner, Shawne Williams (who leads the league in percentage) and Anthony Morrow. I also think Kevin Love deserved some pretty serious consideration too because when open, he's near automatic from 3.
Posted on: February 3, 2011 7:44 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 7:49 pm
Who were the biggest snubs for the All-Star game, after the reserves were announced ?
Posted by Royce Young and Matt Moore
As it is every year, some worthy candidates were left out of the All-Star game reserves list. But this year, those left out had more legitimate complaints than usual. Here then are three snubs from the Eastern and Western Conference.
Eastern ConferenceHonestly, the Eastern coaches got it all right. It's hard to really say there's a true snub in the East. Going through though, there certainly are a couple players that have a case. Especially since the whole team is made up of the Celtics and Heat.
Josh Smith : Probably the biggest snub has to be Josh Smith. Problem is, who do you remove? Smith though is having probably his best season, averaging 16. 2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. His defense is well documented but what he's shown off his is versatility this season. Because of injuries, Smith has played small forward, power forward and even some center.
As a key cog in the Hawks machine, Smith has figured out how to play perfectly next to Al Horford and Joe Johnson. There's always a lot of talk about other big threes throughout the league, but there's no reason not to include the trio in Atlanta. Smith has cut down on the dumb shots, is playing well inside and in transition, is maybe the most dynamic finisher out there. Plus, having him in the All-Star Game would be a treat. Can you picture a fast break of Smith, Derrick Rose and LeBron James? I can and it's pretty awesome.
Andrew Bogut: Seeing that the East only has one real center on the roster, Bogut makes a lot of sense. It's tough to move off Horford, but you certainly can make a case for Bogut replacing Paul Pierce or even Ray Allen, since the East is stacked with wings.
Bogut has been injured all season as he hasn't totally recovered from elbow surgery, but he's still averaging a double-double and is one of the best defenders in the league. Plus, Bogut deserves a ton of credit for fighting the way he has. Despite suffering a brutal injury last season, Bogut has battled inside and is putting up comparable numbers to last year even though he can't totally use his right arm entirely. That's impressive.
The Bucks record hurts (19-28) which is probably the biggest reason Bogut was snubbed. If the Bucks are a contender or even a current playoff team in the East, it's almost impossible to keep him off this roster.
Raymond Felton: A month ago, Felton had a really good case to be on this team. But the last few weeks, he just hasn't played well. And that sort of things hurts because that's the period where coaches were casting their ballots.
However, it's hard to ignore the impact Felton has had on the New York offense. He's still averaging almost 18 points and nine assists a game, which is up there in point guard ranks. He's shooting the 3-ball really well and runs the pick-and-roll as beautifully as anyone. Having Amar'e Stoudemire obviously helps, but still, Felton has executed.
The West is carrying three point guards and the East only has two. So it makes sense to add Felton and take over Pierce or Allen, but it's a tough call to make just because of Felton's position. Fact is though, he's been a huge part in the Knicks first half resurgence which scores extra points with me.
Honorable Outrage Mention: Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng, Thaddeus Young
Western ConferenceLaMarcus Aldridge: Aldridge has the most legitimate gripe, yes, even more than Kevin Love. Aldridge has had the most team success, and averaged 25 points and 10 rebounds in January . He just dropped 40 on the team with the best record. Aldridge has played masterfully and hasn't had the questions about his defense like Griffin or Love have had.
Aldridge has become the leader of the Blazers and has arguably the best combination of both size and skill (mid-range, post, perimeter) of any Western forward not named Dirk or Pau this season. He doesn't have the flashy dunks of Griffin, but he's got the wins, which I'm pretty sure the Blakeshow would trade for. And with the Blazers, somehow, someway, still in the playoffs, to exempt Aldridge is to cast a doubt as to whether team performance is only relevant if the player is a known name.
Kevin Love: A shocker that he didn't make it. The NBA's leading rebounder is also averaging 21 points per game to go along with those 15.5 rebounds per game. 15.5. Which is just kind of ridiculous.
The fact that Love's surrounded by a terrible team assembled by questionable management should not have kept him out. There has been some discussion that Love's stat-hounding ways have turned off coaches and scouts, which may have led to his exclusion.
Similarly, the Wolves aren't just bad. They're terrible. But if you look at Love's contributions, you have to wonder how much more terrible they would be were he not there. Love can never be accused of taking a night off, and has the first 30 rebound night since Moses Malone. That's quite a long time. Either way, Love has to wonder what more he could have done to wound up on the All-Star squad.
Zach Randolph: Randolph is the middle of the debate between Aldridge and Love. He averages 20 points and 13 rebounds, which are pretty ridiculous, especially when you factor for pace (23.3% Total Rebound Rate for Love, 21.4% for Randolph). Randolph's team has had more success than Love, though, and recently has surged above .500, closing in on the 8th spot in the West held by Aldridge, thanks mostly to Randolph's performance.
So he has both the rebounding eye-popping numbers of Love and the team success of Aldridge. Throw in the fact that he's a respected veteran who made it last year with similar numbers and it's hard to argue for his exclusion, even with greats like Duncan and phenoms like Griffin in play.
Honorable Outrage Mention: Lamar Odom, Monta Ellis, Steve Nash, Tony Parker
Posted on: February 3, 2011 7:16 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 7:42 pm
NBA All-Star reserves announced, All-Star rosters complete. Blake Griffin selected to NBA All-Star game as a rookie. Four Celtics make the team, East represented primarily by Boston and Miami.
Posted by Matt Moore and Royce Young
The NBA All-Star Game reserves were announced live this evening, and we'll break them all down for you.
Guard: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Joe Johnson
Forward: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh,
Center: Al Horford
The Eastern Conference All-Star team is made up of only six teams. The Bulls have one, the Celtics four, the Heat three, the Magic one, the Knicks one and the Hawks two.
Rondo has had a fantastic first half of the season, putting up near historic assist numbers. He's had a couple 20-assist nights and as the creator and distributor of one of the NBA's most efficient offenses, it's a well-deserved nod. He's had three triple-doubles and 19 double-doubles. In five seasons, this is two All-Star selections for Rondo. At 35, Allen is one of the oldest All-Stars. But he's certainly deserving. He's shooting over 45 percent from 3 and as one of the most deadly late game scorers in the NBA, he's feared in almost every situation. This is Allen's 10th selection.
Nobody came on stronger over the last month than Johnson. In January Johnson averaged 26.0 points per game on 50 percent shooting from the field. He started slow because of an elbow issue but now that he's healthy, he's back to one of the best isolation scorers and knock down shooters in the league. Five straight All-Star Games for Johnson.
Quietly, Garnett is having an MVP caliber season. Because of his leadership and defense, Garnett has positioned his team as the team to beat in the East. He's always a threat for a double-double and this season has re-asserted his dominance on the interior. This makes 14 straight All-Star appearances for Garnett. Pierce makes it four Celtics on the roster and really, it's hard to say he didn't deserve it. Really, it just came down to which Celtic do you scrub? And it's just too hard to say it should've been Pierce. He's scoring at a ridiculously efficient rate this season and this is his ninth selection.
Bosh is appearing in his sixth All-Star Game. He's taken a lot of flak over his role and perceived toughness in Miami, but his importance can't be denied. Without him, the Heat just aren't the same offensive team. It's easy to forget what a good power forward he really is and he's still one of the very best. A second consecutive appearance for Horford. He's had 24 double-doubles and is quietly one of the premier big men in the league. He's top five in field goal percentage and rebounds and is maybe the most important player for the Hawks.
Guard: Russell Westbrook, Manu Ginobili, Deron Williams
Forward: Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin
Center: Pau Gasol
Blake Griffin certainly makes an impression, doesn't he? Selected over LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love (we'll get to them in a bit). A rookie selected to the All-Star game itself. Pretty incredible. From there, Deron Williams will likely raise a few eyebrows considering he hasn't had a season up to his standards, but it's not like he's struggled. It's clear that both coaches appreciate the tremendous crop of point guards we have playing in this league currently. Westbrook making it will surely ease the fears of Thunder fans, and Duncan and Nowitzki were no-brainers based off both team success and individual legacy, even if our own Ken Berger felt Duncan wasn't up to snuff.
Manu is a surprise selection, but as he's been mentioned in some's MVP conversations, perhaps he shouldn't be. Ginobili has managed to absolutely demolish teams down the stretch, and his play has been arguably the biggest reason for the Spurs having the best record in basketball.
For the West, the fans got their man (Griffin), the coaches got their legacies (Duncan, Nowitzki), and L.A. is well represented, even without Lamar Odom sneaking in. Now we get to start figuring out who Blake Griffin is going to dunk on.
Your complete All-Star Rosters (starters in bold):
Eastern Conference:Guard : Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Joe Johnson
Forward: LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudemire, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh
Center: Dwight Howard, Al Horford
Western Conference:Guard: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant , Russell Westbrook, Manu Ginobili, Deron Williams
Forward: Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony , Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, Blake Griffin
Center: Yao Ming (injured), Pau Gasol
Posted on: February 3, 2011 4:53 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2011 7:02 pm
A constantly updated list of the 2011 NBA All-Star reserves. Posted by Matt Moore and Ben Golliver.
As the NBA All-Star reserves are inevitably leaked in advance of the 7 p.m. ET announcement, we'll have updates for you. The full rosters have now been announced.
Update 7:00 p.m. EST: Yao Ming's ReplacementFinally, Yahoo! Sports also notes that Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash is the favorite to replace Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, who is injured.
Update 6:49 p.m. EST: Western Conference ReservesYahoo! Sports reports the following players have been named to the Western Conference All-Star team as reserves:
Update 6:45 p.m. EST: Eastern Conference ReservesYahoo! Sports reports the following players have been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team as reservers:
Update 6:05 p.m. EST: Kevin GarnettLike Gasol, we found that Garnett has a page built, along with previously leaked Rajon Rondo.
Garnett will make it at least two Celtics reserves, with more on the way most likely. Garnett's been playing at a near MVP level with the impact he has on both sides of the floor. He's been his usual dominant, crazy self on defense, and his inside post moves have returned in addition to his mid-range jumper on the pick and pop. He's arguably the biggest reason the Celts have laid waste to the league this season.
No other prospective reserves have such pages built, as of yet. These definitely don't confirm that they've been selected as All-Stars, but considering the three posted now are locks, they look pretty legit. We'll keep you posted.
Update 6:01 p.m. EST: Pau Gasol
Someone is either running live screen tests or they jumped the gun. Hoopshype discovered that Pau Gasol has a page built for him as an All-Star.
Gasol's a no-brainer, as he's arguably the best player on the Lakers, and that's saying something considering, you know, Kobe Bryant. Either way he's the biggest reason for the Lakers' past two championships outside Bryant, and is widely considered to be the best active big man in the game. Odds are good he might wind up replacing Yao Ming as a starter at center, despite his power forward designation.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Rondo will be named an All-Star Reserve. The word you're looking for is ... "duh." Rondo leads the league in assists per game and Assist Ratio (percentage of possessions ending in an assist). He's the starting point guard for the best team in the Eastern Conference and he does things like this:
Whether the Celtics send three or four , we all agreed, Rondo needs to go. He's the obvious choice.
Posted on: January 31, 2011 8:16 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2011 6:26 am
Who deserves the reserve forward spot for the West? Our NBA crew debates LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Blake Griffin for a spot.
Posted by Matt Moore
All-Star reserves will be announced on Thursday, and par for the course, the coaches have some tough decisions. We'll be debating the merits of each choice the coaches will have to make. These debates don't necessarily reflect the actual opinions of the writers. Think of it as opposition research, only if we opposed everyone. Our first debate? LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Blake Griffin vs. Kevin Love.
LaMarcus Aldridge: The professional's choice
by Ben Golliver
Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan has spearheaded the All-Star campaign for his power forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and that's no accident. Aldridge's play this year has been a coach's dream and, as coaches happen to vote on these things, who better than his coach to lay out the credentials? In the face of another disastrous injury-plagued season, Aldridge has been a rock. He's No. 7 in the minute in minute's played and No. 1 overall for big men. Despite playing on one of the league's slowest-paced teams, playing next to one of the league's premier rebounders, and shifting from "B" option to "A" option on offense, Aldridge has posted 21 points per game and nine rebounds per game averages, career-high marks in both categories.
In addition to his consistency and production, Aldridge has done what his All-Star competitors haven't been able to do: keep Portland above .500. The Blazers, despite losing two of their three franchise building blocks along with multiple other players to season-ending knee surgeries, are 25-21 and firmly in the Western Conference playoff picture. Coaches love winning and they love winning players. Aldridge has improved as a passer and offense facilitator, and he's also focused more of his attention on banging in the paint, working the boards and finishing at the rim, evidenced by his high dunk numbers. This turn of play has been a long-awaited revelation in the Rose City, and coaches love development and hard work.
They also love winning. When Aldridge needed tests done on a sore hip recently, Portland fans were forced to confront a Blazers unit without Aldridge, and the mental image wasn't pretty. The poor-shooting, inconsistent group that would be left if Aldridge missed time would be on par with the dregs of the league, like the Cleveland Cavaliers or, you know, the Minnesota Timberwolves with Kevin Love. Numbers without Ws are just numbers, and hopefully the coaches get this one right.
Blake Griffin: Putting the "star" in "exploding star of dunk violence that could destroy the universe"
by Royce Young
Blake Griffin doesn't have the big rebounding numbers like Kevin Love. His team isn't a winner like LaMarcus Aldridge's.
And yet, I'm about to tell you why Griffin is the no-brainer choice.
It all comes back to his 47-point explosion against the Pacers. Griffin, who has set the league on fire with his high-flying dunks, his ridiculous putbacks and wild alley-oops, had just one dunk in his best game of the season. One. This is the guy that leads the league in dunks and scores more than 25 percent of his points on crams. Except in his very best game, he only stuffed it once.
The reason? Because he's maybe the most uniquely skilled power forward in the league. He runs the floor like a small forward, jumps like shooting guard and handles and passes like a point. Blake Griffin, is seriously one of the most physically gifted players in the league.
And not to say he doesn't have big-time numbers. He's fourth in the league in rebounding (12.8 per game), averages 22.6 points a game and even dishes out 3.5 assists a night. All while capturing our imaginations every night while we wait for the next super highlight. The All-Star Game is looking for supreme talent, big numbers and a superstar entity that won't let us take our eyes off him. If Griffin isn't the guy that fits all of that and more, then we've seriously got to re-evaluate what we want.
Kevin Love: Simply exceptional
by Matt Moore
Kevin Love is the best rebounder in the league. That's pretty much it. If you have a guy who's the best in the NBA at something as valuable and necessary as rebounding to the game of basketball, that person deserves to be in the All-Star game. He leads the league in offensive, defensive, and total rebounds per game and per 40 minutes. He's second behind Marcus Camby in percentage of available rebounds snagged while playing nine fewer minutes. He's the primary concern from an opposing rebounder's perspective, and yet he's been dominant. This in a league that features quite a few great rebounders, most notably Dwight Howard who is a monster among boys most of the time, physically.
But that's just the rebounding. It would be one thing were he Dennis Rodman whose only trick in the bag offensively was rebounding. But Love is averaging 21 points per game, on 47% shooting, and hitting 45% from three. Is there a more well-rounded offensive weapon outside the truly elite forwards in this league? Sure, the team is woeful and Love gets a fair number of rebounds off his own miss and by snagging his teammates' boards. But he's still fighting for each and every one while carrying a huge load of the Wolves' offense, and outside of Beasley, is the only real threat on that team.
To punish Love for the fact that his teammates are well, chosen by David Kahn is to miss the point of the All-Star game: to represent the best players in the league. Kevin Love is unquestionably one of those. He's got the huge games (30 rebounds, are you serious?) to his credit, the consistency, the offensive ability, the name recognition, and the superb elitism at his position. To exempt Love from the All-Star game is to become too far removed from the very word: star. Just because he's anchored by his franchise and he doesn't dominate with a fadeaway jumper does not mean that he's not worthy of the honor. Kevin Love should be an All-Star.
Posted on: January 27, 2011 7:24 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 12:23 am
Posted by Royce Young
The starting five for the East and West All-Star teams were announced Thursday night and nothing jumped out as a huge surprise. Kobe Bryant was the top vote-getter overall, with Dwight Howard leading the East.
There weren't any major surprises since the last batch of results were releaed a few weeks ago. The East has Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Amar'e Stoudemire and Dwight Howard while the West features Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Andrew Bynum (Yao Ming was the top vote-getter, but of course is injured).
The question though that always comes with these sort of things when fans have the power is, did they get it right?
G: Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
Did the fans get it right? Yes. Rajon Rondo was really the only other candidate and Rose only recently took him over for the starting spot. But with the numbers Rose has put up plus the with just how exciting he is, he's the correct choice. Rondo would've been a fine pick, but Rose is emerging as an MVP candidate and is the only player in the league averaging 24 points and eight assists a game. Rose is the game's youngest starter by a few days over Kevin Durant.
G: Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Did the fans get it right? Yes. Wade is one of those guys that really will be a starter for life. Some worried when he teamed up with LeBron that his numbers might dip. They haven't. Wade's still awesome. So again, a good pick by the fans.
F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
Did the fans get it right? Yes. Let me tell you, these Eastern voters are smart people. But then again, it's not hard to be when all the top players are also the biggest fan favorites. It helps in the East that there really wasn't an alternative either though. LeBron hasn't suffered any kind of drop-off in popularity or production, pulling in a huge number of votes while also making yet another All-Star team as a starter.
F: Amar'e Stoudemie, New York Knicks
Did the fans get it right? Yes. Stoudemire becomes the first Knick starter since 1997 when Patrick Ewing was named to the team. This is really the most debatable position in the Eastern Conference. Kevin Garnett was on top for a good part of the year but Amar'e overtook him in January. Tough call really and neither guy is a bad pick. But Stoudemire has helped restore basketball in New York has put up huge numbers and is establishing himself as an MVP candidate. Garnett, while excellent, was injured for a few weeks and doesn't have the same numbers as Stoudemire.
C: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Did the fans get it right? Yes. When your other options are Shaquille O'Neal an injured Andrew Bogut and I don't know Nazr Mohammed (seriously, who else is there?) Howard is a pretty easy pick. He's got this spot locked up for a while and as his total votes showed, he's one the league's biggest names around the world.
G: Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets
Did the fans get it right? Yes. This was a close one. The Western guards is the deepest position in the league. Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Monta Ellis and on and on. But Paul has been good all season and across the board in statistical categories, Paul is at the top or very near it.
G: Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Did the fans get it right? Yes. Kobe led the way in votes again and anchors the West squad. There's no question that as long as he's still bouncing a ball that he's earned a spot in this game. And with the biggest name across the world in terms of basketball, he'll have a starting spot for a long time too.
F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Did the fans get it right? Yes. The league's leading scorer and the youngest starter for the West. At just 22, Durant is probably just now starting a very, very long run as an All-Star starter. A lot of people wondered that if in small-town Oklahoma City that he'd gain the national recognition needed to become a big-name star, but evidently that wasn't a problem. Durant was the second-leading vote-getter in the West behind Kobe.
F: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Did the fans get it right? No. A tough call but first of all, Melo isn't really a power forward. And since Durant beat him out in the forward vote, Carmelo is the one that's cut. No doubt Melo is having a nice season, but with Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol and Kevin Love playing the ACTUAL position, it's hard to justify Melo being a starter. One of those guys is more deserving of this spot based on what they've done this year.
C: Yao Ming, Houston Rockets
Did the fans get it right? Um, no. Yao has only played in five games and trust me, he wasn't that amazing in those five games. Yao is the poster child for what's wrong with fan voting. Other than Yao, you can really make the case that the other nine starters are justified. But because of China, Yao is voted in again while other more deserving players sit behind him. The commissioner will fill this spot and it'll likely be with the runner-up Andrew Bynum, a pick that's still not that good.