Posts Tagged ‘2011 All-Star’

Holiday’s Homecoming

LOS ANGELES — Finding Jrue Holiday in the crowd during All-Star Weekend shouldn’t be tough. He punctuated his arrival here in his hometown for tonight’s T-Mobile Rookie Challenge by sporting a bright blue “LA Loves Me” t-shirt and a blue Dodgers baseball cap to match.

As much as Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin, among others, will play the role of hometown fave throughout this weekend’s festivities, neither Bryant nor Griffin has roots that run deeper than Holiday’s in this city.

He was born and raised here, starred in high school and won state championships at Hollywood’s Campbell Hall and spent his lone college season at UCLA, alongside Darren Collison, before being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers. So if anyone can appreciate the experience of the 60th All-Star Game and all that comes with it, Holiday is your man.

“I don’t think I could ask for anything more than maybe making the big game, the All-Star Game in my hometown,” Holiday said in a hallway at his downtown hotel. “But really, for my first All-Star experience to be here in my city, with all my family already here, I couldn’t have asked for more.”

The second-year point guard has turned out to be everything the 76ers hoped he would when they selected him with the 17th pick in the 2009 draft, even after he wasn’t selected for tonight’s T-Mobile Rookie Challenge as a rookie. (Sixers rookie Evan Turner, the No. 2 pick in the 2010 Draft, did not make the cut this year.)

“That makes it even sweeter,” Holiday said when reminded that he missed out on this experience last season. “This let’s you know that you’re on the right path, that you are growing and improving. Like I said, I really couldn’t have asked for more.”


Going Out With A Bang

LOS ANGELES — If these are indeed Carmelo Anthony‘s finals days as a Denver Nuggets, and at this point we’re still not sure where the ‘Melo-drama is headed, at least he’s going out the right way.

Have you seen the work he’s been putting in lately?

‘Melo is averaging 31.6 points per game on nearly 54 percent shooting from the floor in his last 10 games. You wouldn’t think the Nuggets would have a hard time swinging a deal for a player of this caliber.

Yet here we are for All-Star Weekend and there is still no resolution.

Who knows? Maybe it all ends here, this weekend …

The Talk Of The Town

LOS ANGELES — I knew Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers would be the talk of this town all weekend, but now it’s for all the wrong reasons.

A small group of us stood in the doorway of a downtown hotel sports bar to watch the final seconds of the Lakers’ stunning loss in Cleveland Wednesday night wondering if this was the final dagger for a team that’s taking a beating from all directions for their recent struggles.

“It’s a good thing it’s All-Star Weekend,” one hotel employee muttered as the crowd dispersed, “because these guys [Lakers] need the break.”

They are in need of something. And perhaps something more than what a few days of rest can provide. There have been some disturbing signs for Phil Jackson‘s crew through the pre-All-Star run, including this latest skid (three straight losses and a .500 mark in their last 10 games).

Instead of celebrating the weekend with the league’s ultimate star-driven showcase, there will be plenty of debate here about whether or not the Lakers are capable of defending their title for a third straight year as presently constituted. The Feb. 24 trade deadline is starting to look more and more like a drop dead date for the Lakers, who limped off the floor in Cleveland last night with a much uglier shiner than the 55-point beating they administered on the Cavs last month.

Rumblings that they might not be able to fend off challenges from the Spurs and Mavericks in the Western Conference and from either the Celtics or Heat in the NBA Finals are growing louder by the second.