Posts Tagged ‘All-Star 2012’

Hang Time Podcast (Episode 71) With Jonathan Abrams And Drew Packham

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We’re back from All-Star Weekend — sore knees, bruised egos, stuffed notebooks and all — with plenty of memories and stories to share.

In addition to watching the best basketball players on the planet showcase their skills on the biggest stage, the Hang Time Podcast crew played a little ball as well, at Sunday morning’s Jordan Brand open run attended by the likes of hip hop stars Wale, D.J. Clue and my new on-court nemesis Jadakiss as well as several friends of the program.

All in all, it was a splendid time had by all … well, for the most part. (One of us got Tebowed!)

Grantland.com’s Jonathan Abrams was there and chronicled the The Best (Pickup) Game at All-Star Weekend. He also joins us on Episode 71 of the Hang Time Podcast to dissect the goings on at All-Star Weekend and his masterful work on An Oral History of the Malice at the Palace, the infamous brawl between the Pacers and Pistons’ fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2004.

NBA.com’s Rookie Ladder guru Drew Packham also joins us on Episode 71 to break down the performances of Kyrie Irving, Ricky Rubio and the rest of the class at the halfway mark of their first season in the league. In his midseason report card, DP taps Irving as his choice for Rookie of the (half) Year, with MarShon Brooks as his biggest surprise and Jan Vesely as his biggest disappointment.

Check out all of that and so much more  on Episode 71 of the Hang Time PodcastThe All-Star Special:

LISTEN HERE: 

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

Dwight Howard Was The Perfect Host But Noticeably Absent On Game Night





ORLANDO – At the end of a long and entertaining All-Star weekend, Dwight Howard could sit back and survey all that he had done and know that his mission was accomplished.

He put on a show for his city, made sure the stars turned out here and covered all of the All-Star weekend bases with parties, events and all the bells and whistles revelers have become accustomed to with the NBA’s version of the Super Bowl, or as NBA Commissioner David Stern called it on the Hang Time Podcast last week, “the best three and a half days in sports.”

Howard was the perfect host all the way through Sunday night’s pregame announcement at Amway Center, when he greeted the crowd and thanked them for helping make the event what it was.

And then he promptly vanished into the ether for the next three hours. The game itself, a tight-in-the-final-minutes 152-149 win for the Western Conference, was played with Howard as little more than a set piece. His Eastern Conference teammates did their best to keep him involved and Howard flashed his trademark smile aplenty, but it was a largely forgettable performance from the big man on his home floor and in the splendid building built in his honor.

It was the strangest thing I saw all weekend, and that includes Nikki Minaj‘s space age pregame performance that included six or seven wig changes before the All Stars took the floor for the game. After spending 72 straight hours as the non-stop life of the party, it was like someone flipped a switch and turned Howard off once the game tipped off.

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Kobe Bryant Passes Michael Jordan For All-Time All-Star Game Scoring Mark





ORLANDOKobe Bryant is still chasing Michael Jordan‘s record of six championships, but he’s already snagged another of Jordan’s hallowed records.

Bryant passed Jordan for the All-Star scoring record on a fast break dunk with 4:57 to play in the third quarter here Sunday night, with 264 points. He tied Jordan minutes earlier with two free throws and finished the night with 27 points and total of 271 points

LeBron James is next on the active list with 207 points.

Most career points, All-Star history

Player GP PTS AVG
Kobe Bryant 13 271 20.8
Michael Jordan 13 262 20.2
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 18 251 13.9
Oscar Robertson 12 246 20.5
Bob Pettit 11 224 20.4

Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Needs Yet Another Tweak, Or Two … Or Three!





ORLANDO – The silence, and we’re talking crickets, in the Amway Center after several of the dunks was the first sign that All-Star Saturday night’s signature event was going to be a little off.

That “worst dunk contest ever” chatter seems a little strong, but the 2012 Sprite Slam Dunk contest certainly exposed the fact that a serious tweaking of the format, namely the rules and regulations of the competition, is in order. No offense to the league’s new slam dunk king, baby-faced, human pogo-stick Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz, but not even his peers around the league were satisfied with the competition or the results.

The 4 million fans that cast the deciding votes on NBA.com, Evans snagged 29 percent of them compared to Chase Budinger‘s 28 percent, were drowned out after Evans was handed the trophy by a flood of Tweets from other players around the league who didn’t agree with the results.

A small sampling of the instant, and at times brutal, reaction that reflected the mood in the building:

  • Roy Hibbert: Robbery!!!!
  • Jason Richardson: I think Paul George or Chase Budinger should of won…. Guess all [4] million votes came from Utah lol
  • Hassan Whiteside: u tellin me I could of won a NBA slam dunk contest in HIgh school Jump over 5’5 Kevin hart n a reserve dunk with a cam n dunk 2 balls smdh
  • Stephen Curry: Even though the 2 ball dunk was nice prolly the best of the night, u can’t have the WORST dunk ever and win.
  • Hasheem Thabeet: “@MAL___: This is what happens when you let half a million ppl that probably can’t touch the backboard vote. Jeremy Evans?!? Smh” LoL
  • Shane Battier: Evans had the best single dunk, but this voting process was seriously flawed. #airbudwazrobbed

There are so many elements involved in pulling it off just right, but Battier said it best, the voting process is seriously flawed. We need the on-site, human element involved. Evans admitted that his first dunk was “awful” and that if not for his splendid two-ball dunk where he jumped over the head of a sitting Gordon Hayward, who tossed the balls into the air for Evans, the trophy probably would have gone to either Budinger or George.

(For the record, my ballot would have had George edging Budinger for the top spot with Evans and Williams rounding out the field.)

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Lin Gets His All-Star Weekend Close-Up





ORLANDO – Fortunately, Jeremy Lin’s first press conference at NBA All-Star Weekend included a question about Jeremy Lin having any sort of press conference, period, at All-Star Weekend.

Even though it had only been three weeks since Lin “blew up” as the NBA’s biggest story – underdog Asian-American kid from Harvard coming off the bench to revive one of the league’s marquee franchises in America’s media capital – the frenzy had become the new normal for many.

Oh, of course Lin would be on the cover of Sports Illustrated (again). Oh, of course he would outsell every NBA All-Star in replica jerseys. Oh, of course he would have his very own press conference in an interview room that went SRO 10 minutes before he arrived.

Screeeeech! Someone finally stopped the Linsanity and asked Lin – who never asked for any of the hype or mania surrounding him – if he could appreciate how surreal this was. From sleeping on his brother’s couch a few weeks ago to a private audience with a global sporting press, beyond what the actual All-Stars were getting.

“Oh, absolutely,” the second-year point guard said. “Just any press conference of my own in general, let alone All-Star Weekend. Just to be here and to see the company and all the players that are here is just – it’s been unbelievable, and I’m just trying to take it all in and embrace it and enjoy it every step of the way.”

The legend of Jeremy Lin is pretty well known by now: Undrafted out of Harvard. Signed by Golden State as a free agent in July 2010. Modest rookie season with the Warriors (2.6 ppg, 1.4 apg in 9.8 mpg). Cut in December 2011. Picked up and quickly dumped by Houston. Signed by New York two days after Christmas but barely used through nine appearances, averaging about six minutes, across five weeks.

Then – kaboom! – Lin scores 25 points off the bench against New Jersey. Twenty-eight vs. Utah. Twenty-three with 10 assists at Washington, 38 against the Lakers … and the Knicks win nine of 10 games. He becomes the NBA’s flavor of the month and beyond, a wholly unexpected, happy story in an odd post-lockout season. A downright phenomenon that – even after losses to the Nets and the Heat in recent days (and an ugly stats line vs. Miami of eight points, eight turnovers and 1-of-11 shooting) – shows little sign of abating.

Though Lin expects it to soon.

“Hopefully as the season progresses, it will go from [Linsanity] to ‘New York Knicks,’ ” he said. “We can make a good push after the All-Star break and people will start talking about the Knicks and not necessarily me.” New York is 17-18, at No. 7 in the East and chasing a second consecutive playoff berth after a six-year drought.

Lin shared some other tidbits with the inquiring minds Friday, in the hours before he played in the Rising Stars game at Amway Center.

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Agent: Curry Out For All-Star Weekend





ORLANDO – Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry suffered a right foot injury against the Suns during last night’s game and will not be attending All-Star Weekend festivities here, per his agent Lance Young.

Young, via email, said the injury was to a tendon in Curry’s foot, and “nothing with his ankle.” But he said that it would prevent Curry making the trip here, where he was scheduled to defend his title in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Rather than making the trip, Young said Curry would rest and rehab his injury this weekend. He’s already missed nine games this season with an ankle injury.

Curry missed a layup with 2:29 remaining in the first quarter and landed awkwardly. He went to the locker room and tried to come back just before halftime, but was unable to return to the game.

After the game, Curry was not happy about this latest setback, according to Brett Pollakoff of ProBasketballTalk.com:

Stephen Curry sat dejected in front of his locker Wednesday night, shirtless and with his right foot soaking in a tub of ice water. The unhappy look on his face wasn’t a product of the game’s result — a 106-104 victory for his Warriors over the Suns in Phoenix. It was due to the fact that he was bitten by the injury bug once again.

… “It’s just something different,” Curry said with a bit of disbelief, while trying to describe the injury afterward. “They haven’t figured out if it’s my tendon or my plantar fascia yet, but it’s on the other side so it’s not my ankle, which is good.”

… “I tried to make a cut, but it didn’t respond they way I thought it would,” Curry said. “Coach made the decision in the second half just to let it rest.”

Warriors head coach Mark Jackson said that he didn’t see the need to force the issue.

“I’m not an expert, but the right thing to do was to shut it down and make sure that he takes advantage of the rest that we have moving forward, and get the proper treatment or whatever the doctors say,” he said.

Get Lin In Rising Stars Challenge Draft!





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal have a chance tonight to do what 30 other NBA executives couldn’t, and that’s draft Jeremy Lin.

What more does the Knicks’ sensational point guard have to do to crash the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft party tonight? (7 p.m. ET on NBA TV.) All he’s done is spark the Knicks to seven straight wins and author the greatest underdog story in sports most anyone has ever seen.

So what if he wasn’t on the initial list of players considered for the game that will be played Friday night of All-Star Weekend in Orlando, pitting a mix of first and second year players selected by general managers Barkley and O’Neal.

With their TNT colleague Kenny Smith serving as the commissioner of the draft, all it would take is an executive order from him to grant Lin, and perhaps another deserving player who didn’t make the initial cut of 18 draft-eligible players, entrance into the draft pool. That would give us an even 20 and guarantee that Linsanity spreads its wings all the way through All-Star Weekend (the rumblings are he’ll be there anyway, might as well make it official).

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Hang Time Podcast (Episode 68)

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – The All-Star reserves have been announced. Some wrongs were made right (LaMarcus Aldridge) while other wrongs remain (Josh Smith).

But making the All-Star team as a reserve is a complex issue that required further examination, which leads us to Episode 68 of the Hang Time Podcast.

We enlisted the services of former Michigan State, 1998 NBA All-Star and current NBA TV analyst Steve Smith to help make sense of a process that often times makes none.  After all, Smitty played in just that one All-Star game during his stellar 14-year career, despite playing at an All-Star level for the bulk of his career.

But when you’re fighting for a berth at guard in the Eastern Conference with the likes of Reggie Miller, Penny Hardaway, Joe Dumars, Latrell Sprewell and others during the Michael Jordan era these sorts of things happen.

We also chatted All-Star reserves, Jeremy Lin and the overall state of the game with Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, a Bay Area native and current resident. Spears lived in Boston when the Knicks’ point guard sensation (for the past three games at least) was running the show at Harvard, and even though he’d never heard of Lin back then and never saw the Crimson play, he’s “all-Lin” for the new face of the global game — who just happens to share Spears’ Bay Area roots.

For all that and so much more, including a look back at an iconic collection of young stars (below) before they hit the NBA, check out Episode 68 of the Hang Time Podcast

LISTEN HERE: 

As always, we welcome your feedback. You can follow the entire crew, including the Hang Time Podcast, co-hosts Lang Whitaker of SLAM Magazine and Sekou Smith of NBA.com, as well as our superproducer Micah Hart of NBA.com’s All Ball Blog.

– To download the podcast, click here. To subscribe via iTunes, click here, or get the xml feed if you want to subscribe some other, less iTunes-y way.

1990-91 Playboy All-American Team

The All-Star Double Standard Stinks





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If you’re Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry, Paul MillsapMonta Ellis, Josh Smith or any of the other NBA players who woke up this morning without an All-Star bid, you deserve an explanation.

You deserve to know why what you’ve done wasn’t good enough to earn one of those reserve spots, and you deserve that answer now.  Since Naismith hung that first peach basket coaches have been preaching about sacrifice for the greater good being the most crucial element to a successful team and players surrendering themselves to the process being the path to hoops righteousness.

Then the All-Star reserves come out and you see that these same coaches employ wicked double standard based on who a player is as opposed to what they have done. Now before you assume that this is some assault on the 14 players that were honored last night, understand that it is not. They deserve to bask in the All-Star limelight in Orlando just like anyone else.

This is strictly about the hypocrisy of coaches who demand one thing from players and then turn around and reward something totally different when it’s time to fill out those ballots for the reserves. They are the ones charged with making the right decisions on the reserves, not the other players or the fans or anyone else. It’s supposed to be a reward for this season, right now, and not the past or the future.

There is a reason Dirk Nowitzki said before the reserves were announced that he didn’t think he deserved a bid this year. Paul Pierce admitted he was surprised he made it because he’s been on the other side of this double standard in the past, piling up numbers on a struggling team and then watching the All-Star festivities from a beachfront resort.

For years, putting up numbers on a bad or even mediocre team was not enough to secure an All-Star nod. I’ve heard coaches say it for years in the NBA when touting their own players or the virtues of others, “you have to reward winning.” So when Steve Nash or Deron Williams find their way onto the list and Ellis does not, the head scratching begins.

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Hard Choices On All-Star Reserves





HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – You’ve already seen HT’s picks for the Eastern Conference All-Star reserves and Western Conference All-Star reserves. You know we threw out conventional wisdom and the rules and rewarded the guys who are playing the best, regardless of listed position, on the best teams and lobbied hard for them to be included in the big party that will go on in Orlando in a couple of weeks.

Well, tonight it becomes official.

The All-Star reserves will be announced exclusively on TNT at 7 p.m. ET, with Ernie Johnson holding court with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal as the coach’s selections for the reserves are unveiled to the public.

Does LaMarcus Aldridge finally get his due? What about Luol Deng and Josh Smith? Did the coaches do the right thing? Did they overlook the Suns’ rough start and put Steve Nash where he belongs? Is Paul Pierce going to have some Celtics company in Orlando? We can only hope they read up on our suggestions and did what needed to be done.

They had all the resource materials anyone could need.

Our very own Steve Aschburner weighed in with his picks for the Eastern Conference reserves, fine picks all around, even if we didn’t agree on all of them (one man’s snub is another man’s All-Star).

And our main man Fran Blinebury came through with his picks for the Western Conference reserves, celebrating Nash’s 38th birthday with a well-deserved bid to Orlando for the league’s assist leader.

We’ll find out tonight!