VIDEO: Distance is never a problem for Stephen Curry and won’t be during All-Star Saturday night
NEW ORLEANS — Showdown Saturday night is here, finally.
We’ve been waiting for days down here in New Orleans for things to get officially started and for years All-Star Saturday served that purpose for the NBA’s showcase weekend. This year is no different, as we come to you live from the Smoothie King Center and State Farm Saturday night well into the wee hours.
This has long been the domain of the league’s best and brightest, from Dr. J, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Vince Carter and so many other of the league’s greatest dunkers, not to mention the most prolific 3-point shooters and skilled technicians.
Is there someone in tonight’s field for the Sprite Slam Dunk contest … say someone like this Paul George fella below?
Your All-Star Saturday night schedule can be found here. And we are going to provide you with a non-stop in-arena feel for what’s going on down here in the Big Easy.
First up is the Sears Shooting Stars competition, followed by the Taco Bell Skills Challenge , followed by the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and, we saved the best for last, the Sprite Slam Dunk contest.
I’m going to go ahead and get my predictions out of the way now. Here are my winners …
– Sears Shooting Stars: Team Curry looks lean and mean. They win this one for the Western Conference.
– Taco Bell Skills Challenge: The West has two wicked teams in this one (Trey Burke and Damian Lillard on Team 1 and Goran Dragic and Reggie Jackson on Team 2). I have to roll with Team 1! Another win for the West.
– Foot Locker Three-Point Contest: The Currys need to adopt me, because in Steph Curry I trust when it comes to a shooting contest. (East coast bias … where?)
– Sprite Slam Dunk: The defending champ, Terrence Ross, and the East will be tough to beat. I’ve been hearing rumblings around town that Ben McLemore has some crazy stuff planned. We shall see. In the meantime, I’m rocking with my man “Ross” and George and John Wall.
Get your popcorn ready …
Sears Shooting Stars
Tim Hardaway Sr. approaches the half court shot footwork like Fred Flintstone bowls.—
Zach Harper (@talkhoops) February 16, 2014
– Team Bosh vs Team Durant in the championship for the Sears Shoot Stars.
– Team Bosh with the repeat thansk to Chris Bosh … ain’t nothing but a winner! Durant finishes second again … unreal.
Chris Bosh's Shooting Stars stats: 2-of-8 from three, 2-of-2 from half court. First NBA Shooting Stars repeat champion. And I'm for 1-for-1!—
Tas Melas (@TasMelas) February 16, 2014
– Swin Cash going all Seattle Seahawks and Doug Baldwin on the TNT crew after Team Bosh was handed the trophy was a most appropriate way to finish off the opening event of the night. Straight Cash homie!
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
– East rookies MCW and Victor Oladipo representing for their side with a 43-second run in their run through the course. Too easy for two youngbucks like that.
No embarrassing screw-ups in the first round of the Skills Challenge, which is basically the point of watching.—
Kevin Pelton (@kpelton) February 16, 2014
– It’s still not the Year of the Dragon. Burke and Lillard come through with a 40.6 second-run on the course and keep my prediction alive.
– 45.3 second run for the rookie team in the finals. Always believe in Burke baby! West delivers a 45.2 to take the title. My dude Burke has mad quicks (not that NBA.com’s John Schuhmann has noticed. He’s too busy hating on the best rookie in the league.)
– A little controversy on All- Star Saturday never hurts! We’ve got to get the replay.
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
– Redemption time for Steph Curry. This is your night sir. This is your event. Do what you do!
– Chuck picks an upset and goes with Bradley Beal (his mom calls him Bradley, so I’m going with Bradley).
– Great field in this competition. All-Stars in Lillard, Curry, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
All these guys in the competition have torched the Knicks at least once in the past year. Yikes.—
Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) February 16, 2014
– Who jinxed me and the Curry clan tonight? Steph is watching the finals like me. Ugh!
Tellin' ya Curry needs to have time to dribble and launch.—
Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) February 16, 2014
– RapCam turns up shots of Ludacris and Nelly sitting courtside. These young rappers clearly need to step their game up if the vets are getting all of the major Jumbotron play tonight. #whereyouatDrakeand2Chains?
– Nice theme music for Arron Afflalo, Robin Thicke‘s Magic Touch playing as he hits the stage and his 15 is the new score to beat.
– Bradley Beal has the high-mark with 21. Kid has wicked range and an absolutely pure shooting stroke.
– The Kendrick Lamar concert/interlude is coming up soon. Just FYI
– Belinelli didn’t smile at all during the final round tale of the tape interview with Nick Cannon and Beal. Not sure how to take that. I know you want to win and everything but have a little fun with this thing fella. His method worked, though. Dropped a 19.
– Beal struggles on his money ball rack but rallies down the stretch for a 19 to tie it and now we get these guys in a 60-second tiebreaker.
Belinelli wins it with a monster effort in the OT. Fantastic showing by both guys.
– Kendrick Lamar’s tearing it up. perfect intro for what I hope will be a spectacular Sprite Slam Dunk contest.
Sprite Slam Dunk
– So I’m 0-for-everything going into this final contest of the night. Somebody on this East team needs to get greasy from the start so I can get back on track. Judges are Dr. J, Dominique and Magic. No worries with those judges.
– Kevin Hart and Cannon doing their two-man routine before we get started. Mr. Box Office himself is picking Lillard. And Hart goes with McLemore (who got roasted by Barkley and Hart for his ‘fro … cold blooded).
Kevin Hart has had such a busy All Star weekend it might be weeks until he has another movie come out.—
Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) February 16, 2014
all for teamwork, but would prefer every man for himself in the dunk contest.—
Holly MacKenzie (@stackmack) February 16, 2014
– East had one day of practice for that routine they turned in for the freestyle portion of their program. Impressive!
– West had a couple of decent dunks but the choreography was way off.
Ben McLemore's head was nearly on the rim.—
Chris Palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) February 16, 2014
– East wins that freestyle round easy!
This freestyle stuff is weak.—
Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) February 16, 2014
Lillard shouldve saved that between the legs dunk….—
speedy claxton (@speeddeamon) February 16, 2014
Next year a forward-thinking company will come up with a hashtag specifically designed for Dunk Contest format complaints and make millions—
Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) February 16, 2014
– Someone pulled Vanilla Ice out of uh, moth balls … I’ve seen it all now. Bring on the battle round!
Of all the times to promote team basketball, the slam dunk contest isn't one of them.—
Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) February 16, 2014
Note to self: In Predictions For 2014-15 Season column, make sure to predict there will be a new dunk contest format in NYC next February—
Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 16, 2014
– Ross comes out with Drake as an assistant. Battle Round brings out the human props and a cape … and a between-the-legs jam that looks way better on replay after he missed it the first time.
Vanilla Ice is performing. I think we have reached All-Star Apocalypse. Good night.—
Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) February 16, 2014
Keith Sweat will come out with Harrison Barnes to one up the softness.—
Jason Goff (@Jason1Goff) February 16, 2014
– Lillard’s nights end mercifully without any hardware. The effort was outstanding, though.
– Harrison Barnes has some explaining to do after this NBA2k14 dunk …
Harrison is a great reminder of how much better this contest would be with a defender.—
Farmer Jones (@thefarmerjones) February 16, 2014
Harrison Barnes looked as if he didn't belong in this event. Extremely underperformed.—
Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) February 16, 2014
– McLemore dunking over Shaq and getting crowned had the crowd on its feet. Dunk looked much better on replay, of course. But no one has nailed that all-important first attempt …
– Until now. Thank you JohnWall, the reverse over the mascot and the Nay Nay with George after the dunk. Energy back up just like that. Even the judges agreed on that one. The East wins it. The new format is still being digested as we await the word on the individual champ … well, the dunker of the evening. Wall!
Paul George was the best dunker but Wall had the best dunk—
Warren Sapp (@WarrenSapp) February 16, 2014