NBA NEWS AND SCORES: ALL-STAR WEEKEND ROUND-UP
The NBA’s annual All-Star Weekend has been wrapped up with all the usual flair and excitement. Sadly, not all events were of the highest quality, as the dunk contest was the opposite of entertaining, and the All-Star Game was… fine, let’s say, but a typical run-of-the-mill contest that was quickly forgotten. Still, here’s what is happening around the league.
NBA Gossip & News to Focus On
- Team LeBron get close victory over Team Durant in ASG
- Obi Toppin crowned dunk contest champion
- KAT wins three-point competition
- Chris Paul out for 6-8 weeks due to thumb fracture
- Goran Dragic signs with Nets until end of the season
- LeBron committed to playing together with Bronny James
Decent All-Star Game wraps up a pretty average weekend of festivities
We get it, no NBA player wants to give 110% in an All-Star Game, because, well, it’s a meaningless exhibition game and injuring yourself diving for a loose ball would be absolutely insane.
But oh my days, it’s only the last five minutes of the 4th quarter where the players remember they’re professional athletes in a highly televised game. At least they seem to try pretty hard in order to give money to their chosen charity and to be on the winning team for some fun celebrations.
For the die-hards who need to know, Team LeBron defeated Team Durant (who didn’t play because of injury but picked the team as captain) 163-160. There were a few nice surprises and cool plays, of course, but as no defense is visible during the game until the final seconds, there was open dunk after open three until everything ended on a shrug.
Steph Curry making 16 three-pointers and scoring 50 points for the game’s MVP was solid, as was Ja Morant’s 360° alley-oop dunk and LeBron’s game-winning shot in his hometown of Cleveland, but otherwise, just a typical ASG that is immediately disregarded. This does seem a massive shame, considering the amount of talent on the basketball floor, but averageness does seem to be the word to sum up the weekend itself.
Should the dunk contest take a few years off?
If the All-Star Game was a fine but fairly boring event, the dunk contest was an absolute snoozefest. It’s understandably hard to make fans jump out of their seats with a dunk nowadays, especially as we see so many awesome in-game dunks during the regular season and playoffs, but especially as the competition format has existed since the 80s.
Please, can we stop seeing players jump over people for a dunk? It’s not impressive anymore, no matter how many people stand in a row or how tall someone is. Aaron Gordon jumped over Tacko Fall (listed at 7’5”) in the 2020 contest and he didn’t even win that year. Obi Toppin’s behind-the-back jump over some guy (literally some guy called Chuck from Team Flight Brothers) was yet just another minor tweak on an age-old slam we’ve seen a million times already.
And props… can we also dispense with props and wearing jerseys of other players? Cole Anthony had the double cliché of wearing Timberland boots (umm why?) and wearing his father’s old Knicks jersey. Anthony brought out his dad to hand him the ball for a pretty dull windmill attempt that he missed again and again.
Jalen Green had some odd idea of printing out an NFT (still don’t get this new fangled technology) and wearing it around his neck on a golden chain. He took off the necklace, missed an off-the-backboard dunk several times, and then received a score of 38 for basically trying something different. We need less of these huge buildups for very average or even terrible slam dunks.
Everyone keeps saying how easy it would be to fix the NBA slam dunk contest: Bring in popular players who can actually throw down a mean dunk. No disrespect to Anthony, Toppin, Jalen Green, and Juan Toscano-Anderson, but you’re nowhere near household names that the typical fan has heard about.
Remember when stars like Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, and Kobe Bryant won the dunk contest? Turns out that it’s awesome to watch famous players perform incredible jams. Why is everyone so afraid of competing in the contest now?
Every fan and their dog was clamoring for Ja Morant to take part in the competition, as we all know how mind-blowing his slams can be. Heck, there are YouTube compilations of Morant’s dunk attempts that almost went in, and these are far more exciting than every other slam in the 2022 contest.
Players have bemoaned that there’s no reward for them competing in the contest. Okay, so how about $1,000,000 and if you’re already in the All-Star Game, then you’ve got no excuse not to take a shot at the competition.
There’s also an argument to scrap the weekend concept, and just make it an All-Star Day on Sunday. The Rising Stars game (basically a mix of rookies and sophomore players) is fine, but could be in the morning. Remove the three-point contest (boring), the skills challenge (mind-numbingly dull), the celebrity game (not even going to acknowledge that this happens), and place the dunk contest in the afternoon, then the All-Star Game in the evening.
Or, if the big-name players aren’t participating in the slam dunk contest, then let’s just ditch it until the NBA can decide what to do with this event. Isn’t it better to have no contest than a bad one? The negative publicity in the wake of the horrible contest can’t feel good for commissioner Adam Silver, as this should be a weekend showcase of the best and brightest that the basketball league has to offer.
LeBron vows to play on the same team as his son one day
Back in Cleveland for the ASG, LeBron has Cavs fans all excited again with his comment that the door “isn’t closed” on a return to his hometown one day. LeBron, who is currently signed with the Lakers until the 2023-24 season, has often stated that he wants his last year to be played on the same team as his oldest son and basketball phenom, Bronny James.
LeBron has said he doesn’t care which team it is or how large the contract might be; he simply wishes to be on the same team that drafts Bronny when he inevitably makes the NBA. Bronny is eligible for the NBA Draft in 2024, and despite not having the massive popularity his father had in high school, is still a solid 6’3” point guard with exceptional skills.
“My last year will be played with my son,” said LeBron. “Wherever Bronny is at, that’s where I’ll be. I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It’s not about the money at that point.”
Of course, Cleveland would love nothing more than to have two members of the James family, as it was LeBron who helped bring the Cavaliers their one and only championship back in 2016. There was heartbreak before, no doubt, as LeBron made the well-publicized move from Cleveland to Miami in 2010, where he won two titles with the Heat. Still, he returned in 2014 and kept his promise of delivering a trophy to the city.
Two Exciting NBA Games Coming Up
Make sure you mark down these two games on the NBA schedule.
Nets @ Bucks on Saturday 26th February
It’s an NBA game in Milwaukee, which means unvaccinated star Kyrie Irving is allowed to play! Rejoice! It’s unlikely we’ll get Kevin Durant back from injury just yet, and also improbable to see recent acquisition, Ben Simmons, make his much-awaited debut in a Nets uniform after his refusal to play for the 76ers until he was traded.
Sure, Brooklyn is 8th in the East NBA standings, but there’s really no cause for alarm when we know that KD and Simmons will be in the lineup in due time. This won’t be the rematch of the East semi-finals from last year, but it will still be a fun matchup with Irving against Giannis in Milwaukee.
Antetokounmpo is looking like the force of nature that helped his Bucks win the NBA championship last season, and with the fact he’s averaging 29.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, and six assists per game (as well as a steal and a block), the Greek Freak makes us excited for another Milwaukee visit to the NBA Finals. The Bucks will take this one comfortably.
Mavs @ Warriors on Sunday 27th February
The Warriors stayed put during the trade deadline, while the Mavs shipped out underachieving Porzingis. The fact that Golden State did nothing is only a good thing, as this team is rolling with Steph and Klay back in full swing and Draymond coming back to the lineup soon.
The Mavs are now officially led by Doncic now that Kristaps is gone, but he could still do with a solid no. 2 star to help him win that elusive championship. The supporting cast is great, but is it enough? We’ll see. It’s clear that Luka is doing all he can to carry this team, nearly averaging a triple-double with 27.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game.
The injury to the Mavs’ Tim Hardaway Jr. came at a bad time (we suppose all injuries do), but at 5th place in the West NBA standings and Luka playing some incredible basketball, there’s little worry of Dallas not reaching the playoffs.
As for this matchup, it’s possible that the Warriors’ stars might be sluggish from the All-Star break, so look for the Mavs to sneak in and take the win.
Author: Joe Garland