The 2012 NBA All-Star Game was just as expected. Great passes, great dunks and a down-to-the-wire finish. This game was a representation of playground basketball at its best, which is why I am glad that NBA Commissioner David Stern has yet to find a way to mess it up.
The final game of the weekend made up for the letdown of the NBA Dunk Contest Saturday. Following are my five takeaways from a star studded weekend.
1. The Real Dunk Contest – Miami Heat guard/forward Lebron James demonstrated what I and most of the country has been saying for the entire season: “Put Lebron in the dunk contest.” Dunk after dunk by James was both effortless and amazing. His first four dunks alone would have won him the slam dunk title Saturday night and we, the fans, would not have to walk away with an empty feeling at the end of the nightmare event.
2. The Last Shot – While James gave us highlight after highlight, sharing a game high point total of 36 points with Oklahoma City Forward, and game MVP, Kevin Durant, he robbed us of what could have been a great moment in NBA All-Star history. With seconds to go in the game, James was guarded by Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant – who later admitted to daring James to take the shot. Down by two points, the Eastern Conference forward elected to pass which resulted in a turnover. A great moment deferred.
3. His-Story – Bryant only needed 19 points to pass Hall of Fame and six-time NBA Champion Micheal Jordan as the All-Star game’s leading scorer. Bryant, who finished with 27 points, looked as if he was on a mission from the start. Jordan, a prolific scorer to say the least, displayed no falsehoods about his intentions when he played, and neither did Bryant. The Black Mamba, as Kobe has so affectionately deemed himself, earned his title.
4. Shaking My Head – What better way to flip your city the bird than to go 0-4 from three point range and finish with 9 points. Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard did just that. The seven-foot All-Star center has spent the entire year demonstrating his skills in abounding obfuscation whenever asked about his trade demands. While his verbal responses have been circumlocutory his play has not been, and that was no more apparent then his uninspired All-Star performance.
5. Really??? – When it came time, each team had to substitute in their second string players. I had to do a discount double check. Is that Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert??? Maybe I should start watching basketball again.