DeJuan Blair Goes Off in Rookie Challenge
First off, the Spurs did the unthinkable and beat the Nuggets on Thursday night 111-92. It was a road win, a win against a playoff team, and great way to go into the All-Star Break. In other words, it completely defied logic, or at least my significantly lowered expectations. That makes the Spurs 3-2 on the Rodeo trip, and the next three games are against weaker teams, so they should be able to come back to San Antonio with the (minimum) 6-2 record I’d hoped for as well as a win over at least one of the three playoff caliber teams. At this point I will be happy with that scenario.
As for the All-Star festivities, the Celebrity game was terrible. When I am thinking about the merits of Common winning the MVP then you know something is wrong. Not that Common is bad or anything, but he came in late along with Chris Tucker due to the weather, and instantly gave his team a halfway decent scoring option. Mark Cuban, by the way, was BAD. And I mean bad meaning bad, but I guess that’s why he pays people to play for him. He should have just quit after he went 0-for-7 and left to wrap up the pending trade with the Wizards. The MVP went to Michael Rappaport as sort of a joke about him “shutting down” Terrell Owens. Of course, this is the Celeb game so the award, not to mention the game, means nothing. It looked like it was in a high school gym.
Last week I said that I thought the Rookies would win the Rookie Challenge this year after a seven year drought, and I was happy to get that one right. I was off on the MVP though. It was a pretty fun game to watch simply because I got to see Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Johnny Flynn, Brandon Jennings, and DeJuan Blair run amuck against the Sophs. The Sophomore team had no answer for all those speedy guards slashing to the rim all night long, which was probably why Tyreke Evans won the MVP on the strength of 26 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 5 steals. Personally, I voted for DeJuan Blair, but not just because of my Spurs bias. Blair finished with 22 points, 23 rebounds, and 4 assists and was the reason the Rookies were able to out-rebound the Sophs 52-42. He also had the best play of the night when he threw the ball off the backboard to himself and slammed it (niiiice). And yes, I think he was robbed of the MVP. Russell Westbrook had 40 points for the Sophs. A few side notes: I’m not sure how I feel about Jennings trying to bring back the “Gumby”; I am a little amazed at how many basketball people are still unaware of Blair’s lack of ACLs; Nate Robinson is actually not a bad “extra” announcer, and I got a kick out of him commenting on the game almost to himself; Pau Gasol looks like Gargamel with a beard.
During halftime of the Rookie Challenge the NBA held the first “Dunk In” between DeMar DeRozan and Eric Gordon to see which one would get the fourth and final spot in the Dunk Contest. DeMar won with ease. He walked out, did one of those pass-thru-the-legs-in-midair dunks, then waited for Eric Gordon to make a dunk after about 89 attempts. Since each player gets two dunks, DeMar did a second, relatively tame dunk and waited for DeMar to miss 96 more attempts before catching an oop from OJ Mayo that he finally managed to slam home. If you can’t tell by the tone of this writing, DeMar is in the contest tomorrow.
I’ll post the Blair dunk video and/or highlights from the night as soon as I can find some online.