NBA All-Star Weekend 2014: Saturday Night Recap


Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The celebrities that attended last night’s NBA All-Star Saturday in New Orleans probably had a better time than the viewing audience at home. Watching last night’s events on TV was only enjoyable because of the company, but frankly, each event was incredibly dull and the TNT team and Nick Cannon (Why?) seemed to be struggling to make the night mean something to the viewers.

Let’s do a quick run-down of the evening:

The Shooting Stars competition is always there to set the table for the rest of the night. It was a little embarrassing to see Dominique Wilkins miss three of five layups, but impressive to see Chris Bosh go 2-2 from half court. All-in-all it was what it was supposed to be.

The Skills competition seemed to benefit from its new structure of having teams of two players working together to make the best time. I was confused on why they eliminated a bounce pass from the course, and also why they added a couple tenths of a second to Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams‘ time (which led to Trey Burke and Damian Lillard picking up the trophy). It was great to see Burke sprint up court for the win, but again, there is certainly a ceiling into how exciting this event can be.

Moving to the three-point contest. This is usually my favorite event and was the best one of the night. Marco Belinelli took home the hardware over Bradley Beal, after Beal hit his last six shots to force the contest’s equivalent of overtime. Stephen Curry was a disappointment and Joe Johnson gave what was possibly the worst performance in the contest’s history. But there was some drama towards the end, and the silence of the crowd turned into a hushed murmur as the contest finished.

And then there was the Dunk contest. The freestyle round was one of the biggest disappointments and should not return next year. If it does, then maybe I am at that point in my life where I am completely out of touch with what the people want. The battle round was almost as bad. The voting system by three NBA legends was a terrible vehicle compared to the old panel of judges holding up the sixes and sevens we were accustomed to seeing in recent years.

John Wall won dunker of the night with essentially one pretty good dunk. He may have finished some dunks in the freestyle round, but there was much less of a focus on the individuals. In addition, there is little-to-no reason for the dunkers to perform any really good dunks during the freestyle round. I have to say the NBA managed to make this year’s dunk contest the worst it has ever been, at least in my opinion.

On the bright side, I was close in my predictions, which can be found in our Editor’s Roundtable with members of the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors FanSided websites. It did help me make a few extra bucks off of last night, but I would give each dollar back for a dunk contest that didn’t end with a quiet crowd and a disappointed Phillip Bausk.