Here’s what we’re covering in today’s All-Star game:
1) Interesting moments for Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol
2) Noticeable nuggets involving Phil Jackson and his Lakers assistant coaches
3) The MVP race, particularly my and Ty’s MVP Draft.
That’ll just about do it. Here are the starters:
Lakers: Oops. Habit. Western Conference: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Amare Stoudemire, Tim Duncan and Yao Ming
Eastern Conference: Allen Iverson, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard
12:00 Intros: Kobe was the last player announced among the All-Stars, which drew primarily cheers with a few boos from Suns fans (Spurs Duncan and Tony Parker were booed as well). Equally solid: Since I missed “Oh Canada” when we were in Toronto, I was pretty happy to hear Grant Hill’s wife belt it out like Celine Dion (with a special French/English mix). Impressive. Is it unpatriotic to like Canada’s version more than the U.S. National Anthem? Jordin Sparks (American Idol winner from Arizona) was pretty solid, to be fair.
11:40 Even though it was over Kobe, I’m liking the D-Wade pull-up from three. Good start for my top MVP pick. Ty’s No. 1 selection (LeBron) followed with a layup after Kobe’s missed triple for a 5-0 East lead.
9:08 Kobe hit his first of three shots, a pull-up in the lane over KG’s outstretched hands. I guess he’s not scared to shoot today, which makes sense because the West has such a huge starting lineup. In other words, Kobe’s the only guy that creates his own shot willingly from the perimeter.
8:22 So Kobe needs a bit of time to warm up … he just missed his fourth of five shots, this time from three. No worries for Lakers fans, because it’s better he miss now than vs. Atlanta on Tuesday.
7:22 AI tried to match Corey Maggette’s record for steps taken before dribbling, but only got to five.
6:57 Huge two-handed dunk off a pretty Paul set up from Bryant.
5:44 The first timeout of the game saw the East up 21-10, which really isn’t surprising considering the frontcourt matchups: Howard’s got Yao in this kind of game, Duncan and KG cancel out, and LeBron’s not even close with Stoudemire. This should even out soon though…
… The timeout allowed Phil to put Shaq in with Kobe for the first time.
4:37 If they’re not going to cover Kobe, he’ll keep shooting – this time a completely wide-open three, which he dropped to go 4-of-9 for a game-high nine points. Meanwhile, Jackson kept Kobe on the floor with Shaq, Chauncey Billups, Brandon Roy and Dirk Nowitzki.
3:40 Kobe again. Ty says he’s hungry because he didn’t play much at all last year (finger). He’s got 11.
2:56 We’ve been talking all day about how small the East team is, which became clear when Rashard Lewis tried to guard Shaq (foul). The West has taken advantage by scoring every point of the last few minutes…
1:56 …Finally, a 19-0 West run was halted by a Rashard Lewis three, one he had in the bank from his final-round performance of the three-point shootout. It’s just odd to have a massive run here, because it’s not like the West completely locked down on D or anything.
1:21 Another of my MVP top three, Tony Parker, scored four points with a dime in his first minute. Let’s keep that going, France.
0:29.0 Checking in for Shaq, Gasol immediately dunked, grabbed a defensive rebound and missed a baby hook in the lane. Nonetheless, the Western size caught up to the East, who went up 20-8 only to be outscored 24-7 (they didn’t score from the 5:52 mark until 1:56 remained).
Continue reading ’2009 All-Star Game: Running Diary’