NBA All-Star game: Essence Fest with a 3-point line! : The Whims and Foibles of Sports...
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NBA All-Star game: Essence Fest with a 3-point line!

by J.W. Miller on 02/17/14

The NBA All-Star game was enjoyable if you like music but a major drag if you like basketball. Basketball obviously was not the point of the game, played at the newly christened Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Bling was the thing at Sunday night’s soiree, which was like the Essence Festival with a three point line. There were plenty of alley oops and three pointers, absolutely no defense but plenty of glamma glitz and music. 

Trombone Shorty must have been guarding Kevin Durant, who threw up a record 17 three-point attempts, and actually hit three of them! The East Squad led Earth, Wind and Fire 113-0 at halftime, but then lost the lead in the second half to a pickup team of entertainers Gary Clark Jr., Janelle Monáe, Kendrick Lamar and Serena Ryder. Gosh, I didn’t know Serena Ryder had game! Dr. John got into the act, but decided he was in the right place at the wrong time and turned his keyboard over to game MVP Kyrie Irving, who dished out 14 assists, most of which were uncontested skyballs to whichever teammate was closest to the basket. One of my favorite parts of the show was a shootout in which Pharrell Williams, wearing his trademark oversized Dudley Dooright hat, won more Grammys (7) than Dirk Nowitzki had points (0). 

For sporting fans who were forced to endure the NFL Pro Bowl joke a few weeks ago, the NBA version was worse. It’s nice to see the best players in the league together on the same floor on the same night, but they might as well have been engaging in an episode of Dancing with the Stars. Forgive me if I sound like an old poop, but I admire the skill of Lebron, Carmelo and the stars with two names when they are playing for something. Like winning. 

In order for fans to get excited about the NFL and NBA all-star campouts, the leagues must make winning worthwhile. Major League Baseball is the only all-star game that means something, as the winning league is awarded home field advantage in the World Series. That is a worthy goal and makes the game meaningful to fans who tune in to watch the sport performed at its highest level. For anybody who actually did expect a basketball game, here are some random observations:

The 318 points scored were the most points ever scored in the NBA All-Star Game, topping the previous record of 303 in 1987. Need any more proof that no defense was played? If NORAD played defense like that, a flock of homing pigeons could wipe out America’s missile defense system in twenty minutes. Carmelo set a record with eight made 3-pointers and scored 30 points. He also set the record for "Most times grimacing while having to talk about how his team's season is going at the All-Star break." 

Kyrie Irving tied a record for points in a single half with 24, tying Glen Rice from 1997. He was 11 of 13 in the second half. He also broke the record for "most questions asked about his relationship with another All-Star" referring to LeBron. Blake Griffin  nearly broke an NBA record for scoring, finishing with 38. The record was set by Wilt Chamberlain in 1962 with 42. Griffin did set an NBA record for made field goals with 19. And no, not all of them were dunks.

Despite missing 13 of 17 three-point attempts, Kevin Durant still finished with over 50 percent shooting because he's KD. He raised his record All-Star points per game to 28.8. The Pelicans’ Anthony Davis proved he belonged among the elite, scoring ten points in ten minutes, including a couple electric dunks. But even AD was not enough to make this sporting fan want to tune in next year. 

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