Bet Big DC Header Large with Stamp and Metro Map

Hoops

John Wall Looks Off Carmelo to Find Paul Pierce for 3-Pointer

There’s obviously lots to like about this pass from John Wall to Paul Pierce in last night’s 98-83 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. But even more impressive than the look-off to freeze Carmelo Anthony, I think I’m in love with the cohesion of Wall and Pierce after just four games.

 

At the very beginning of the video clip, Pierce isn’t even in the shot. But that doesn’t mean Wall doesn’t see him. He attacks down toward the basket, gives the impression he’s dishing to a shooter in the corner (a play the Wiz like to run) and instead passes back to the arc where Pierce can walk into receiving a pass and blast a wide-open three.

This assist (one of Wall’s seven on the night) was quite delicious.

Assembling the House of Guards: An NBA Fantasy Draft Fable

House of Guards is my team name, but sadly I ended up zero Wiz bros on the squad.

House of Guards is my team name, but sadly I ended up with zero Wiz bros on the squad.

 

For the first time in a long time, I participated in an NBA fantasy league draft with other members of the hoops crew at numberFire.

I’m not entirely sure how these draft fables go over with readers — whether or not they’re entertaining or completely useless — but here’s a trip through the snake drafting process of a novice with the second-overall pick in a 12-team head-to-head format.

And to better set the scene for strategy, the scoring format consists of nine categories: field goal percentage (FG%), free throw percentage (FT%), three-point shots made (3PTM), points scored (PTS), total rebounds (REB), assists (AST), steals (ST), blocked shots (BLK), and turnovers (TO).

Additionally, each roster consists of 13 guys: 10 starters and three bench spots.

Here’t goes.

 

Round 1 (Pick 2) – LeBron James

Not a whole lot of shock and awe going on here. I did contemplate taking longtime man crush Kevin Durant and fighting through the first 12-20 games of the season without him, but that was a tough maneuver given my experience.

It’s LeBron. He’ll get me some of everything. He’s durable. I’m pleased.

 

Round 2 (11) – Nicolas Batum

While Bron Bron was great in the first, I felt the wrath of the snake quite early, as I had to wait another 20 picks before turning in the card on my main man’s wingman.

Heading into the second round, my goal was LaMarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, and John Wall — probably in that order. Unsurprisingly, Aldridge was gone at 2.4 and Wall was gone at 2.6. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting excited about the chance of Leonard falling to me.

Leonard goes at 2.9, then Horford, then I rebound with Nicolas Batum — a versatile running mate alongside James who gives me good minutes, points, rebounds, and decent assist numbers. Another pleasing pick here.

 

Round 3 (2) – Joakim Noah

Immediately after taking Batum, I felt a sense of urgency to go big in the next couple rounds. a

Marc Gasol was available here, and I also really, really thought about Brook Lopez. I ultimately sided with Noah for his rebounds and hustle on defense.

 

Round 4 (11) – Kemba Walker

There was no chance DeAndre Jordan would fall to me this late in the round, but I at least wished for it. In terms of what I thought even slightly possible, I targeted Chandler Parsons, Nikola Vucevic, Mike Conley if he happened to be there, and Tim Duncan.

Parsons, gone; Vucevic, gone; Conley, gone; and Timmy sniped a pick before me.

Pretty harsh feeling at that point — the timer ticking down and literally your entire target list long gone. The only silver lining I had in this situation is that I’d be picking again two spots later.

I landed Kemba Walker for his points and assists, also recognizing the loss in field goal percentage. And while he may not hit them at a great clip right now, I do like that Walker isn’t shy about chucking from beyond the arc (216 made threes over the past two seasons).

 

Round 5 (2) – Kenneth Faried

Derrick Favors was one of my pre-draft targets — a guy I felt good about and told myself I wouldn’t pass on if given the chance to take him.

In retrospect, I should’ve taken Kenneth Faried — another guy I really, really wanted — at the end of Round 4, then turned right around and drafted Favors to solidify a strong, youthful front court.

Nonetheless, I’m happy to have Faried on the House of Guards squad.

 

Round 6 (11) – Jamal Crawford

Round 6. The Round of the Sniper.

With Marcin Gortat taken at 6.5, I shifted focus to Greg Monroe, Jimmy Butler, and David Lee. Then Lee went at 6.7, Monroe at 6.9, and Butler, ever so fittingly, selected a pick before me at 6.10.

doknojvopckzdkjqwokm?!?!?!?!?

I’m not mad about landing Jamal Crawford. First guy off the bench or starter, the dude puts up points and buries three-pointers. I wanted (and also felt I needed) both.

 

Round 7 (2) – Nikola Pekovic

As much as I enjoy the Pekovic stat line, there was some concern surrounding this pick given the stuff I’ve read regarding the Timberwolves limiting Pek’s minutes due to some knee-itis type malarkey.

I took him anyway, expecting something like 16 points and 8 rebounds a night, as well as effective shooting from the field.

 

Round 8 (11) – Eric Gordon

This is where I felt things began to unravel for me.  At the top of the eighth round, I planned on taking Tyson Chandler and felt good about his availability.

Targeting Chandler (and ONLY Chandler), however, ended up being my biggest downfall. Totally my fault.

Chandler was selected at 8.5 and I suddenly had no idea what I wanted to do. I liked the idea of another scoring type and thought long and hard about The Truth in Washington. Then I backed off and thought about going for another big.

Lost in space, I ended up with Eric Gordon.

I’ve crossed my fingers for Gordon to stay healthy since I made that pick more than eight hours ago.

 

Round 9 (2) – Enes Kanter

Paul Pierce was still an option here (he’d later go at 9.6), but I felt a strong need to address my front court after taking Gordon in the last round.

I’m not sure the rest of the crew agreed with Enes Kanter this high, but I viewed it as a pick with upside. He’s a full-time starter in Utah this season, and if rumors are true that he’s going to get some long-range looks, then bring ‘em on.

I like what Kanter can give me in the points department, as well as field goal percentage, and I think his rebounding numbers can/will improve to make him a steady double-double guy.

 

Round 10 (11) – Tristan Thompson

Entering the back end of the draft, I was looking for a guy with some double-double potential who could serve as a decent utility guy. I was really after Jeff Green, but he ended up going 11.11.

There’s probably not enough balls to go around in Cleveland, but I like the idea of Thompson’s athleticism paired with LeBron.

 

Round 11 (2) – J.J. Redick

I thought about Ersan Ilyasova here, but then remembered my pre-hypertension and figured his play throughout the season is a roller coaster best not experienced.

Then, as embarrassing as it may sound, I thought about Carlos Boozer here too.

Ultimately I ended up with the man/kid/dude I grew up loathing. And I mean that literally. I spent nearly my entire adolescence (and beyond) defiling J.J. Redick and anything having to do with his existence.

Setting emotions aside for a second though, I ended up with a pretty decent basketball guy if/when he can stay healthy. Going after a three-point shooter made sense at this stage in my draft too, so Redick it is.

 

Round 12 (11) – Terrence Ross

I had Marcus Smart sitting in my queue for quite some time, and I was confident in landing him at the end of the round. Instead, discussion heated up on the Google Hangout we had going on, this guy said “Smart”, that guy said “Smart”, and before I knew it, Smart was out of my queue and gone at 12.4.

That’s not bitterness of course. I’m not talking as if I’m some NBA draft pro that just lost the season because us guys decided to talk about a certain someone in the second to last round. I’m just saying, Marcus Smart would’ve been cool.

Good news for me: Terrence Ross is also cool. He finished last season averaging 11 points per game with 161 made three-pointers. He also added better than three rebounds and an assist every night in under 27 minutes.

Also noted: Once Smart was off the board, I was comfortable going with Alec Burks. He was taken two picks before me.

 

Round 13 (2) – Kevin Garnett 

Matt Barnes was the smart pick here, but I favored a big man who could play the five.

And respect, of course. Respect for the Big Ticket and my duty as a basketball fan to never allow him to go undrafted in fantasy formats. Ever.

Speaking of which, what ever happened to the “Big Ticket” moniker? Was that considered an immature nickname?

Anyway, there was also the possibility of taking Dion Waiters to close out my draft, but with his recent slew of shit talking, I couldn’t stomach the move. Not to mention, the crew and I were giggling so much about Waiters through the previous 12 rounds that I didn’t want to be the guy that actually landed him. #BealOrDie

 

Not a terrible fiddle, I suppose. I was definitely outmatched by the other guys, who are extremely wise and savvy and absolutely worth your follow on Twitter (@weisband, @rustypedalbike, @gdula13, @bryan_mears, @HurmNF, @Real_Hauss, @BitterPackerFan, @GalinDragiev, @bRo14thekid, @Style_N_Out).

Again, things really seemed to go awry for me after the seventh round. The sniping rate was picking up, I wasn’t nearly as sharp as I should’ve been regarding intriguing late-round fliers, and I reached on a fair share I’m guessing.

Now onto the games!

 

  1. Klay Thompson went 3.1, otherwise that would’ve been hard to resist.  (back)

Reports: Kevin Durant Close to Massive $325 Million Endorsement Deal with Under Armour

Kevin Durant Redskins 2

The dream of Kevin Durant returning to Washington, DC is still alive and well — just in case anyone was checking.

The latest puzzle piece to nestle into place? The rumor that Durant will be moving on from his longtime partnership with Nike to sign an incredibly massive $325 million endorsement deal with Under Armour.

And the rub? Under Armour headquarters is located in Durant’s home state of Maryland.

Will I continue to feed this monster? Yes I will — ’til the summer of ’16 when KD is donning a fly-ass Wizards jersey.

Grading the Wizards’ 2014 NBA Summer League Stay

Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr.

Some fans enjoy the NBA summer league. Others hate it.

If I had to guess, I’d say a majority tend to lean toward the “hate it” side. Why? Lots of reasons, really. But things like “sloppy play”, “who the hell is this kid?”, and “is that so-and-so’s brother’s nephew’s cousin?” probably top the list.

Anyway, the conclusion of the Las Vegas summer league (congrats, Sacramento?) means another chapter of the NBA offseason in the books, which then gives us the opportunity to hand out praise and criticism to our beloved Washington Wizards for their two-week layover in Sin City.

Here’s a look at the good and bad from Washington’s summer league stay.

Cool

  • Although it’s really what should’ve happened for the Wizards this summer given each guys’ time spent on the roster last season, both Glen Rice Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. impressed in their six games in Vegas. Rice averaged 25 points per game and won summer league MVP (hardware!), while Porter chipped in with 19 and nearly six rebounds a game. One could breakdown each guy’s play, game-by-game, but the most noticeable takeaway from the young duo (both of whom should be a part of the team’s active roster) is their confidence. I think assistant coach Sam Cassell was the first to say it (I think…no link), but it was so true — both Rice and Porter were playing like they were the best players on the court, and it made a world of difference in their play. Hopefully that carries over.
Player G MPG FG% 3P% RPG APG SPG TO PPG
Porter 6 31.8 0.484 0.389 5.8 1.8 0.5 2.2 19
Rice 6 32 0.469 0.361 7.8 2.3 2.5 3 25
  • As someone who’s been on the Khem Birch bandwagon for quite a while now, it was nice to see him play well this summer, and for the Wizards to boot. His five points per game in a little more than 19 minutes of action were on par for the type of hustle/defensive/ rebounding player he is. Birch doesn’t fit the mold of a stretch-4, but he’s an easy guy to root for because he does all the other stuff (5.7 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game) well and does so with maximum effort.
  • Sam Cassell remains a hot coaching candidate, which is great in terms of his current duties with the Wizards, but also concerning that he could be on his way to Los Angeles in exchange for a second-round pick (according to Wojnarowski). Given Ernie Grunfeld’s drafting ability, Cassell is worth about 68 times more than a second-round pick. I hope he stays.
  • I’m willing to call it the best moment of the Wizards’ summer league — the ever so studly Bradley Beal was sitting courtside, wearing a headset and chatting it up with the commentary crew during one of Washington’s games against the Miami Heat. As Beal talked about his own development as a player and the Wizards’ expectations heading into next season, Tyler Honeycutt (who is quite bad) attempted to drive the left lane and slam on Wizards center Daniel Theis. Honeycutt was successful with the driving part, but Theis dished out a peak-high block that was well-qualified for the four-letter network’s top-ten plays, ultimately leading to a whooing crowd and Honeycutt’s miserable remains hunched on the hardwood.

Beal then added commentary of his own, giving us the best 16 words of the tournament and helping complete a truly special moment in Theis’ young career.

I don’t know his name — I think he’s from overseas — but that was a good block.                                                                        – Bradley Beal, nevermore

So who really is Daniel Theis? I have no idea. I don’t think anyone does. Even DraftExpress.com didn’t have much info outside of his vitals (6’9″, 215 lbs), his age (22), his hometown (Braunschweig, Germany), and his Eurocup stats from last season. But following five games with the Wiz this summer, the athletic power forward with the blonde comb-over averaged 6.6 points, six boards and nearly two blocks a game. Definitely cool. 

Somewhat chilly

  • My current nightmare: rooting for Daniel Orton. Why the torture? Because he was a part of the John Wall draft class in 2010 and I crush on John Wall like a teenage school girl? I have no answers. Even so, I feel like I barely saw Orton this summer, despite him playing five games with the Wiz. His stats were pretty ho-hum for the most part: 4.4 points, 5 rebounds, and barely a block per game. The better side: 1.4 assists and 1.2 steals. Go Daniel Orton.
  • Rookie Jamil Wilson looked the part of a small forward, standing 6’7″, 230 pounds. Additionally, his hometown of Racine, Wisconsin is the same as former-Wizards forward Caron Butler. Kind of cool/coincidental.

Not Cool

  • I know you’re not supposed to invest a lot into the summer league, but I had high(er) hopes for rookie point guard Deonte Burton. It’d be nice for a young point to come up through the ranks behind guys like John Wall and veteran Andre Miller, and Burton seemed like a fun project. But after averaging less than two points per game on 15 percent (!) shooting with an ugly assist (1) to turnover (1.3) ratio, Burton takes the cake for most disappointing of the Wizards’ desert vacation.

Wizards go 5-1 in Las Vegas, the Jrs. (Glen Rice and Otto Porter) find their mojo, Sam Cassell is a valuable asset, I still like Khem Birch (and for some reason Daniel Orton too), maybe someone knows who Daniel Theis is by now (but probably not), and the Deonte Burton balloon (if there ever was one) has already gone flat.

So long, summer league.

Wizards Acquire DeJuan Blair, Strengthen Frontcourt

c/o Jerome Miron - USA Today Sports

c/o Jerome Miron – USA Today Sports

I’m not sure where this ends up on the fandom gauge, but I’m willing to label myself thrilled regarding the Wizards acquiring DeJuan Blair from Dallas.

I wrote more about it at numberFire, which includes reasons why I refer to him as DeJuan Bear, how he fits in Washington, and why he’s an upgrade for the Wizards.

————————————————————

 

Often times it’s difficult to make sense of Ernie Grunfeld making sense, but Wizards fans shouldn’t have too many gripes this summer. The Washington front office is pulling all the strings to improve (or replenish in some instances) a second-round playoff team from just a few months ago.

Sticking to the offseason script of subtle, efficient, and cost-effective, the Wizards acquired 25-year-old forward DeJuan Blair from the Dallas Mavericks in a sign-and-trade that will send the Mavs a $2.1 million trade exception (which was acquired by Washington when they traded Eric Maynor to Philadelphia last season).

Not to be a Washington homer, but this is another move that belongs under the “good” column for the Wizards. Here’s a brief breakdown of the transaction.

Money and Budget

Blair’s new contract with the Wizards is reported to be a three-year deal, worth $6 million. And wouldn’t ya know it – the final year of the contract comes as a team option.

Not to harp on the issue, but the Wizards’ intent is becoming more and more obvious with every signing. Like the two-year deal for Paul Pierce, and the three-year deal for Kris Humphries, the Wizards are constructing all new contracts with the summer of 2016 in mind – when hometown hero Kevin Durant becomes a free agent.

It should also be noted that, in terms of future cap room, the Wizards are preparing to pay Bradley Beal – the 21-year-old two-guard the team drafted third-overall in 2012 and have watched developed into a promising NBA star.

Additionally, what’s great about Blair’s contract (and Humphries’ contract, for that matter) is the fact that the team-option is extremely affordable. Say the dream does come true for Wizards fans and Durant returns to DC – the Wizards could essentially bring back solid frontcourt depth in the form of both Humphries and Blair for less than $6.5 million (estimated).

Production

When it comes to rotational players like Blair, referring to per-game statistics can be a bit misleading. Take Blair’s production from last season for example, where averaging 6.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game tends to scream mediocrity.

But when you consider the fact Blair posted those numbers while averaging less than 16 minutes per outing, reception changes. Stretch that kind of output over the course of 36 minutes (i.e. a starting role) and you get an impressive 14.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, more than two assists, and nearly two steals.

Unlike Humphries who can drift away from the paint to knockdown jumpers, a majority of Blair’s scoring will come from within 10 feet of the bucket. Despite being an undersized big man at 6’7″, Blair makes up for it with his 265-pound frame. He’s strong and bulky, easily eating up space down low and playing with great anticipation in order to provide himself with clean-up opportunities and cutting finishes around the rim.

How He Fits

After the departure of Trevor Booker, and with the looming possibility of Kevin Seraphin leaving Washington for more money elsewhere, the Wizards are beefing up their frontcourt depth and arguably improving what they had last season.

Blair may not be a defensive stalwart, but you won’t be left questioning whether or not he’s fighting for position or looking to secure a board. And by just barely out-rebounding their opponents on average last season (42.2/42.1 per game), the Wizards were clearly looking to add feisty rebounding types.

There’s also some position versatility that comes with Blair, as he’s able to fill-in at center if need be. Although not the rim-protector type, Blair once again falls back on his ability to carve space in the paint and fight for boards. Last season in Dallas, Blair played a career-high 36 percent of his minutes at center.

The Wizards’ current starting frontcourt of Marcin Gortat and Nene, albeit effective and strong, does require some insurance. Although the Polish Hammer plays more like he’s 28 than 30, Nene is 31 and hasn’t played more than 61 games in a season in three years.

As an added bonus, Blair brings with him valuable experience and work ethic, despite becoming the fifth-youngest player on the Wizards roster. In addition to being a part of arguably the best organization in the league for four seasons in San Antonio, Blair has been to the playoffs in each of his five NBA seasons, and has strung together solid production to the tune of 17 points, 13 boards, nearly two assists, and better than two steal per 36 minutes, with a 24.4 career playoffs PER.

Fans Could Get Used to This

Again, this is odd for Wizards fans. The front office is making quality moves, while remaining prudent, and relatively under the radar. And for the first time in a long time, Wizards fans can boast (at least a little) about their team’s frontcourt depth. From a net perspective, the Wizards upgraded their talent from Booker and Seraphin (who hasn’t left town just yet) to Humphries and Blair, and for a lower cost to boot.

Blair is a guy I’m willing to believe in, which may stem entirely from the fact that I was banging the table for the Wizards to draft him early in the second round five years ago, and instead they drafted some dude name Jermaine Taylor who they then sold to Houston only never to be heard from ever again.

Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because per-36-minutes stats have consumed me when it comes to gauging rotational players and, in that case, DeJuan Blair is just as beastly on a stat sheet as he appears in person.

Wizards Acquire Andre Miller in 3-Team Trade at NBA Deadline

Andre Miller

Helping themselves gear up for — dare we say it? — the playoffs, the Wizards pulled off a three-team trade at the deadline on Thursday to bring veteran point guard Andre Miller to Washington, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

In exchange, the Wizards send former sixth-overall pick Jan Vesely to Denver, as well as guard Eric Maynor and a second-round pick in 2015 to Philadelphia. The 76ers will also receive a second-rounder from the Nuggets.

What the Wizards Gain

A 38-year-old point guard in Miller who is making $5 million this season, and $4.6 million in 2014/15 (only $2 million of which is guaranteed). He’s an intelligent playmaker with great passing skills and a trusted veteran in crunch situations.

What the Wizards Give Up

It’s never good when you ship off a guy you drafted sixth-overall just three years prior, but Jan Vesely (aka AirWolf, JaniV) and his 3.5 points per game wasn’t getting it done in Washington. Although us fans seemed to enjoy him, it typically had nothing to do with his on-court performance.

As for Eric Maynor — we went from being satisfied with him as a backup, to making social media accounts named after his horrific floater, to creating slow-motion Vines of his facial expressions while he rode the bench.

Maynor’s overused tweet of “wheels up” certainly wouldn’t be an accurate description of his brief stint in Washington. That project never, ever got off the ground.

And let’s worry about the Wizards drafting efficiently in the first round before we get all pretentious about finding diamonds in the rough. No one will miss that second-round pick.

Why Did the Wizards Make the Trade?

Believe it or not, the Wizards have a really good shot at making the playoffs. And if they want to have any chance at doing anything of note, they needed to add depth at point guard.

And don’t forget Bradley Beal’s minute restriction. Adding Miller will allow for the Wizards to better cushion themselves when Beal’s on the bench.

Where Does the New Guy Fit?

We’ll have to wait and see. It’ll be interesting to see how many minutes Miller plays and where they come from.

Wall’s playing time (currently 37 MPG — tied for 10th in the NBA) may decline a tad, but only for his own good. And assuming the Wizards have Beal’s minute limit in mind, Miller has the ability to play off the ball, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see he and Wall on the floor together.

In simplest form, Miller’s going to log more productive minutes than Vesely and Maynor combined. Adding a savvy veteran who can handle the ball can’t be a bad thing, right?

Final Call

I like the move for the Wizards in their current situation. I like Andre Miller and I think he’s a good personality for the team.

That said — while we were all pretty much through writing our short story on AirWolf in Washington anyway — calling a flop a flop is never easy when it’s your team. We can now definitively say the Wizards wasted the No. 6-overall pick in 2011. 1

 

2014 NBA All-Star Game: Live Blogging With Very Little Basketball

House of Cards

 

Did a belated Valentine’s date keep you away from the television? Did you wisely decide to watch three hours of House of Cards instead of tormenting yourself with pregame All-Star game entertainment? No fear! You’re all covered by way of this convenient and invaluable list of random observations from the night that was — bringing a whole new meaning to the term “live blog”.

Pregame:

– R&B performance by some guy name Mack Wilds, who looks a lot like Mike from…HOLY SHIT THAT’S MIKE FROM THE WIRE! Mack Wilds’ real name is Tristan Wilds, who’s best known (at least by me) for his role as Michael Lee in The Wire — one of the greatest television series of all-time.

– Following Mack Wilds was Jason Derulo. He lip synced about lipstick on his passport and recounted the glory days of 2010 with a performance of “Ridin’ Solo”. So perfect.

– Skylar Diggins in street clothes sighting.

– A pregame preface of sorts by Bunk Moreland…I mean, Wendell Pierce. Although I’ll always know him as Jimmy McNulty’s drinking buddy and detective partner in The Wire, Pierce is a New Orleans native and also famous for his role in Treme — a New Orleans-based HBO series.

– Indiana Pacers forward Paul George arrived at the arena in camo pants and a suit jacket. Style.

– Terrence J hosting > Nick Cannon doing anything?

 

Nick Cannon All-Star

 

– Speak of the devil! We can’t seem to escape the miserable presence that is Nick Cannon. And my goodness, he seems to have come a long way from last night’s atrocious white suit, stepping out in an equally heinous leather hat and fur.

– Somebody allowed Charles Barkley access to the White House and he interviewed the POTUS. The exchange was routine, but Barkley deserves credit for a job well done. Like most basketball broadcasts, Sir Charles retains his position as all-time MVP.

– That said, no one helped Charles with his tie knot. Saggy, sloppy and sideways.

– Highlighting Saturday night’s dunk contest makes it look like it was a fun event. Not fooled.

 

Craig Sager

 

– Craig Sager’s suit looks like he trimmed down a kimono.

– Pharell takes the stage to kickoff the game, doing a fine job. But then Nelly comes out and performs Hot in Herre, completely disassembling the fun. Somewhere Kevin Harlan is jammin’.

– But wait, there’s more. Nelly no sooner exits the stage, and P. Diddy and a much larger (fatter) Busta Rhymes join Pharell to perform Pass the Courvoisier, Part II. Oh yes.

– A fantastic rebound takes place as Pharell and Chad Hugo perform Rockstar — an N.E.R.D. classic. It only lasts a minute or two before Snoop Dogg joins the stage to recite Beautiful.

– Pharell packed more punch in five minutes than Nick Cannon did in four hours the night before.

 

Busta Rhymes

 

– Intro of the Western Conference lineup (the Eastern squad was announced somewhere in the Pharell-led performance too) and that insanely catchy tune Happy is performed, with Pharell being joined on stage one last time by the whole crew — Busta Rhymes, Diddy, Nelly and Snoop.

– Screenshot of Drake amidst “O Canada”, because Justin Bieber’s on house arrest.

– Gary Clark Jr. performs the Star Spangled Banner. No lyrics, just electric slide guitar. Beautiful. And Gary continues to be the coolest dude on the planet. Unfortunately, players don’t appear anywhere near as excited as I am.

Gametime:

– And then the world’s greatest pickup game started. With about eight minutes left to go in the first half, I retired to reheated prime rib, Gordon’s fish sticks and au gratin potatoes.

– West leads the East 89-76 at halftime. The West could’ve put themselves ahead by 15 heading into the half, but Kevin Durant decided to pull up on a 3-on-none fast break to brick a three-pointer with a couple seconds left, BECAUSE ALL-STAR GAME BIA! And because the Durantula can do no wrong.

– Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue completely kill the halftime show. If you’ve never seen them live, try and change that.

– The same goes for Gary Clark Jr., but multiply it by 682.

 

Courtesy of Stu Vetter

Courtesy of Stu Vetter

 

– Two All-Stars with Washington-area roots: Roy Hibbert and Kevin Durant.

– Have to wonder how All-Star game halftimes look like in the locker room. Hotdogs? Candy? Lots of Beats headphones? Absolutely no strategic element, right?

– At the 9:06 mark in the third quarter, Reggie Miller throws out all kinds of smart with, “At some point, the East are going to have get serious on defense.” It’s 99-89.

– Not sure if it’s been mentioned already, but the NBA went through with it and put sleeves on these jerseys.

– I wish Anthony Davis played for the Wizards.

– Just a reminder that this arena is named the Smoothie King Center.

– The East made a comeback, defeating the West 163-155.

Kyrie Irving

– Kevin Durant led the West with 38 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Kyrie Irving (All-Star MVP) led the East with 31 points, five rebounds and 14 assists, which will give baseless fans a little more ammo in their argument for Irving > Wall.

– Also to note, Blake Griffin scored 38 on 19-of-23 shooting. Meanwhile, Stephen Curry and Kevin Love combined for just 9-of-25.

– Most points scored in All-Star game history. Accomplishment?

Later.

 

John Wall Wins Absurd NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Courtesy of ESPN

Courtesy of ESPN

 

“John Wall just brought the slam dunk contest back.”

Those were Magic Johnson’s words following Wall’s reverse pump slam that earned him “Dunker of the Night” honors in Saturday night’s NBA Dunk Contest — an event that lasted about four times longer than it needed to.

While Wall represented the Wizards well, it was the awkwardness of the competition and its new format that stole the show.

 

John Wall Reverse Pump Dunk

 

1. Nick Cannon was your host for the evening.

2. Nick Cannon wore a white suit that not even Mariah Carey would endorse.

3. The crowd had ZERO involvement. And when I say zero, I mean Harrison Barnes could have heard a single fan screaming “You’re a robot!” from the nosebleeds if any fan actually cared enough to do so.

4. The new format felt forced and unnecessary. No one was having fun.

5. Drake was used as a prop in Terrence Ross’ battle round.

6. Did we mention Nick Cannon yet?

7. Kevin Harlan responded to a mention of Nelly — who was sitting courtside — by saying, “It must be getting hot in here.” As a result, fellow commentators Reggie Miller and Steve Kerr struck him down with lightning, and did so violently. “You really didn’t just say that, did you Kevin?” (This brutal ordeal may have actually occurred during the 3-point contest. I’m not really sure. Not like it matters, though. The whole night was a fat cluster of clumsiness.)

8. The judges were forced to use iPads rather than old-fashioned posterboard & sharpie to display their given scores. Dr. Julius Erving appeared to struggle mightily with this.

9.  Poor Ernie Johnson. Thanks to the new rules, he had no idea where he was or what he was doing. And to help him along, he had Shaq and Charles Barkley. Dammit, Ernie! *slams two fists on table* We’re all sorry!

10. Nick Cannon deserves a fourth mention in a 10-point list. He earned it. More than just the ridiculous suit and the corny jokes, the dude is unbearable. Does anyone turn on a broadcast, see Nick Cannon and then suddenly feel this overcoming emotion of “Oh my goodness, this is going to be thrilling and fantastic!”? No.

Can’t wait for the All-Star game!

 

John Wall Likes the Bullets and Recruiting Kevin Durant

IMG_3667

Courtesy of PointGuardU.com

 

After earning his first trip to the NBA All-Star game, Wizards point guard John Wall sat down with Grantland’s Bill Simmons as part of a special interview series taking place in New Orleans this weekend.

The interview lasts about 17 minutes, but the juice is squeezed for you below.

At the 12:53 mark, Simmons asks Wall if he prefers the Wizards or the Bullets. And ever so brilliantly, Wall responds, “I love the Wizards, but I like the Bullets thing. I like they way their jerseys were. And I like the name. But I’m a Washington Wizard and I love it.”

Preach, preach, preach. Had Wall added a shout for America at the end of that response, he’d likely find his name on the ticket for 2016.

Then, after Wall gave some love to Washington fans, Simmons asks, “You kinda threw out the Kevin Durant/Washington thing didn’t you?”

Without missing a beat, Wall replies, “Yeah, I did.”

“I enjoyed that,” Simmons says, with a grin. “So did I,” Wall said.

“Do players recruit each other?” Simmons asks. “Oh yeah,” said Wall. “I think guys get an opportunity to be around each other for All-Star break, definitely talk to guys.”

So quid pro quo, yada yada yada, boom boom pow, and we can all rest easy this weekend knowing that John Wall and Kevin Durant are talking about how beautifully magical it would be to team up in Washington for the 2016/17 season.

Bliss.

Enjoy All-Star weekend.

 

Be nice. Don't Plagiarize. Bet Big DC © 2014 Frontier Theme