Marco Belinelli represented Europe with a win in the three-point shootout, Damian Lilliard participated in all five events, and won only one but when it was all said and done, Uncle Drew stole the headlines in what was an experimental NBA All-Star weekend.
Kyrie Irving, as Uncle Drew has always preached that he “gets buckets”, and on Sunday, he traded the hooded top and jogging pants for an ugly short-sleeved jersey and – simply put – he put on a show.
Irving won the All-Star Game MVP as he amassed 31 points, 14 assists and 5 rebounds as the East, often ridiculed for being the weakest conference, came from 18 points down to triumph of the West 163-155.
The East also scored the last 10 points to end a weekend where all the mini-games took on a new format.
Rookies and Sophmores got together as Team Hill (led by Grant Hill) beat Team Webber (Chris Webber) 142-136 with Andre Drummond leading the way with 30 points and a Rising Stars record 25 rebounds. His evening was diminished slightly with the trophy being dropped by a representative from the game’s title sponsor BBVA before it was handed to the Detroit Pistons big man.
Drummond’s performance was a highlight, but this back-and-forth between Dion Waiters and Tim Hardaway Jr stole the show.
The new formats to All-Star Saturday drew mild criticism. But Italian Marco Belinelli would ultimately come away with the spoils in the revised three-point competition, beating Washington’s Bradley Beal in a playoff. The new shootour included a rack of money balls, as opposed to the usual rack of balls with one money ball, which is worth 2 points. Favourite Stephen Curry was eliminated in the first round.
The Skills Challenge is a team event now and for was showcased for the first time on Saturday. Damian Lilliard and Trey Burke won the event as beat original favourites, Reggie Jackson and Slovenian Goran Dragic in the first round then defeated Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo in the final by 0.1 seconds. Their win over Jackson and Dragic will be highlighted for Jackson strolling through the course not seeming to care too much about the win.
Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash won the Shooting Stars Challenge and John Wall took the fans vote for dunker of the night after the East won the overall Dunk Contest as they revised it into a team event. Ben McLemore tried to look flashy as he dunked over Shaq, who was sat on a thone but the effect didn’t impress many. John Wall answered with a reverse pump slam over Washington Wizards mascot G-Man.
Rather than write about the All-Star Game itself, it’s better to show you some of the highlights of the game including Irving’s MVP showing.
Stephen Curry with the beautiful between-the-legs move and finish.
LeBron with the windmill off the alley-oop.
Carmelo Anthony’s All-Star record 8 triples
KYRIE IRVING AKA UNCLE DREW