The whole weekend illuminated Brooklyn and New York City like Times Square as Madison Square Garden finally saw quality basketball this year led by Carmelo Anthony. The whole weekend was where amazing happened. From the three-point to dunk contest. Rising stars, celebrities and the game itself. As B.K’s Barclays Centre shared the mortgage of housing honours with M.S.G.
From funny Subway stop photo ops and collectible passes, to the hotbed of hoops talent being burnt into the bright lights of neon, N.Y.C. gave Basketball it’s deserved household fame back at its true home. First off in the Rising Stars game, Canadian rookie and Minnesota adopted Andrew Wiggins continued his Kobe-like start to his career with an MVP, 22 points as the World beat the U.S. 121-112.
Then after former Toronto Raptor Chris Bosh’s Miami team won their third straight Shooting Stars competition, leading comedian Kevin Hart went one better winning his fourth straight MVP in the celebrity game, for New York Knick Carmelo Anthony’s team. A game that featured everyone from rapper Common to comedienne Sarah Silverman. Still Hart handed his award to the real Most Valuable Player, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who had the last laugh schooling everyone with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists. Then the ‘Wedding Ringer’ star and four time, bball dominating MVP announced his retirement from the game, stating “I cant do no more”. The basketball world hasn’t lost a great this good since Mike.
Then in the downtown deep, three point contest, Steph Curry with 27 shots like a Bird only had one question when winning. Who was coming in second place? That would be hot shooting Kyrie Irving, then paced in third place by Splash Brother, Curry, human torch hot teammate Klay Thompson. Zach Lavine made the Slam Dunk Contest that much more exciting though, taking it to the hole with a variety of through the legs, eyes over the rim rockers. Winning in a weekend devoted to a new Wolf pack of Minnesota talent! The 19 year old kid was even breaking out the Michael Jordan, ‘Space Jam’ Toon Squad uniform as he said “that’s all folks” and beat singing Victor Oladipo, who still hit some 360 degree high notes. We just wish Milwaukee’s Greek Freak could have put down some of those long limbed, stretch armstrongs.
The 64th All Star Game was no sideshow either as the West(Brook) beat the East 163-158 behind MVP, Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook’s almost Chamberlain record wilting 41 points. His big play made for a big night where snubs turned to subs and an All Star fashion parade-from the warm ups to the uniforms-talked the talk more than the debut of a court-walk of a new NBA Fashion show. One designed by league entertainment C.E.O. LeBron James who described the ultimate king of hoops Garden as a place that cant be beat. Maybe suggesting that there’s some Knickerbocker, free agent regret (well wine bathing Amar’e Stoudemire has just left a spot free) along with that dunk contest hindsight. Come on ‘Bron you know you want to! As the last dunk of the All Star, all air affair brought the paper bag crowd of Madison Square off their seats, on their feet and out of their grocery shells, the NBA and N.Y.C, put on a great Valentines show for all-Basketball lovers. Even with stars like Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin and Anthony Davis out amongst the who’s who of spectators.
Now the Big Apples had its bite of big Basketball, here’s to 2016.
Next stop, Toronto…
Marial Shayok 42 points helps Delaware Blue Coats get first win
Marial Shayok became the first Ottawa’s basketball player to get drafted into the NBA and now he’s quickly making a case for permanent NBA roster spot.
Two games into his G-league/NBA career the former Iowa State Cyclones is sizzling hot — averaging 38 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Shayok made a splash with a 34 point, 6 rebound, 3 assist debut and upped his numbers in his second game as the Delaware Blue Coats downed the Greensboro Swarm 141-135 to pick-up their first win.
The Philadelphia 76ers two-way player scored 42 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and added 3 assists in just 34 minutes. Shayok connected on 14-of-27 shots, 3-of-9 triples and a perfect 9-of-9 at the charity stripe.
Shayok, alongside a bevy of Canadians are currently strutting their games in the G-League — vying for a call-up for the bright lights.
Resilient, shorthanded Raptors hand Lakers 113-104 home loss
Talk about about being resilient. Talk about championship mentality. Talk about next man up!
The shorthanded Toronto Raptors — missing two of their main players walked into Staples Centre and walked out with an impressive 113-104 signature victory over the highly touted Los Angeles Lakers.
The Raptors improve to 7-2 on the young season and in the process and have now beaten the Los Angeles Lakers 10 straight times — dating back to the 2014-15 regular season when the Lakers won 129-122 in overtime in L.A.
Pascal Siakam continued his stellar season with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks. Freddy VanVleet was also brilliant with 22 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals. Chris Boucher came off the bench to spark the Raptors on both ends of the court, including back-to-back key blocks on Lebron James and Anthony Davis. The Montreal native tied a career-high with 15 points, 3 blocks, 2 steals — including 9 points in the fourth quarter.
Norman Powell added 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. Rookie Terrence Davis filled-up the stat sheet with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, playing his first significant action of the season, rounded out six Raptors’ players in double-figures with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
Anthony Davis paced the Lakers with 27 points and 8 rebounds. Lebron James added to his triple-double total with 13 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds. Danny Green was held scoreless in 27 minutes.
The Raptors currently on five game west coast swing improve to 4-0 against the tough western conference and will play former teammate Kawhi Leornard and the Los Angeles Clippers in their next game, before wrapping-up one their longest road trips with games against Portland and the Dallas Mavericks.
Damian Lillard silky smooth 60-point career-high
Damian Lillard’s ascend to NBA stardom is a primary reason for anybody to cheer for the Portland Trail Blazers all-star guard. Lillard’s sharpshooting game, combined with his poignant and fierce lyrically skills are yet another glaring trend that have pushed his name towards a future hall-of-fame ballot and a potential thriving microphone ‘chin checking’ career if he so desires when his playing days are over.
On magical NBA Friday night, matched-up opposite one of the games’ best rising star — Oakland’s finest took his game to another level by dropping a career-high 60 points against Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets. The four-time all-star and 2017-18 All-NBA first-team guard drilled 19-of-33 (57%) field-goals, 7-of-16 (43%) three-pointers and went a perfect 15-for-15 from the free-throw line.
The two dynamic scoring guards have a history of finding an extra gear when facing each other. Irving dropped a career-high 55 points on Dame and the Blazers back in January 2015 when he played with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Although, the 60-point effort came in a tough 119-115 loss it’s hard to ignore the fact Lillard is one of a select few players that have dropped a 50-plus point game in the last five seasons — dating back to the 2015-2016 NBA season. Lillard’s previous best, was a 59-point outburst against the Utah Jazz in 2017.
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