Los Angeles, it doesn’t get much more Hollywood than this. Even if Beyonce, Queen Latifah, Chris Tucker and even the other Michael (B) Jordan were taking in all the lights, camera action court-side.
After the 2017 Mardi Gras in New Orleans last year and two calendar’s after our native Toronto held the All Star Weekend in Canada, the sixth A.S.G. in the Clipper and Lakerland of the downtown STAPLES of L.A. was the first of it’s kind. As two of the best players in the association and reigning finalists decided to draft their own pool of players against the wall for the ultimate black and white pick-up game between ‘Team Stephen’ and ‘Team LeBron’, for all the marbles of which of the last two champions would be King.
Well it certainly helps if James picks his rivals reigning MVP teammate Kevin Durant and his own former partner in pine championship crime Kyrie Irving for the big shots first.
But before all that it was down to regular festivities to begin the weekend of All-Star. Basketball’s equivalent of music’s Grammy’s or movies Oscars in Superbowl February. Opening these ceremonials Team World beat down Team USA 155-124 in the Rising Stars game that should really tell you something. Despite home court advantage rookie steal, Kyle Kuzma notching 20, fellow Californian franchise face Buddy Hield was king as the Sacramento star hit 29 as the two sides wore Clipper and Laker interloped Buffalo and MPLS throwbacks for the Hollywood script. And after Quavo of hit duo Migos took home the Celebrity Game MVP as Team Clippers beat Team Lakers 79-66, Spencer Dinwiddie paid the bills in a superior skills comp. Before scorching Sun in California Devin Booker showed his career high 70 was no one-hit wonder as he burnt down all the nets and the money-ball rack. Winning the three-point contest showdown from reigning winner and sixth man Eric Gordon. Grounding the Rocket as this Phoenix rose. Book it!
But after the most therapeutic competition of All-Star weekend it was time for the most exciting one just as compelling. And in honoring his father Larry Nance, the 1984 winner of the inaugural Slam-Dunk contest, Larry Nance Jr. rocked the baby cradle, like father, like dunk. As he even rocked the old-school Phoenix Suns jersey, short shorts and high-socks for an inspired imitation. But under the magicians cloak, those Los Angeles natives in attendance draped in gold wish he had turned into someone turning back the clock and wearing a Lakers jersey (those Lonzo assists with the ball would have helped). As what would have been a long awaited, eagerly anticipated home-team representation turned into an Akron homecoming for the Ohio hometown hero like LeBron in the Kings land once the trade deadline passed.
Pops Nance loved it though after he himself played the lions share of his career in Cleveland as a Cavalier. Even assisting his boy on his second slam, before he blew the house down with a windmill that even rocked Chris Rock and then double tapped an Instagram worthy picture perfect dunk that if your phone blinked, you’d have had to instant replay it to not miss it and believe it. But all this court creativity wasn’t enough like Maverick rookie Dennis Smith Jr.’s 360 reverse, through the legs 50. Or All-Star Victor Oladipo getting an assist off King T’Challa himself Chadwick Boseman, suiting up in the Black Panther mask and clawing a tomahawk. And if you think that was special, if only you were a fly on the wall for the moment entertainment megastar Jamie Foxx told Vic he loved his album and started singing ‘A Song For You’ with him in the parking lot (as told by Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins).
As Utah’s jazz man Donovan Mitchell won by jumping over Kevin Hart and his family (Come on! How hard is that? The comedian was even crouched down. Seriously?! He could have even been sat on his shoulders and Mitch would have been good), and then breaking out the classic Vince Carter Raptor jersey and doing you know what.
The whole weekend turned out to be a testament to a throwback tribute despite Nike’s brand new Team LeBron and Steph duds. Last years All-Star representative, Pelican Anthony Davis paying tribute to his injury fallen teammate brother Cousins by wearing what would have been his numero zero jersey. Free agent suitors beware, DeMarcus is going nowhere now this summer after this. You see he saw on I.G. but look at the shot. How s### was his seat for a would be player?
But after Black Eyed Pea Fergie caught flack for her soulful and sultry rendition of the Star Spangled Banner national anthem (hey, you didn’t complain when Marvin did it) the game hit all the high-flying, dunking high-notes. So much so fans needed throat lozenges like Pink! Even if there wasn’t a single Clipper or Laker representative in the game itself. Despite the lobbying for 6 Man, Lou Will and new Laker Isaiah Thomas only recently being LeBron’s actual teammate.
The King took the MVP crown himself as his 29 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists helped turn a 15 point hole into a 148-145 victory. And from the look on his face as he leapt into Kevin Durant’s arms of all people, it looked like he just won the NBA Championship back. And from the look on Steph’s face on the receiving end reply it was hard to disagree.
You may be the champion, but I’m the best in the world those eyes said.
Well it’s up to you to decide when round 2 of the All Star draft is televised next year for all to see in M.J.’s land of the greatest.
Charlotte’s going to be good!
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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