Remember when everyone was so concerned about taking Kyrie Irving No. 1 overall this summer? Between his ROY play so far this year and last night’s dominating performance in the Rising Stars Challenge, he’s shut everyone up. Last night he won MVP by leading Team Chuck to a 146-133 victory over Team Shaq by going OFF for 34 points, nine assists and not missing a three (in eight attempts) all night. Despite the presence of Linsanity, unbelievable highlights from John Wall and Evan Turner‘s forgotten about near-trip-dub, Irving showed he’s the real deal … On a night when there was less defense than an early ’90s Loyola Marymount game, John Wall (17 points) capped off the night with a behind-the-back dunk. The greatest part might’ve been the following play when he tried to do it again: Greg Monroe played it off like he wasn’t going to stop him, and then snuck in and stole it … When was the last time you saw two point guards – Irving and Wall – combine for a lob? They did it on Wall’s first play of the game… and then Wall came down and smashed Norris Cole‘s layup into the stands. That was more embarrassing for N. Cole than the time on Thursday night when he dunked and nearly broke his face … Ricky Rubio was playing/passing like a 2000 Rookie Challenge version of Jason Williams. He had one pass in the second half where he threw sort of a reverse behind-the-back. Awesome. He also had a crazy move off the screen-n-roll in the first half, splitting the defense by spinning the ball around his waist and scoring … MarShon Brooks checked in and must’ve confused this with the And1 Mixtape Tour. We know this game is low key, at least defensively, but one of the first times he touched it, he cleared a side, dribbled in place for five seconds, lost the ball, backed it up and then started over again, going into the lane and throwing some junk up. Then he followed it up with an ugly dunk attempt that earned him the first boos of the night … In the first half, they had Jeremy Lin‘s parents on the Kiss Cam, and they refused to kiss, wouldn’t put their phones down. The crowd went crazy … Benny the Bull tried to get Victor Cruz to do his Salsa dance on the JumboTron at one point and got blatantly shot down … If you’re one of those people who LOVES the sound of a swish, you should’ve been in the house last night. Especially during the second quarter when Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving started trading rainbows threes, they were making beautiful music out there (the rim mics could’ve been the loudest thing in the arena) … … Keep reading to hear what crazy thing Popovich said to Tony Parker the first time he saw him play …
Sean Sweeney was in the house for the All-Star availability yesterday afternoon, and it was a zoo. For those who might not know, every year they give each player a table and basically tell all the credentialed journalists: “Have at it.” There have been some crazy stories: guys crawling over tables, fights. One year when Yao Ming was at the height of his popularity, the crowd around his table was so monstrous, they put up massive projector screens behind him so people could see. Yesterday, Dwight Howard‘s table was like a freakin’ mosh pit (Roy Hibbert had five journalists waiting around his.). At one point when Steve Nash got up to leave, we felt like we were watching Moses. Dude was leading a title wave, dozens of people behind him just throwing and knocking people out of the way. The biggest name who didn’t have a huge crowd? Derrick Rose. And then there was Kobe… who just didn’t show up at all … We wish he hadn’t big-timed it because we would’ve loved to hear what his response was to Dwyane Wade crowning him as the guy he’d want taking a game’s last shot … Andrew Bynum had his uncensored version going yesterday, and when someone asked him about DeMarcus Cousins, he dropped this: “He’s a good player. Definitley coming up. It’s terrible that he has to play in Sacramento. He could take his… talents somewhere and really help a team… Yeah, it’s not working out.” Wow. We’ve had fantasy basketball heads talking Cousins up all year, and on the court he’s putting in serious work on the boards. Would you trade a 21-year-old like that? … Tony Parker was reminiscing on old pre-draft stories. He laughed when he was asked about his first workout for the Spurs. It was just awful; He landed off a 12-hour flight and immediately went into the arena. It was so bad that afterwards, Gregg Popovich told him “I don’t ever want to see you again.” Luckily R.C. Buford talked Pop out of it and the rest is history … On a similar subject, TP also admitted the Spurs are going nowhere this year if Manu Ginobili isn’t 100 percent. If he does get healthy, can they win the West? … As far as video game questions, Jeremy Evans admitted that while he sucks at Call of Duty, he can get s— done in NBA 2K12. Roy Hibbert simply said “I can’t even play 2K12. It’s too complicated.” Meanwhile, we overheard someone say Dwight admitted he plays video games for like five hours a day … And finally, the last guy we caught up to was LaMarcus Aldridge, who cut the Q&A off short because he had to go take a piss … We’re out like Kobe.
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