In The Place To Be: Live From All-Star Friday Night

Back once again. It’s NBA All-Star Weekend, which means traffic (and more traffic), some insane sneaker exhibits, and lots and lots of beautiful women flaunting skin all over the place. We have it all in Houston, and even though I just got into Texas earlier today, I have already taken in my fair share of the surroundings.

But here we are. I’ll be live blogging all night (and all weekend) from inside the Toyota Center, where all the magic happens. Stick with me to hear about celebrity sightings, funny behind-the-scenes moments, and once in a while, some basketball analysis.

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8:03 ET: So I just walked into the media seating area along the baseline, and as I’m walking down to my seat, an usher grabs me. I’m thinking he’s about to tell me I need to go somewhere else. Turns out, it’s a chick. A super fine chick. And she likes red heads. All-Star Weekend is off to a great start!

8:06 ET: Not sure if those of you at home could see this, but during the national anthem, there were a couple of firsts. Can you ever remember seeing a player not have the “pretend like I’m super focused” look on his face during the national anthem? Never, right? Well tonight, they focused on Chandler Parsons, and he was literally cheesing and giggling. Then they showed Ricky Rubio, and yeah he might be from Spain, but he was staring off into the crowd.

8:13 ET: Speaking again of Parsons, the Rockets forward and Anthony Davis were called to center court during early warmups to help get the crowd hyped. It didn’t really work since they both seemed to have a four words per answer quota. However, it got really interesting once Elle Duncan – a Christina Milian look-a-like – upped the ante on the questions. First: “will there be a lot of back-n-forth talking in this one? You guys gonna go at it?” They both answered in the affirmative. Then, came this: “what about gambling? You guys gonna gamble on this one?” Ummm…

8:21 ET: Kyrie Irving makes the first mistake of the night: an off-the-glass pass to… no one. Can we really blame him though? What’s he doing out here anyways? There should be a rule that if you’re playing on Sunday, you don’t need to suit up on Friday. It’s like graduation. Maybe Kyrie is just doing the whole JV/Varsity thing, you know, play one half Friday and another on Sunday.

8:25 ET: While we have a break from action, let me tell you a story from Media Day. As you probably know, All-Star Weekend is a worldwide phenomenon. There are media people from everywhere, so inevitably, there are some awesome/hilarious questions that get asked. Our favorite from earlier today was when a international reporter asked Jrue Holiday who his favorite African player in the NBA was. Holiday had no clue how to answer it. Eventually, he went with Luol Deng.

8:31 ET: Kiss Cam fails everywhere!

8:34 ET: I think Tyler Zeller might be the most unaggressive NBA player I’ve ever seen. He’s like Milton from Office Space. On the other hand, you have Nikola Vucevic who just mashes people.

8:38 ET: Dion Waiters with back-to-back buckets. He’ll always be one of our favorite players just because he has that Kobe swagger to him. You know he’s out here telling everyone, “Give me the rock. I’m dropping 50 on these cats.”

8:43 ET: Quick – who has the smoother game: Bradley Beal or Klay Thompson? That’s too tough to answer.

8:44 ET: With our break in action, someone needs to give me an answer as to what Russell Westbrook was thinking earlier. Look at this man. Is he supposed to be a chameleon? It might officially be time for an intervention, Russ. Just saying.

8:54 ET: Play of the night from Ricky Rubio just before the half. On that no-look bounce pass (a “real” no-look pass), he looked directly at us behind the hoop. That was nasty. Perfect dime too.

8:58 ET: Clyde Drexler, Dikembe Mutombo, Hakeem Olajuwon, Rudy Tomjanovich, and Yao Ming have been officially announced as judges in tomorrow night’s dunk contest. How did Rudy get into this? And a better question, where the f— is Van Chancellor?!

9:08 ET: Earlier today, I hit up the Galleria Mall and went to check out the Nike and Jordan suites. Some unreal stuff in there – some that you’ve already seen, like Nike’s All-Star Area 72 lineup for Kobe, LeBron and KD – and some that you haven’t seen, like XX8s with real bamboo on them. Hit up my Instagram to check out some photos.

9:16 ET: Well it was only a matter of time before Kyrie started to heat up. Zeller looks perfectly happy setting picks for him all night too. Honestly, Irving probably feels like he’s in a regular game right now (besides the obvious talent differences). He plays like this almost every night.

9:21 ET: I guess the closest we can get to Beyonce this weekend is on the PA system. They’re bumping some B while the Rocket Power Dancers are breaking it down during a timeout.

9:31 ET: During the timeout, every player on Team Shaq’s bench is staring at the JumboTron, watching the rookie/sophomores top 10 players of the first half of the season. No wonder they’re down by 21…

9:32 ET: …And the No. 1 play was Harrison Barnes‘ destruction of Nikola Pekovic. The entire arena just went oooooooh in unison. That was kind of scary.

9:39 ET: Tristan Thompson has 18 points, and I think every one of them has been an uncontested dunk or layup at the rim.

9:40 ET: Loudest cheer of the night: when they just showed Kevin Durant on the JumboTron. Probably not a good thing, since he’s in the stands and not on the court.

9:42 ET: Kyrie just woke the crowd up. Thank you Brandon Knight.

9:45 ET: You know what was really interesting about that Knight/Irving back-n-forth? We were just talking a few minutes ago about which players are surprisingly super fundamental and probably don’t have much in their arsenal to get a crowd hyped. Brandon Knight’s name came up. Then he went out and crossed Irving back to Duke.

9:49 ET: I wonder what Austin Rivers is doing right now…

9:52 ET: Yes! The annual dunk contest at the end of the Rising Stars Challenge! Damian Lillard just got booed off the stage for trying a double-pump reverse layup. Meanwhile, Waiters is holding down Team Shaq by himself.

9:54 ET: Alright y’all, I’m done with this thing for now. We’ll resume tomorrow night for the All-Star Game. Bring your friends then so I don’t feel so lonely and neglected. For now, it’s time to go bang out a little more work. Then, I’ll head off to an All-Star party to have too much to drink and recite bad pickup lines. Peace.

What do you think?

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