Kentucky Connection dominates NBA Rookie Challenge

Blake Griffin is a beast. But you already knew that. Hopefully by the end of Friday night, those who don’t have NBA League Pass and have only been exposed to Blake Superior’s rookie brilliance got to see how beastly DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall can be … For the second straight year, the Rookies beat the Sophomores in the All-Star Rookie Challenge, but this may have been the first time it wasn’t an upset. Blake did his thing, finishing with 14 points in 13 minutes, pretty much all of it on dunks. The first time Blake touched the ball he threw up an airball from the top of the key that would have made Ben Wallace cringe, but after that he caught a couple alley-oops from Wall and found a rhythm. The play of the night was when Wall brought it up on the break, and from outside the three-point line, bounced the ball off the floor and up at the rim for Blake to finish backwards. Sick … That was the theme for Wall, who handed out 22 assists to go with 12 points, copping MVP and breaking Chris Paul‘s Rookie Challenge assist record of 17 dimes. And to close the deal, Wall caught an off-the-glass lob from Cousins (33 pts, 14 rebs, 3 stls) and crammed with two hands … Despite having just played the night before, the Spurs tandem of DeJuan Blair and Gary Neal were both good. Blair (28 pts, 15 rebs) dominated early, clearly gunning for the MVP he was robbed of last year, breaking out crossovers and off-the-glass ‘oops to himself. Neal (20 pts) was big in the second half, hitting clutch shots as the Rookies pulled away … James Harden dropped 30 for the Sophomores and reminded a lot of people that he can play a little. It’s too early to definitively judge the 2009 Draft class right now, but if the Thunder had a do-over and could have taken Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry or DeMar DeRozan with that No. 3 pick, would they still grab Harden? And don’t forget Wes Matthews, whom everybody passed in the draft … Friday was also All-Star Media Day, and as expected, it was crazy. Here’s the setup: Three sessions of free-for-all interviewing with each player sitting at his own table. First up are the Slam Dunk, Three-Point, and other All-Star Saturday Night participants, than the West and East All-Stars have their own sessions … In the first group, only four players showed up — JaVale McGee, Dorell Wright, James Jones and Daniel Gibson. JaVale told us that John Wall will be his partner for the dunk contest. Knowing what we know now, that’s a smart choice … The All-Stars drawing the smallest crowds of reporters were Joe Johnson (no surprise), Kevin Love (surprise) and Paul Pierce (big surprise). Largest crowds? Let’s just say you would have thought there was a Lady GaGa concert going the way people swarmed Kobe and Carmelo. For the East, LeBron and KG were pretty popular. Check back later today for Dime’s interviews with a bunch of the guys … Most of the conversation was about ‘Melo and the looming lockout. By the end of it, we were pretty sure someone was just going to start their own team in Europe, sign ‘Melo to an extension, and call it a day … Further evidence that fans shouldn’t be allowed to vote for things: Justin Bieber took MVP of the Celebrity Game by putting up 8 points and 4 assists while his team lost. The MVP vote was left to the fans. Scottie Pippen, who scored 17 and looks like he could contribute off the bench for a few NBA teams — and probably start for the Cavs, Raptors and Wolves — said Bieber can play but has “an ugly shot.” Pippen is gonna get a lot of hate mail from middle-school girls for putting Bieber and “ugly” in the same sentence … Then again, the experts keep proving they don’t know what they’re doing, either. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame unveiled its 12 finalists, and Reggie Miller wasn’t on the list. We’re not trying to downplay those who did make the cut — Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Mo Cheeks, Ralph Sampson, Jamaal Wilkes, Tara VanDerveer (Stanford women’s coach), Teresa Edwards (WNBA, four Olympic gold medals), Herb Magee (D-II coaching legend, Philadelphia University), Tex Winter (coach), Dick Motta (coach), Alvin Attles (Warriors player/coach/exec), and Hank Nichols (ref) — but there’s a reason that Reggie not being on the list was the biggest story of the announcement … Not to mention, Bernard King and Mark Jackson were left off the list. And why the F*** isn’t Artis Gilmore in the Hall of Fame yet? … Some of our best e-mails, texts and tweets come at random hours from our guys during All-Star Weekend. Best one yesterday: Kenny Anderson. Walks into Converse product suite. Immediately grabs a Bud Light, cracks it and chugs. He’s wasted.” … We’re out like Reggie …