NBA All-Star Weekend: Kobe outshines LeBron; West Beats East


February 22, 2011
Ceci Ferrara
Sports Writer
Sports Insider

The 2011 NBA All-Star Game aired live from the Staples Center in L.A. last night to record high ratings—the highest since Michael Jordan’s last appearance in 2003.  The Western Conference won by a slim five point margin—148-143, and Kobe Bryant took home the All-Star MVP Award for his impressive performance on his home court, the fourth of his career.  Bryant put up 37 points and 14 rebounds, while chief rival LeBron James registered 39 points with 12 rebounds and 10 assists.  Numbers aside, it was Kobe’s signature showmanship and wow-factor style of play that won him the award.  In the third quarter, he sank a dunk on Lebron, who failed (somewhat miserably) to block his shot, and then just moments later nailed an outside three-pointer to put the West ahead 90-79. The All-Star Game was the culminating event of NBA All-Star weekend, which also included a skills and slam dunk competition.

College star and Clippers forward Blake Griffin made plenty of noise about his “big plans” for the dunk competition, and he didn’t disappoint.  Griffin had a car driven onto the court for his fourth and final dunk, and during his jump, Baron Davis pops his head out of the sunroof. Griffin’s stunner won him the competition, but one has to wonder if it was really his talent or the production value that won him the crown (I mean, he had a gospel choir singing “I believe I can Fly” in the background for goodness sake). My pick goes to Washington Wizard JaVale McGee, whose best dunks came early and were easily forgotten after Griffin’s show-stopping stunt.  McGee is now claiming that Serge Ibanka stole and performed his final dunk (a one-handed dunk off the backboard), which led to an underwhelming reception and end to his show. Even if that were true, it’s hard to believe McGee didn’t have any other tricks up his sleeve.  McGee’s other dunks included a two basket dunk, and my personal favorite, a three-ball dunk in which his mother presented him the balls along with two men dressed like secret servicemen.  Despite losing the dunk competition, McGee’s impressive dunking skills showed the world that despite their losing record, Washington does have some serious talent. It was a lukewarm weekend for Washington’s other star John Wall, who set a rookie sophomore game record on Friday night with 22 assists.  He also had a quick exit from the skills competition on Saturday; his struggles with passes in the first round landed him a 39.3 seconds time, which was not good enough to advance.


The Caps have been struggling to fend off their opponents in the third period.  (All of their last four losses were due to third period goals.) They shook off their third period curse on Sunday against the Sabres, when the Caps’ Marcus Johansson scored the go-ahead goal 9:40 into the third period, propelling his teammate Mathieu Perreault to shot into the net for a 2-1 lead and eventual win.

With the win, the Caps improved to 2-4 in their last six games and 31-19-10 overall.  If they can nab a “W” against the Penguins tonight, the team could inch within only a few points of the Southeast Division.  They would lead Tampa Bay and end their five road-game stretch on a high.


On February 15, Tiger Woods committed to play in the World Golf Championship (WGC) Accenture Tournament.  The Tournament started today and runs until next Sunday (February 27). All of the 64 players in the match are considered to be the top golf players in the world, which means the competition is expected to be intense.  Since Tiger is no longer considered to be the imminent threat he once was, it is hard to tell how far the three-time tournament winner will advance. While Woods has won the WGC tournament three times, Phil Mickelson has only advanced past the third round once in 10 starts. Other notable names that will be playing alongside Woods and Mickelson in the tournament are top-seeded Martin Kaymer, 2009 and 2010 runner-up Paul Casey, and two-time tournament winner Geoff Ogilvy.


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