February 15, 2016
The NBA’s top talent gathered in Toronto this past weekend for the 2016 All-Star Game. The non-competitive league talent show ended up being the highest scoring game in league history, with a combined 369 points. With 193 points, the West also beat their previous team high-scoring record by 30 points.
Playing in his 18th and final All-Star Game, Kobe Bryant clocked 26 minutes and finished with 10 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Despite the fireworks display and nostalgia surrounding the Lakers superstar and four-time league MVP, the true focus of the game was on the game’s young stars who turned the game into the historic offensive matchup that it was.
With 31 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals, Russell Westbook took home the game’s MVP award for a second year in a row. He is the first back-to-back All-Star Game MVP since Bob Pettit in 1958 and 1959. While Westbook had a fantastic game, Paul George led all scorers with 41 points and set an All-Star Game record for 3-pointers with nine.
To support George’s offensive outburst, Washington’s John Wall scored 22 points, going 10-of-14 for shooting and giving the best performance by a Wizard since Moses Malone scored 27 points in 1987.
“I told you all I was going to try to score the ball,” Wall said. “My first five minutes I was out there just being cool, then I started playing for real.”
Seven players in the East scored in the double digits, including LeBron James who scored a relatively low 13 points. While the East was impressive, the West was unstoppable. Nine players from the West scored in double figures with five scoring 23 or above. Reigning league-MVP Stephen Curry scored 26, Anthony Davis had 24, and James Harden and Kevin Durant had 23 apiece.
Every single player in the game scored at least once, which seems apt for such offensive battle. Though the West didn’t come away with anything more than bragging rights, it was still an exciting evening for the NBA and their fans.
After enjoying the remainder of the All-Star Break, the Wizards will return to the court on Thursday to face the Utah Jazz.
While it seemed almost certain Robert Griffin III would be released by the Redskins before the season was over, the team didn’t take any steps to make that a reality until after the Super Bowl.
The team announced over the weekend that Griffin had passed his exit physical, the last hurdle between him and a fresh start. When asked about Griffin’s future with the team last month, Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan was committal.
“The thing that’s good about where we are right now is, we have until March 9,” McCloughan said. “That’s why I want to sit with the coaches–and not just the coordinators, position coaches; everybody–and get a feel for it, because Griffin is a good football player, he’s a really good person, and he’s under contract. And that’s where we are right now.”
But with his exit physical now done, Griffin’s release could come any day now. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft is due $16.155 million if he’s on Washington’s roster on March 9th–the first day of the new league year–so his release will come sometime between now and then. Once dubbed the future of Washington sports, Griffin is parting after a contentious season in which he was benched and did not play a snap all season.
After Kirk Cousins led Washington to the playoffs, the free agent QB is hoping for a long-term contract in the nation’s capital while Griffin is hoping to start over in a new city. For both, though in completely different situations, they will have to do the same thing: wait.