The Smoothie King Center in New Orleans was jam-packed and everybody was cheering. Anthony Davis had a big smile on his face and was heading for the locker room. Kevin Durant though stopped and faced the camera with a sober face.
Beside him, TNT analyst David Aldridge looked up at the scoreboard that showed 97 – 92, gathered himself and with the same seriousness as Durant’s, he asked the big question:
What, you couldn’t break (the) 100 (point mark)?
KD looked at the scoreboard too and smiled.
We should have, we missed like four dunks but it’s been a fun game.
And it was about to get fun(nier).
NO, KD wasn’t on the losing side, nor did he wear the Golden State Warriors uniform. He had a different jersey with ALL-STAR written all over his chest and below, his number – 35. And NO, this wasn’t a post-game interview, it was actually a halftime chitchat. There were still two quarters left to be played in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game even though the score showed otherwise.
Before letting him go, Aldridge asked Durant another trick question:
This is obviously not a defense-oriented game but do you expect to tighten up a little bit in the fourth quarter?
Yes, of course, we’ll tighten up a little bit. 97 – 92 that’s a lot. You know, both coaches are going crazy but fourth quarter should be a game.
Fun(ny) thing though is that after halftime and in the last 8 to 12 minutes, the competitive spirit every NBA star is bragging with NEVER showed up. And do you know what’s even fun(nier) ? This particular highlight with back-to-back MVP winner Stephen Curry DUCKING FOR COVER:
This move by Steph Curry is representative for the whole 2017 All-Star Game. Every single NBA star ducked for cover on the defensive end and what should have been quite a game turned actually into a circus dunkfest. The East and the West dunked the ball 75 times combined (worth 150 points!!!) in the All-Star Game, a new NBA record. Last year, the fans saw ‘only’ 57 dunks, according to ESPN Stats & Info. To put these numbers into perspective, in no regular season game in 2016 – 2017, there have been more than 19 combined dunks.
Of course, this dunkfest led to other record-breaking stats: total points (384), most field goals (162), most assists (103), most points scored in a quarter in an All-Star Game (101) and so on. And let’s not forget Anthony Davis’ scoring performance. The local kid broke Wilt Chamberlain’s individual scoring record in ASG with his 52 points on Sunday night. Again though, don’t get it twisted: the Unibrow scored at least 36 points (18 dunks) way too easy without nobody trying to block him.
So, the question remains:
Did the 2017 All-Star Game ever happen?
Unfortunately for many NBA fans, the answer is an obvious NO. What transpired from the Big Easy, on Sunday night was actually a pathetic copycat of the All-Star Game, a joke as Hall of Famer Reggie Miller recently said.
NO, NBA and NBA players, this isn’t what we want to see. We don’t want wide-open dunks, half-court shots and alley-oops. This isn’t entertainment at all. Entertainment in any sport also involves competitiveness and fighting to get the win. That is what made the 2003 All-Star Game memorable. Just imagine Michael Jordan being more concerned about injuries than going baseline and hitting his signature fadeaway jumper at the buzzer. This is what made Chamberlain’s performance in 1962 – he scored 42 point in the ASG – special. Wilt’s competitive drive got him 42 points, not a series of offensive schemes repeated on and on without the other team reacting.
Defense was played in 1962, even though the score shows otherwise (150 – 130 for the West):
And many years after that…
In the last several years though, the defense and any sign of competitive spirit magically vanished during All-Star Weekend and with it, the very nature of sports entertainment. As a result, the memories of such pitiful All-Star Games will vanish as well.
You might find this year’s ASG in the record books – numbers that tell another story, yet numbers that grossly lie – but deep down in the hearts of many basketball fans, there will be no doubt the 2017 All-Star Game NEVER actually happened.
And who can blame them?