No, there’s no “Chris Bosh got robbed” headline today, even though it would’ve made sense to give the hometown boy some hardware. And I’m pretty sure they would’ve given it to Nowitzki before Bosh anyway since that’s just the how the NBA likes to roll – predictable. It was nice to see Bosh nail some clutch FTs, get a late And1 and make some Raptor fans proud. We’re all attention whores who like to see the media down south acknowledge our existence and last night they were forced to focus on Bosh without asking him what his free agency plans were. In all his years there, Vince Carter never had a stellar All-Star game performance and Bosh’s 23/10 display was long overdue.
The theme of the weekend had to be the hyenas and vultures prodding Chris Bosh with questions like “What’s to do in Toronto?” and “How would it feel like playing at home?” and headline’s like “Wade is in Bosh’s ear”. To Bosh’s credit he didn’t bite on any of these questions and towed the line he’s been towing all year long – we’ll worry about that in the summer. He didn’t give them anything to write tomorrow and diffused even the notion that he might not be happy in Toronto. Soon after stuff like this comes out and suddenly Bosh isn’t even on ESPN’s “trade watch” list.
On another note, if you’re going to publish the tip-off at 8PM make sure the bloody thing starts around that time. I don’t even know why I tune in to the All-Star game anymore, habit I guess and hoping that maybe just once I’ll see some slight defense and minimal competitiveness. It never happens and we’re “treated” to layup lines and one-on-one play that you can’t help but feel diminishes the credibility of this event with each passing year. What’s worse is that lazy basketball is probably the least enjoyable sporting act to watch because it’s very clear that the players just aren’t trying. I know there’s nothing on the line and many tune in to watch the offense, but even that’s not great because the only thing worse than watching lazy defense is watching one-on-one offense. Chances are that if you get any joy out of watching the All-Star game, I don’t care much for you as a person.
I understand that there’s no motivation for either team to give any effort but maybe there should be. The MLB All-Star game never had a problem with effort because baseball isn’t a game which allows for much variation in a player’s effort. If a pitcher pitches at 70% of his capability, he’ll get hammered no matter who he is and nobody wants to get embarrassed. Same goes for a batter because nobody likes to strike out. Hell, even the catcher will give it his best when making that throw to second to catch the base-stealer. And you know there’s no such thing as stealing a base while trying 80%. The nature of the game is to go all-out. MLB felt even that wasn’t good enough and ever since they put something on the line for the game, it’s become that much more enjoyable and has taken a real significance. You’re seeing managers manage the game trying to win it and same goes for the players.
The NBA needs to take notice and adapt. For a league that’s always been on the cutting edge of all things, the NBA hasn’t found a way to make All-Star weekend the spectacle it’s advertising insists it is. Just look at this fraudulent commercial. Celebrity games, HORSE games, skills challenges and dunk-ins aren’t doing anything. Then there’s the dunk-off and it’s quality is summed up by the fact that the best dunk of the weekend happened in the D-League. The only event that is remotely entertaining is the three-point contest because you know the players are executing a certain skill to the best of their abilities. There’s something on the line: being the best three-point shooter in the league carries some merit and you can tell by the disappointment on a players faces when he loses that it meant something to them. That’s what All-Star events should be like, not a boring game preceded by a concert. It’s almost like people are coming for the concert and staying for the basketball.
As for the game, I caught bits and pieces of it on PVR and the 141-139 scoreline says it all – joking around for three quarters or so and if it’s still close, up the effort to 50% so it’s somewhat interesting. I figure the NBA should take the page from MLB and give the winning conference home-court in the NBA finals. I don’t know how well teams will receive that idea but it’ll sure pump some juice into this thing for 48 minutes instead of 5.
I’m still not over DeRozan’s loss in the dunk-off, he really should have won it if he had simply taken it more seriously. Part of me hates him for not doing so and the other part knows that he did have the best dunks of the night. Hopefully it serves as some motivation for the rest of the season and next year. I was also happy to see Bosh bring up DeRozan’s snub in his interview, showed that he cared. You’re already a douche if you didn’t vote for DeRozan but you do get a chance to redeem yourself, sorta.
The great thing about All-Star weekend is that it’s now over and we can get back to some real basketball. We got Memphis at home, New Jersey on the road and then back home against Washington starting on Wednesday. That should be 3-0 before the schedule toughens up, just slightly.
It was also nice to see Chris Bosh bond with McLovin.