Smack / Feb 19, 2011 / 1:32 am

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 …

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  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Read somewhere that Colangelo said Don Nelson and Reggie Miller didn’t get enough “traction” this year.

    Whatever that means.

  • john

    Teresa Edwards and Tex Winter are locked in.

  • OneZero

    I for one thinks that given the chance to start and shine, James Harden can become a very good player, it’s a pity he had to endure playing under the shadow of Durant and Westbrook.

  • josh tha roc

    harden is perfecr fit for the thunder with his shooting touch, he just needs to be ultra confident and hit those shots. Which he will. Eventually he will start over Thabo and Thunder will be coppin hardware.

    OKC all day

  • KL

    Can’t believe I’m defending Bieber’s ugly shot, but of course it’s ugly. Kid has no upper body strength to do it any other way. But got to give him credit. He did a solid job spreading the court when not having the ball in his hands. But seriously,,, letting the fans it’s for MVP? Brutal.

  • http://www.onthenet.biz Khalvin

    slightly off topic but i need some help here.

    Does the league Pass allow you to catch the all star weekend festivities

    Slam dunk, three point etc.?

    Any help would be appreciated.

  • jzsmoove

    Jalen Rose got so fat so fast. WTF. He is gotta be in the top 10 most under appreciated talent ever.

  • jzsmoove

    and oh yeah, that scottie block on bieber is straight outta the old school No Mercy mentality. cold.

  • Stunnaboy2K11

    I loved Scottie in that, blocking Bieber, hard foul on Romeo and drilling all those 3’s. Hilarious.

    No shit Bieber would win it, its fa voting. he’d win the Nobel price if it allowed that.

    Sager really deserves props for laying into Melo, bout time someone did that. Fucking a-hole, something concrete but no meetings.

    I got nothing to say about Reggie, just the Hall are a bunch of retards for not letting him in.

  • ab40

    harden, holiday, jennings such knucklehead plays. cousins and wall are both in dire need of an nba mentor in terms of discipline and well the whole game alltogether. If and when wall starts going in straight lines instead of half cirkles all the time he’s gonna be even smoother than he already is. There were some nice dunks. Now set the hoop to 11 feet and let the tall people do their dunk contest I seriously doubt BG is gonna win he’s a power dunker.. the last power dunker to win was ‘nique is griffin more amazing than ‘nique? Sorry fellas that’s a no.

  • bookkwormmaster

    Wesley Johnson was my fav rookie to watch in the Rooks vs Sophs game. Dude was SMOOTH with his. Everything he did looked effortless like it just came natural to him.

    Bieber for MVP is wack. Respect the kid but fan voting is straight ass at this point in time. His shot is ugly but it kinda reminded me of Kevin Mart’s shot.

    Jason Alexander was on his ish last night! Dude had me cracking up every moment he was on camera from the Star Wars screenplay to him calling Bieber a “chucker” during his announcing gig. Hilarious!

    Michael Rapaport was funny too with his skit with Jon Barry. Also loved him hazing Bieber pretty much throughout the entire game. Bieber looked like he wanted to whoop Rapaport’s ass at one point lol

    Arne Duncan had the play of the game with that SICK behind the back bounce pass ON-POINT to his teammate cutting. Was a thing of beauty. I was impressed with his game.
    Was impressed with Trey Songz as well.
    Romeo Miller to me was disappointing to watch. Nick Cannon was ass, Rob Kardashian was solid, Common was solid, and pretty much the rest of the celebs were really not worth commenting

    If I’m an NBA GM on the cusp of winning a championship I would really take a hard look at convincing Scottie Pippen to return to the NBA. I think he could contribute a solid 10-15 minutes of quality ball

  • Dayo

    No mention of Craig Sager taking a cheap (and uncalled for) shot at DeMarcus Cousins? The expressions on both Cousins’ and John Wall’s faces were awesome!

  • jay


    ur crazzy everyone would blow by him he lost his defense hes outta gas and dont say its for the 3 ball cuzz u could sign a 3 point special list and he proabably wont no how to play defense either.

  • Steve Nash

    lmao… Wall had the oh shit side face when Sager mentioned Cousins not getting extra touches lolz hahahaha

  • jdizzle

    Damn they was gettin it crackin last night huh? Couldn’t even watch either game cuz I was gettin sum….well never mind.

    @bookwormmaster Oh you didn’t know Arne Duncan had G? That’s Chicago Public Schools right there fam lol! And how many fouls did Michael “Scalabrine” Rappaport have this time? 20? Lol

    Reggie Miller not getting into the HOF is a traveshamockery! I’m from Chicago and I absolutely HATED Reggie Miller, but when it was Miller Time it wasn’t shit you could do about it! Rodman should already be in as well.

  • bookkwormmaster

    @ jay
    I disagree. Defense in the NBA is a joke nowadays in case you haven’t noticed. How many times do you see NBA players drop big time numbers on players who are considered “defensive stoppers”? or how about NBA players dropping big time numbers on NBA TEAM defenses that are geared to stop them? D-Wade vs Boston’s vaunted defense in last year’s playoffs is a perfect example. I’m not saying he needs to be a savior for a playoff team looking to get over the hump but I do believe he can be a very solid contributor.

    naw man I wasn’t even aware lol! When they introduced first introduced him I was like “he ain’t gon do s**t but embarass himself.” He shut me the hell up I ain’t gon front

  • http://brokejumper.com/ brokejumper

    Bieber crossover to AC Green for the jumpshot, and I thought I’ve seen it all.

  • http://www.super-bowl-nfl-jerseys.info Burton Haynes

    yes I agree with you! this shouldn¡¯t be too in your exposure, it¡¯s just a comment that supports the need to further increase the motivation to work more and more creative spirit.