I’m a big time NBA Basketball fan and I’m pleased to bringing my first NBA flavoured OTK post to you! I’ve been living in a Basketball wasteland after having to cut my ESPN connection to save some coin; and I’m yet to hook onto a NBA League Pass connection, which would allow me to see every game, of every team on my tablet, smart TV or Mobile. Sorry, I’ve seen the ad a couple thousand times and I’ve got the League Pass spiel memorized pretty much, as I pine for the day I’ll have unlimited Beeball back in my life.
Happily, NBA Game Time and League Pass have provided a portal into one of my favourite NBA season features – the All Star Weekend. So, for a paltry NZD $14.89 I’ve been able to hook onto the League Pass broadcasts online and watch all my sweet, sweet Basketball moments and skills contests with ease for this weekend only! As such – this means I’m able to give you a quick round up on the opening event of the
All Star Weekend: the Compass BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. In previous years the Rising Stars Challenge has been comprised of two teams guided by Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, rekindling their decades long playful rivalry every year, vicariously through the hottest new players in the NBA. After O’Neal dominating the Rising Stars Challenge year after year in terms of wins; this year the Rising Stars teams are now directed by seven-time NBA All Star Grant Hill; and opposing him, #1 Overall NBA Draftee, former NBA Rookie of the Year and five-time NBA All Star Chris Webber.
|TEAM HILL: Grant Hill (Above);
Assistant Coach Charles Barkley.
|TEAM WEBBER: Chris Webber (Above);
Assistant Coach Shaquille O’Neal
Overall there was a buzzing atmosphere during the broadcast, not only is it Valentines Day in the US at present, the kick off to another All Star Weekend brings a sense of vibrancy and for many; the chance to check out what the ‘Youngbloods’ of the league have got to show us. This year was a stunner for Rookie’s appearing in the Rising Stars Teams; the phenom in training and 76ers Rookie Michael Carter-Williams aka MCDubs, son of five-time All Star and Knicks Rookie – Tim Hardaway JR and Rotorua’s own and Oklahoma City Thunder Rookie Steven Adams all showed incredible heart and fantastic skill in their first All Star game. The outstanding Stadium Organist also brought the vibes, playing everything from; The Game’s ‘This Is How We Do’ to ‘Lux Aeterna’ the epic instrumental piece from shocker drug film, ‘Requiem For A Dream’…obviously this Film Nerd was suitably impressed! It was also adorable to see former Rising Stars and OKC team mates Kevin Durant and James Harden; sitting together laughing and whooping it up excitedly when a play really sparked their appreciation, showing that they are really comfortable moving into their roles as the NBA’s new dynasty.
Personally I was going for TEAM WEBBER; mostly due to a Kiwi in Steven Adams representing, also because New Orleans Pelicans Sophomore Anthony Davis was appearing in a ‘Home Court’ game for him, MCDubs and the incredible Tim Hardaway JR, all being on the WEBBER roster. TEAM HILL however is nothing to be discredited, as the final scoreboard was to reflect; with key players Pistons Sophomore Andre Drummond, Cleveland Cavs’ Dion Waiters and 2013 Rookie of the Year and general-man-to-watch Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers on the HILL roster.
|Full TEAM WEBBER line up|
|Full TEAM HILL line up.|
A stunning game all round, in the 2nd half the match up descended into a one-on-one game of sorts between TEAM HILL’s Dion Waiters and TEAM WEBBER’s Hardaway JR; with Waiters bringing the big shots that would be the downfall of TEAM WEBBER, squaring off to drill a steaming three-pointer with Hardaway right on him with the D, with only 6 minutes to go – showing tenacity right through to the closing minutes. Ultimately the game was won on rebounds with TEAM HILL taking a total of 52 rebounds, over TEAM WEBBER’s 28 boards for the evening.
|Dion Waiters of TEAM HILL|
|Tim Hardaway JR of TEAM WEBBER|
At the final buzzer the scores were HILL 142 to WEBBER 136, leaving only the speculations on who would be the 2014 Rising Stars MVP with contenders; Waiters and Hardaway joined in the scramble by Pistons Sophmore, Andre Drummond.
|NBA All Star Weekend – Rising Stars Challenge MVP 2014 – Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons!|
The remarkable Andre Drummond was to take out the top spot eventually; claiming 30 points.
Drummond also created a new Rising Stars Challenge Rebound record scoring 25 boards for the game. Pictured above with his MVP award safe and sound; the trophy itself had a moment of danger, creating what is sure to be the first blooper of the All Star weekend, when the BBVA Compass President and COO fumbled the trophy on his pass to Drummond, allowing it to fall to the floor and break at the MVP ceremony! In front of everyone present in New Orleans, millions of fans from around the world…and a little blogger from New Zealand.
A fantastic game and a brilliant start to the 2014 All Star Weekend in NewAwlin’s!