Games of the All-Star Weekend:
2004 NBA All-Star Game
The West Wins in Waning Moments
Whether it be regular season, playoffs or the All-Star Game, you can take Tim Duncan to the bank.
Duncan's patented bank shot with 26 seconds left provided the final lead change of a seesaw fourth quarter and helped the Western Conference to a 136-132 victory over the Eastern Conference at the Staples Center.
With flashy performances from hometown heroes Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal, the West won for the third straight time. But with the game in the balance, West coach Flip Saunders went to Duncan, the superstar forward of the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs.
Working against New Orleans Hornets center Jamaal Magloire, Duncan buried a turnaround bank shot to give the West a 133-132 edge, the sixth lead change of the final period.
"It was a play that Flip drew up a couple of options to it," Duncan said. "I was kind of the third one."
"Timmy is one of those guys, he makes big plays," Saunders said.
The East had two more chances, but Orlando's Tracy McGrady threw away a lob pass and - after Seattle's Ray Allen made two free throws - Milwaukee's Michael Redd missed a potential tying 3-pointer.
Duncan, who shared All-Star MVP honors with O'Neal in 2000, sank a free throw to seal it. He had a highly characteristic 14 points and 13 rebounds as part of a balanced attack that was tilted in the West's favor by Lakers teammates O'Neal and Bryant.
"My game doesn't change from a regular game to an All-Star Game," Duncan said. "I wish I could be involved in the high-flying stuff, but that's just not what I do."
O'Neal had 24 points, 11 rebounds, a handful of thunderous dunks and several comedic moments as he captured his second All-Star MVP award.
"I'm not one really known known to be taking over an All-Star Game," O'Neal said. "I said to myself if it's going good, nobody is really shining, I'm going to go ahead and go for it."
Bryant, who arrived late to the arena, had 20 points and five steals. He heard some boos from the crowd when he opted for a layup rather than a dunk on a breakaway in the third quarter.
"I just didn't have the momentum so I just laid it in," he said.
For the third time in four years, the midseason showcase came down to the closing moments. A free throw by Duncan tied it at 127-127 with 2:40 to go, but McGrady, who scored 13 points, sank a long jumper. O'Neal tied it again as he hurtled down the lane for a powerful dunk at the 1:57 mark as New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd ran for cover.
"I just went in and took it and took 2.9 steps and threw it down," O'Neal said.
"You've got to think about your family," Kidd said. "I don't know if he has an anti-lock brake system but I was just going to get out of the way."
McGrady made a nifty lefthanded drive and Bryant drilled a long jumper before McGrady gave the East its last lead at 132-131 by splitting a pair of free throws with 37 seconds left.
"It was a nail-biter at the end," Bryant said. "It was a good show."
The West had seven players in double figures, as did the East. Allen and Houston center Yao Ming scored 16 points each for the West, while Magloire and New Jersey Nets forward Kenyon Martin- each playing in his first All-Star Game - came off the bench to score 19 and 17 points, respectively.
O'Neal was highly entertaining. He took a couple of spins at point guard in the first half, having his drive swatted out of bounds by Magloire. He later responded by pounding a shot by Magloire into the seats.
"I had a lot of fun," O'Neal said. "A couple of people told me if I get it, there's an opening, they want me to go coast to coast."
In the third quarter, O'Neal scored 10 points on the court and countless points off it. One of his dunks rocked the backboard stanchion so severely it prompted referee Steve Javie to ask if there was an extra one in the building. Seconds later, he scored on a post move, grabbed a fan's video camera and turned it on himself, wiping his brow for effect.
NBA scoring leader Allen Iverson of Philadelphia, who came in with the highest average in All-Star Game history, became a passer, handing out 11 assists with just three points. He had a pair of long lobs that Toronto's Vince Carter turned into jaw-dropping dunks in the first quarter, which ended with the East holding a 33-31 lead.
"It was funny," Iverson said. "The Indiana coaches said, 'If we put you back in at the 2-guard, will you shoot the ball?'"
Magloire, whose presence in this game was questioned, was the best player on the floor in the second quarter, scoring eight points. McGrady reprised his self-pass off-the-glass jam late in the period, helping the East to a 64-58 advantage.
"I felt in my heart that I am an All-Star," Magloire said. "This won't be the last time I will be an All-Star."
Iverson set up McGrady and Carter for trampoline-act dunks early in the third quarter, but O'Neal began to assert himself shortly thereafter as the West turned a 71-62 deficit into an 87-81 lead.
"When you have guys like Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady, you just throw it up to them," Iverson said.
||Eau Claire HS|
||Mt. Zion Christian Academy|
||Lower Merion HS|
got milk? Rookie Challenge
Stoudemire Showcases Skills for Sophs
Amaré Stoudemire set a got milk? Rookie Challenge record with 36 points and grabbed 11 rebounds Friday as he upstaged LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in leading the Sophomores to a 142-118 rout of the Rookies in the opening event of NBA All-Star Weekend.
All of the attention centered around James and Anthony, the top rookies in the NBA who have a developing rivalry but were teammates for one night. While they treated a STAPLES Center crowd to an array of high-flying moves, they were no match for a strong squad of second-year players led by Stoudemire, the forward of the Phoenix Suns.
The first player to win got milk? Rookie of the Year after entering the NBA directly from high school, the 6-9 Stoudemire appeared to be a man among boys. In a game devoid of defense, his power game was too much to handle and earned him Most Valuable Player honors.
"It's like a dream come true, you know?" he said. "Out here in L.A., the All-Star Weekend, capture the MVP, broke a record -- it's amazing."
Stoudemire made 17-of-23 shots, most of them ferocious hammer dunks. One of his few misses hit the back rim so hard it flew over the scorer's table at midcourt.
"It's all about having fun and that's what we did," Stoudemire said.
"He's a great player," James said. "He's the most athletic big man I've seen in a long time."
In a game that set a handful of offensive records, Stoudemire eclipsed the scoring mark of 31 shared by Kobe Bryant (1997) and Jason Richardson (2003). The teams shattered the total points record of 244 set last year and combined for a ridiculous 184 points in the paint.
"We were running plays. The plays were defensive plays to not guard anybody and to move out of the way," said Sophomores forward Mike Dunleavy of the Golden State Warriors.
The Sophomores have won three of the five games under the current format.
James, the guard of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Anthony, the forward of the Denver Nuggets, were sensational early, when the game was still a game, and late, when it turned into a dunk contest. James scored 33 points, Anthony had 17 and the duo collaborated on several jaw-dropping plays.
"I know his game, he knows my game," James said. "We feel comfortable playing together."
Stoudemire had plenty of help from Cleveland Cavaliers forward Carlos Boozer, who scored 25 points, and Seattle SuperSonics guard Ronald "Flip" Murray, who added 25 and 10 assists.
With some help from Detroit Pistons swingman Tayshaun Prince, who scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half, the Sophomores raced to a 72-59 halftime advantage and never looked back, leading by as many as 30 points.
In the early going, Anthony set up James with a scoop lob pass for a dunk before the pair got together on a fantastic play. James made a steal, threw a long leakout pass to Anthony, then raced downcourt and thundered home a return lob.
"It was just fun tonight to be on the court with him," Anthony said.
But the inside presence of Stoudemire and Boozer, Murray's penetration game and Prince's 3-point shooting was too much to handle for the Rookies, who put up very little resistance.
"We tried to play some defense, but we were so hot on the offensive end that we wanted to get up down in a hurry," said Prince, who had three 3-pointers in less than two minutes.
The second half turned into an episode of the Entertainers Basketball Classic. Stoudemire had six dunks in the second half, including an alley-oop finish from Murray that made it 140-110 with 1:41 to go.
With defenders standing at the 3-point arc and leaving the basket unprotected, James and Prince traded through-the-legs dunks that brought oohs and aahs from the crowd. After the horn sounded, James threw his sneakers into the crowd.
"It was about entertaining the fans, and I thought you got a good idea that these young men could play at a very high level," winning coach Michael Cooper said. "There really was no defense played and that was by design."
Rodioshack Shooting Stars
Home Team Takes it to the Bank
Call it home-halfcourt advantage.
Derek Fisher banked home a shot from just inside halfcourt for the Los Angeles Lakers squad to win the inaugural RadioShack Shooting Stars competition on All-Star Saturday Night presented by America Online.
"Ain't no pressure in my home building," he told the Staples Center crowd after the event.
For what is in effect a shooting relay, each team of three players is required to make six shots -- a 10-foot bank from the right side, a 15-footer from the left elbow, a three-pointer from the top of the arc, an 18-footer from the right baseline, a three-pointer from the left wing and a halfcourt heave.
The Lakers squad of Fisher, Sparks star Lisa Leslie and NBA legend Magic Johnson completed the circuit with a time of 43.9 seconds. Johnson and Leslie also teamed with Marko Jaric and actor Ashton Kutcher to win the Jeep All-Star Hoop-It-Up last year in Atlanta.
"It started out slow," observed Leslie. "I don't know how I missed my first shot. I was able to knock down my other shot and Magic knocked down his and Derek just nailed it for us."
The San Antonio Spurs team of Manu Ginobili, Jennifer Azzi and Steve Kerr had opened the contest, and its time of 46.0 seconds -- with Azzi nailing the halfcourt shot -- had remained the one to beat through the two succeeding rounds. The Los Angeles Clippers, featuring Jaric, Nikki Teasley and Terry Cummings clocked in at 49.8, and the Detroit Pistons, with Chauncey Billups, Cheryl Ford and John Salley finished fourth in 1:05.
Salley encountered significant trouble on the left-side three-pointer, missing about a dozen shots, throwing the ball at the rim and even attempting a layup ("Nice try," countered the public-address announcer) before finally banking one in.
But fittingly, the event belonged to Johnson, who already this week has had his statue unveiled at Staples and a three-hour tribute at the Shrine Auditorium.
"It's been amazing," said Magic, "the enthusiasm of the city and the fans in All-Star Weekend. To come here and win back-to-back -- we won the three-on-three last year -- we come back and win the shooting this year -- we represent L.A. style.
989 Sports Skills Challenge
Baron Davis Wins 989 Sports Skills Challenge
L.A.s own Baron Davis, who was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, made a triumphant homecoming by winning the 989 Sports Skills Challenge during All-Star Saturday Night presented by America Online. Davis weaved his way through the timed obstacle course, which consisted of dribbling, passing and shooting stations, in a brisk 31.6 seconds, edging the Lakers Derek Fisher (37.6 seconds) in the finals.
This weekend is overwhelming. Being from South Central, this is home. It was a great competition and it is great representing L.A. I am just happy to be here and give the fans something to watch, Davis said after the win. I havent gotten much sleep the last two days, but went through the course earlier and it was easy.
Davis reached the finals after a flawless first round where he did not miss a shot or a pass, and finished with a time of 28.7. Fisher was a midday replacement for teammate Gary Payton, who was forced to withdraw because of personal reasons, reached the finals with a time of 31.6 seconds.
Denvers Earl Boykins finished the first round with a time of 34.9 seconds, while Marbury clocked in at 36.4.
The 989 Sports Skills Challenge was launched at last years All-Star Saturday Night in Atlanta and showcases the the NBAs top point guards.
An NBA licensee, 989 Sports produces the NBA ShootOut series of video games exclusively for the PlayStation® and PS one game consoles and the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system.
Foot Locker 3 Point Shootout
Voshon Lenard let his money do the talking.
The Denver Nuggets guard took advantage of the red, white and blue two-point money balls, hitting four in the first round and all five en route to his final-round 18 and an upset victory in his first appearance in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout.
"It was just a matter of making that money ball," said Lenard afterward, "and some guys missed it. So when they did that, I knew I kind of had a chance with 18."
Sacramento's Peja Stojakovic, attempting to become the first player since Chicago's Craig Hodges in 1992 to win the event three consecutive years, came into the night as the favorite but was betrayed by his normally reliable shooting touch, missing five straight shots in the final round to post a second-place 16. Philadelphia 76ers rookie Kyle Korver finished third with 15.
"I just wanted to come in, be relaxed," said Lenard. "I knew it was going to be a tough one with Peja being champion. Everybody was expecting him to win. So I think they put a lot of pressure on him to come out and be the three-time champion."
In the first round, it appeared as though the event may once again belong to Stojakovic as the All-Star forward cruised to a 21, the high score of the evening. But in the finals, after knocking down nine of his first 13 -- including two bonus balls -- he rimmed out six of his next seven to record his lowest non-overtime score in his four years of shootout participation.
"I started good, then got a little cold during the fourth rack," said Stojakovic. "I finished pretty strong, but it wasnt enough."
He could have tied Lenard to force overtime on his final shot, but the bonus ball floated wide
Said Lenard, "First of all, I did not want to have a shoot-off with him, so I'm glad he struggled toward the end. With him being a two-time champion, I knew it was not going to be easy. The only thing that you can do with a shooter like that is try to hang in there, and that's what I did."
Korver posted a 19 -- making nine of his last 10 attempts -- and Lenard an 18 in the first round to advance to the matchup against Stojakovic in the final. Seattle's Rashard Lewis (16), Houston's Cuttino Mobley (13) and Detroit's Chauncey Billups (12) rounded out the field.
Sprite Rising Star Slam Dunk
50 Sent: Jones Rides Perfect Dunk to Title
A powerful, one-handed dunk lifted Indiana's Fred Jones to the 2004 Sprite Rising Stars Slam Dunk title over two-time champion Jason Richardson. But in the end it was Jones' final, missed dunk that was the talk of the night.
After taking the lead in the final round with a very impressive one-handed, off-the-floor slam, the 6-2 guard decided to try something different heading into his final dunk. So he tossed the ball into the stands to a fan wearing a No. 20 Jones jersey.
It turns out that the fan in question was Jones' former high-school and summer-league teammate, Brandon Brooks. With a spotlight shining on him, and the anticipation building, Brooks tossed the ball up into the air from roughly five rows back. The ball then bounced high off of the hardwood, where his old teammate rose up to receive it and, ostensibly, throw it down.
The first pass hit the bottom of the backboard. Try again. The second pass also went awry. But that didn't stifle the anticipation building in the arena. The crowd started cheering loudly before the third attempt. Brooks calmly tossed it to the court, and the pass appeared to be on target. But the ball went off of Jones' fingertips, up off of the backboard, and then through the rim. While Jones didn't actually dunk the ball, it wound up counting because it was a successful field goal. Jones received a 36. The crowd urged the judges to give the combo another try at their inventive dunk, but it wasn't to be.
Jones wound up winning despite the 36, and the talk after the event was mostly of the missed attempt.
"The idea actually came from high school," explained Brooks. "In high-school gyms, there's usually a back wall. Fred used to throw it off the back wall and dunk it that way, but in NBA arenas, there aren't any back walls. So we tried it this way."
The longtime friends were creating their memorable moment on the fly, only deciding to try the dunk upon entering the arena.
"I just wanted to catch the ball wherever he put it, and maybe cock it to the side before dunking it," explained Fred.
Jones almost lost the competition to Richardson on the Golden State guard's final dunk of the night, but Richardson missed an off-the-floor, elbow-through-the-rim dunk in the last overall attempt of the night. The Pacers guard was crowned champion by virtue of his first dunk in the final round, an impressive flush that Jones seemed to lose control of in mid-air, only to reel it back in and throw it home.
"I wanted it as far away as possible to be able to extend for a little more flair," said Jones of his second 50-point dunk of the night. He also received a 50 in the first round for a powerful one-handed, off-the-floor dunk.
Richardson, who badly wanted to become the first player to win three straight dunk titles, conceded that Jones' final missed attempt was the most exciting play of the night.
"Too bad I didn't use that one," said Richardson afterwards
Richardson finished second in the contest, placing ahead of Denver's Chris Andersen, whom Richardson believed should have received much higher scores.
"(Andersen) got cheated; he was the only one who got cheated," said Richardson. "That first dunk he did should have been a 50."
Andersen's first dunk was impressive, indeed, as the 6-10 forward flew from the left elbow, pivoted in mid-air, and drove home a two-handed reverse windmill.
"Everybody has their opinions, but I could tell by the crowd reaction that it was a good dunk," said Andersen, who received just a 42 for the dunk. "Hopefully I'll have a chance to try again next year."
Andersen finished third, ahead of the Celtics' Ricky Davis, but his dunking was nearly upstaged by his wild hairdo. His blonde hair teased into long spikes, Andersen received some ribbing from none other than STAPLES staple Jack Nicholson before his first dunk.
"On special occasions, sometimes I throw my hair up," explained Andersen afterwards.
Still, the night ultimately belonged to Jones, who has now won six of seven dunk contests in his life, dating back to his days as an amateur baller.
"I think I've had better dunk contests," Jones admitted afterwards.
Still, his performance on this night was good enough to give him the win. And a little help from a friend was enough to make it a memorable competition overall.