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The Madhouse: Week of 2/15 - NBA All-Star Saturday Night gets an A+

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Stars and other guys I’ve never heard of put on a good show.

2020 NBA All-Star - MTN DEW 3-Point Contest Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

That was a very good NBA All-Star Saturday Night.

NBA Stuff

THAT WAS A GREAT NBA ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT.

That was the most I’ve enjoyed the NBA’s mid-season event in recent memory. I didn’t flip the channel once, and I cannot remember the last time that was the case. Even better, everything wrapped up just seconds before my beloved Golden Knights dropped the puck. There was a lot of sports watching yesterday.

Skills Challenge

Is it just me or does this one get better every year?

Certainly, having the big men exhibit success helps. We’re at the point where that doesn’t even matter. There’s definitely some intrigue when they roll up to shoot that three.

My only beef is that the competition is not very long. I’d watch more of this. And I have to think there are plenty of guys who would want to participate.

So it’s good. But it could be better. With respect to the gatekeepers of the storied history that is the NBA Skills Challenge, I think we could expand things.

I looked up past winners, and did you know we’ve been doing this thing for 17 years? SEVEN. TEEN. YEARS. Holy s*** I’m old.

Three-Point Contest

This one rarely disappoints.

Trae Young entered as the bettors favorite so watching him eliminate himself right off the bat certainly added some unexpected drama.

I loved incorporating the deep shot. Aside from the obvious challenge and scoring elements it provides, it brings fatigue into the situation. That can only make things more interesting.

So, Book. Book was fantastic. The first thing that jumped out at me was that I was pleased to see how seriously he was taking the competition. Or, more serious than some of his peers, anyway. Who knows how many minutes he’ll get today, but it would be cool if he maintained the same energy he had Saturday night.

It was a little bit of a bummer seeing him lose, but honestly, bettors and fans alike didn’t think he’d get that far. It was fun, and the Suns were well represented.

Slam Dunk Contest

Unlike the three-point contest, this is one that has disappointed on several occasions.

That was not the case in 2020.

Firstly, Dwight Howard was just ok. But Dwight Howard did not participate to be crowned slam-dunk champion. Dwight Howard participated in an effort to have you forget the Dwight Howard before this Dwight Howard, and instead remember the first Dwight Howard that played in the NBA.

It was more about his career after his playing days have come to an end. It was a smart move.

Pat Connaughton impressed, and in many years would have reached the finals. Unquestionably, he was definitely the third best dunker on Saturday night.

The final was tremendous. Derrick Jones Jr. and Aaron Gordon put on the best show since (checks Wikipedia) 2016 in Toronto.

By the way, when I checked Wikipedia Aaron Gordon is listed as the 2020 slam dunk champion.

But he’s not, even if he should be. That’s what happens when competitions are judged. So Gordon played Deontay Wilder to Jones’ Tyson Fury. And while I may argue with you about Gordon vs. Jones, I WILL NOT ARGUE WITH YOU ABOUT WILDER VS. FURY.

I could have watched those guys dunk for hours. I think we’re well past the argument of the dunk contest “needing stars.” Do we even say that any more? Also, the dunk contest is not “back.” It never left. Sometimes it just sucks. This year it very, very much did not suck.

My Stuff

What I’m reading: After the Flood, Kassandra Montag.

What I’m playing: I have a lot going on here. Nintendo Switch: Ghost Blade HD, Habroxia, Blue Rider. PS4: Mad Max. Xbox One: Far Cry 5.

What I’m listening to: Retronauts Podcast.

What I’m watching: Watched Joker on Friday. I’m flying solo for a few days so I’d like to get around to The Irishman and Not For Resale while time permits.

What I’m Thinking

I am very interested to see how this All-Star Game is going to go.

Certainly it could be like every other All-Star Game. You know the game. It’s a dunk contest through three quarters, scratch that, three and a half quarters. before a couple of guys decide that might want to kind of, sort of try to win the game.

But I feel like this one may be different. I had that thought after the passing of Kobe Bryant. That thought strengthened after the announcement that the “Elam Ending” would be utilized in the game’s final quarter.

If you are unfamiliar with how the Elam Ending works, it involves a clockless fourth quarter. The teams will play towards a point total. The point total will be the score of the leading team plus 24. The 24 in honor of Bryant.

So if, for example, the West is leading the East 100-31, it will be the first team to reach 124 points that will crowned the winner.

For what it’s worth the “Elam Ending” was devised by Ball State University professor Nick Elam. Of course you all know that Ball State is my alma mater, and is frequently referred to as the “Ivy League of Indiana.”

So I think the influence of Bryant in a game that will feature so many of his friends, peers, and younger players who idolized Kobe growing up could lead to a much more competitive game than we are used to seeing.

And in case that’s not enough motivation, on Saturday commissioner Adam Silver announced the new name of the All-Star Game’s MVP trophy.

The NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award.

Smart money is on a West win and LeBron James taking home top honors.