Saturday Night Live-Blogging

Posted by Kevin Arnovitz

Welcome to All-Star Saturday night.

Since my spirit is dampened by the exclusion of Steve Novak from the Three-Point Shootout, and I've never forgiven the judges for robbing Dominique Wilkins of the 1988 Slam Dunk crown, I thought it would be a good idea to bring in some help for tonight.

Rob Mahoney of The Two Man Game and John Krolik of Cavs the Blog will be joining me for the evening's festivities.

Since Rob "refuses to acknowledge the existence of the Shooting Stars competition," we're going to start our coverage with the Skills Competition.

Follow along, won't you...


KEVIN ARNOVITZ: So I just got back from the 3D studio in the bowels of the arena which, I have to say, makes this competition a lot more interesting

JOHN KROLIK: End of shooting stars...well, Detroit's season hasn't gone the way they wanted it to, but I'm sure the fans are just as happy with this.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Also visited the practice court where the 3PT participants were warming up. Bibby looks strong

JOHN KROLIK: I've got Kapono. Until proven otherwise.

JOHN KROLIK: I like Parker, then Mo in the Skills comp. It's all about that mid-range J. If Rose hits it, it's his.

ROB MAHONEY: My heart says Roger Mason, but my brain just beat up my heart and told me to pick Kapono. Seems like a no-brainer.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: I like Harris in Skillz..Mason in 3P...but, as I said, Bibby was stroking it on the practice court 10 mins ago

JOHN KROLIK: Mason will win if it comes down to the last shot. Dude's an assassin, right down to the name.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Minus the little swastika on his forehead, natch.

JOHN KROLIK: Playlist so far: Brittney Spears, John Legend. I'm intrigued for the night.

ROB MAHONEY: I once heard that Roger Mason killed a man. No - AN ARMY OF MEN. Ruthless, truly.

JOHN KROLIK: I'm still steamed my boy OJ didn't take HORSE home. Dude hit some sick shots.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Just to review Rob's skills reforms.: Could they block two shots at the same time? Who could steal it from Chris Paul first? If all players were given a ball and a finite space, who would be the last man standing with an active dribble? Could they block a shot launched out of a machine like a clay pigeon?

ROB MAHONEY: I actually missed HORSE entirely. I heard it was kinda lame. Any consensus?

JOHN KROLIK: Could Rudy surprise us in the Dunk Contest tonight?

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Rudy is my bottom-dweller for the sole reason that he played THU nite in Oakland, Last night in the Rook/Soph game....So he's on a back-to-back-to-back [hat tip: Henry]

JOHN KROLIK: HORSE-Nobody was hitting at first, then guys hit some 40-footers, Rick Barry Free Throws, backwards, OJ went from the stands, but then Durant closed it out by just raining threes, which was a bit anti-climactic. Still liked it overall.

JOHN KROLIK: My bottom-dweller is Nate-I just don't think he's got 3 contests worth of dunks in him.

ROB MAHONEY: Rudy will disappoint only because no one expected anything from him, the rumors of awesome soccer-inspired dunks surfaced and got all of our hopes up, and then we'll inevitably be disappointed because well, he's Rudy.

JOHN KROLIK: Harris is going too slow around the guys.

ROB MAHONEY: Devin Harris has to slow down for the cameras to capture him. It's all part of the plan, John.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: A Sham-mockery

JOHN KROLIK: The difference is effort, Mo.

ROB MAHONEY: The real reason Mo Williams wanted to be in Phoenix for this weekend: SKILLS CHALLENGE, YO.

JOHN KROLIK: BALLBOYGATE! The NBA All-Star conspiracy against Mo Williams continues.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Vintage Rose. Perfect, except for a missed J.

ROB MAHONEY: LeBron will now carry out his vendetta against ball boys everywhere.

ROB MAHONEY: How does Derrick Rose coast through the challenge and still smoke everyone?

JOHN KROLIK: And goodbye, Tony Parker.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: The PHX fans are pleased

ROB MAHONEY: We'll just forget that I picked Tony to win. Cool?

JOHN KROLIK: My friend put 20 bucks on TP and 10 on Mo. He is displeased right now.

JOHN KROLIK: Not really playoff intensity in the 1st round of the skills challenge.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: The problem with this event is that all the elasticity is in the jump shot...[and, to a lesser extent the passing]. So it's really a foul shot shooting contest.

ROB MAHONEY: When is the Gerald Wallace/Josh Smith/Andrei Kirilenko skills challenge? I'm ready to have my world turned upside down.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: 1st Place: $35,000
2nd Place: $22,500
3rd Place: $9,000
4th Place: $9,000

JOHN KROLIK: You Gotta Get Anthony Randolph and Julian Wright in there too.

ROB MAHONEY: Derrick Rose was HUNGRY for that Skills Challenge title. Finished it nicely with a sweet dunk -- the best thing I've seen in the last two hours.

JOHN KROLIK: Wade's Glasses?

ROB MAHONEY: I'm not sure this is topical anymore, but I thought Wade's whole ensemble last night was awesome. Bow tie + glasses + sweater under the suit jacked = pure class.

JOHN KROLIK: ...And that's over. 3-point shootout time.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: The big news on press row: Allen Iverson's hair is now short.

JOHN KROLIK: And may I just go on record as saying it's a TRAVESTY Anthony Morrow is not in the shootout. Leads the league in % and has maybe the nicest catch-and-shoot stroke I've ever seen. Absolutely deadly spot-up shooter.

ROB MAHONEY: Also: where's Ray Allen?

JOHN KROLIK: Spalding commercial w/ the free-throw routines: clubhouse leader so far. I do not need to see Barkley and Dwight 25 more times tonight.

JOHN KROLIK: Allen has nothing to gain by competing. Everyone already regards him as the best pure shooter in the league. Which he is-he completely revamped his midrange game this year.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Agree. Revised field based on pure sweetness of stroke: MORROW-NOVAK-MASON-K.MARTIN-BARRY-ALLEN

ROB MAHONEY: Whereas Jason Kapono lives for this...thing.

JOHN KROLIK: Novak's another guy. He'd be a deadly stretch-the-floor backup four and spot-shooter on a real team. He doesn't miss when his feet are set. Of course, on the Clippers he has to put the ball on the floor to get shots, because the Clippers are where ball movement comes to die.

ROB MAHONEY: The homer in me wants to say that Jason Terry deserves a mention, but he blew his chance at the contest last time.

JOHN KROLIK: That JJ Redick hasn't even made it to the three-point shootout is the real sign of his struggles. Al
though he is still the best shooter of all time. (According to Better Basketball)

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Szczerbiak still shoots a pretty ball.

JOHN KROLIK: Wally shot like 56% from deep in January. It did take him like 10 months to find his stroke in Cleveland. But he doesn't miss in warmups.

ROB MAHONEY: These music selections continue to perplex. Can't we just play Fort Minor thirty times and call it a day? TEN PERCENT LUCK, TWENTY PERCENT SKILL...

JOHN KROLIK: Am I the only one who thinks Kapono and Simmons are dead-ringers for each other?

JOHN KROLIK: Kenny wants to put a chip on RMJ's shoulder. And he says that he doesn't know Kapono would've won back in the day. Um, didn't he set the record?

ROB MAHONEY: But the head-to-head competition is just too fierce. Kapono would clearly shake in his boots when faced with Steve Kerr.

JOHN KROLIK: Kerr's intimidating. If you don't hit 20, he'll trade you.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Craig Hodges was a monster.

ROB MAHONEY: What do you think Voshon Lenard is doing right this minute?

JOHN KROLIK: You tell that Bruin, Cheryl. 'SC, baby. On that note, Nick Young would've been good for the dunk contest.

ROB MAHONEY: Rashard Lewis is the new Jason Terry.

ROB MAHONEY: Nevermind, Rashard is somehow shooting and reading simultaneously. I spoke too soon, and I am so, so sorry, dude.

JOHN KROLIK: Lewis and Redd are the only guys who slingshot it like that, but it seems to work for them.

ROB MAHONEY: I want to add a provision to the shootout: if you bank a shot, you only get half the points.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Bibby: King of the Practice Court.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Cook's Hot Spots from beyond the arc: Racks 1 and 3.

JOHN KROLIK: Nah, it should count for double. Make it more exciting. But only if you call it.

JOHN KROLIK: Cook's stroke is pure.

ROB MAHONEY: Daequan Cook impresses. Well played, sir.

JOHN KROLIK: Dwyane Wade will never top Damon Jones' coat. By the way, where is he tonight?

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Wade is walking a very, very fine line sartorially.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Granger's Hot Spot from BTA: Rack 2.

JOHN KROLIK: Prediction: Dwight Howard will dunk while Twittering.

JOHN KROLIK: Granger's stroke reminds me of Boobie Gibson and Kevin Martin's-needs the feet set, a little bit of a sling with a low release, but deadly.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Granger: Nervous feet.

JOHN KROLIK: Eddie House Mic'd up would make this contest 20X better.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Mason would've faired a whole lot better if Jason Richardson was cheating off him.

JOHN KROLIK: RMJ In the clutch...

ROB MAHONEY: Eddie House is one of those players that needs his own show, or at least his own for-profit online 24-hour feed.

JOHN KROLIK: wouldn't have happened in a real game. 3-point contest officially does not involve pressure.

JOHN KROLIK: They should make it BASEketball-syle and have Eddie House, Cassell, and Damon Jones going at it.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Re: Pressure. For Round 2, they should have Marcus Camby closing on the corner 3s

ROB MAHONEY: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why John Krolik is my hero.

JOHN KROLIK: Marcus Camby is busy showing his highlight reel to GMs of contending teams right now.

ROB MAHONEY: This just in: Jason Kapono is mortal. Kind of.

JOHN KROLIK: Wow, really disappointed.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: 1st Place: $35K...2nd: 22.5K...3rd: $15K

ROB MAHONEY: Jason Kapono has LEFT the building.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Impressive. From behind.

JOHN KROLIK: 'Shard is nails. So many clutch shooters on that Magic team, even with Jameer tragically out.

ROB MAHONEY: The ball rests in the court of the Daequan Cookie Monster.



JOHN KROLIK: Really, overtime is the only thing that could've salvaged this shootout.

JOHN KROLIK: Overtime should be from 30 feet.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Good thing, too. Because 15 is an awful score to win this thing with.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: A Baron-esque 5-25 from beyond.

ROB MAHONEY: Methinks 'Shard is a little tired. He finishes the shoot-off with a score of 7.


KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Has anyone ever clinched on the 2nd rack??

JOHN KROLIK: I think 'Shards shooting arm honestly gets tired after firing 50 threes in 2 minutes. There's a lot of arm in that shot.

JOHN KROLIK: Cook just stood up 'Shard for a high-five. Cold-blooded. (I think he probably just didn't see him.)

ROB MAHONEY: Story of Rashard's night.

JOHN KROLIK: Well, the important stuff's over.

JOHN KROLIK: I guess I'll stick around for this Dunkshot exhibition.

ROB MAHONEY: For those keeping score at home: I'm 0/3 on predictions so far. For the Dunk Contest - Dwight beats J.R. in the finals, but only because of the fan voting.

JOHN KROLIK: All I know about this dunk contest is that the best dunks of the night were probably by Flight White in the D-League show. Please, someone just give him a 10-day contract so he can dunk in the contest.

JOHN KROLIK: J.R. hasn't had enough time to put together the ridiculous setpieces you need to do something new in the dunk contest now.


KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Favorite Dunker of all-time, gentlemen?

JOHN KROLIK: Rudy should do a dunk where he drains a three with his right while throwing an alley-oop to himself with his left.

JOHN KROLIK: Favorite of all time: VC circa 2000. Not original, just true.

JOHN KROLIK: Favorite dunk contest stuff in recent memory: THE BIRTHDAY CAKE.

ROB MAHONEY: Isaiah 'J.R.' Rider and Shawn Kemp.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Wilkins, then Richardson.

ROB MAHONEY: Gerald Green's sock dunk was also pretty incredible. It was his bad for the placement and the strategy, though.

JOHN KROLIK: J-Rich was kinda mechanical. 'Nique was awesome. And he's a really good color guy now.

ROB MAHONEY: I'm with you, Kevin. J-Rich was the mad note.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: I tend to be a minimal anti-propist

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Cupcakes are for office parties.

JOHN KROLIK: The first contest J-Rich won was god-awful-the wheel was a one-year experiment.

ROB MAHONEY: Aren't we all. Unless someone dunked over a car, or a boat. I think I could get behind that.

JOHN KROLIK: The BIRTHDAY CAKE was the guerilla sticker dunk. It was props celebrating athletic fury rather than masking a lack of it. All done by anti-establishment G-Money and McCants. Birthday Cake=triumph.

JOHN KROLIK: One way Dwight Howard could improve from last year-actually dunk the ball on every dunk. Just a thought.

JOHN KROLIK: Didn't Kobe stuff over a car?

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: doctored video

in the dunk contest he won back in the day

ROB MAHONEY: In summary: birthday cake = good, Dwight's mini basket B.S. from last year = bad.

JOHN KROLIK: Yes, on board 100% Rob

ROB MAHONEY: Is Josh Smith making a statement by not dunking in the contest ever again? His contest dunks were pretty nice.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Conservative out of the gate.

JOHN KROLIK: Nice, solid 45 out of the gate. Some oompf in the finish.


ROB MAHONEY: J.R. Smith with the double-bounce, not bad considering his lack of prep time.

JOHN KROLIK: No idea what to expect from Rudy.

JOHN KROLIK: 40. Get a dunk down, not bad, classy tribute.

ROB MAHONEY: Rudy's Fernando Martin was lost on everybody. Thanks, TNT!

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Fernandez < Smith?

JOHN KROLIK: *42. Missed that he went behind-the-back.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: We were just handed a press release bio of Martin!


KEVIN ARNOVITZ: We were just handed a press release bio of Martin!

JOHN KROLIK: He basically did the same dunk as J.R., but he's almost a foot shorter. Not bad.

ROB MAHONEY: Nate Robinson has like three different dunks. He just did J.R. Smith's dunk but on one bounce (easier), and got a higher score.

JOHN KROLIK: Wait, Dwight Howard is in this competition?

ROB MAHONEY: LeBron James is wearing sunglasses indoors. I do not approve.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: The fix is in.

JOHN KROLIK: That wasn't a 50. 47 at best.

ROB MAHONEY: Dwight gets straight tens on a decent oop windmill.

JOHN KROLIK: Thanks for making the trip, everyone else.

ROB MAHONEY: If you think the judges are rigging it for Dwight, just wait 'til the fan vote.

ROB MAHONEY: Best dunk of the first round? I like J.R., then Rudy.

JOHN KROLIK: We thought it was over before it began. JR Smith would need to dunk two balls at once to beat Dwight in the fan vote. On different baskets.

JOHN KROLIK: Much as I dislike Nate, his windmill had just as much force and the little-man factor. I put them all more or less in a heat. No dunks jumped out at me, not even the ridiculous 50.

ROB MAHONEY : Star Wars: Clone Wars dunk contest first round. Well, maybe not.

JOHN KROLIK: Oh, I like this. And Pau should keep the pass simple.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Tick tock tick tock

JOHN KROLIK: It really doesn't look like he can do this dunk.

ROB MAHONEY : Joe Alexander Rudy Fernandez.

ROB MAHONEY : Not a bad dunk, but really, really anticlimactic.

JOHN KROLIK: There we go! Vamos, baby! 1st try, that would've been a 50...WHAT!!!!!!! If you don't like missed attempts, change the rules. Nate Robinson benefits both ways from his stolen championship.

JOHN KROLIK: This is all Sonny Weems has been practicing. Oh, this is a 50 if he throws this.

JOHN KROLIK: Go back to the around-the-back.

ROB MAHONEY: Well, it was nice seeing you, J.R. Smith. I'll always love you.

JOHN KROLIK: Please, not Nate in the finals. Please, just get JR to the finals.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: We're being set up for the Big-Small Final

JOHN KROLIK: Gave you a little 'Nique-pump with an out-of-the crowd? Better than a 43. Penalizing the attempts discourages invention.

JOHN KROLIK: No. No. That dunk was not good. It was cute.

ROB MAHONEY: Cute points for Nate's step up dunk, but...really?

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Not to rain on the parade, but isn't that, like, cheating? A human step-stool?


JOHN KROLIK: And that duty doesn't go to a rookie? I guess he would've broken Danilo's back.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: And so it begins.

ROB MAHONEY: Dwight's bringing in another basket - color me intrigued.

JOHN KROLIK: I was joking when I was talking about dunking on 2 baskets at the same time.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: The higher Rim! Reform is here!!

JOHN KROLIK: Finally. We've been waiting 3 years for this.

JOHN KROLIK: Not the costume gimmick. That I could do without. Okay, actually this is kind of cool.

ROB MAHONEY: Dwight Howard found out this weekend was BYOB - Bring your own basket. And...phone booth, apparently?

JOHN KROLIK: He's not just going to dunk it on that rim.

JOHN KROLIK: Or maybe he is. He made it look too easy. Get him to the finals, he's got more for you.

JOHN KROLIK: And it's Dwight-Nate.

ROB MAHONEY: Not bad, Dwight. But you better have something special ahead for us.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Could Nate dunk on the 11' 5 basket?

ROB MAHONEY: Kevin, you mean the guy who needed a step ladder to do his 2nd dunk?

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Point taken.

JOHN KROLIK: Okay, so a high dunk competition would be pretty cool. That much we now know.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: If Eddy Curry were his step ladder, perhaps.

JOHN KROLIK: Now Dwight NEEDS to Twitter while dunking to save this contest. The step-up dunk is the most evil thing to ever happen.

JOHN KROLIK: Oh, Nate Has A green jersey! That's much better than making a cool dunk!

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Florescent shoes have infected the weekend.

JOHN KROLIK: I did not request performance art in my dunk contest.



JOHN KROLIK: That's pretty nice. His booty was at the rim.


ROB MAHONEY: Solid dunk from Nate. Not awesome, not underwhelming, just solid.

JOHN KROLIK: He has absolutely nothing to gain.

JOHN KROLIK: No Props...

ROB MAHONEY: There we go, Dwight.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Cheering on press row.

JOHN KROLIK: That rim's never going to be the same. That's the dunk G-Money did to win it two years ago after a trip to BALCO.

ROB MAHONEY: I'll give him props for no props.

JOHN KROLIK: Either way, this will be cool.

ROB MAHONEY: Okay Nate, okay. Can't argue with jumping over Dwight, even if there's a little boost. Nicely done.

JOHN KROLIK: The Comic Book Superman/Soulja Boy Superman question becomes more confusing after Nate Robinson wears Kryptonite green and cranks that soulja boy. To me, this is the key question of the night.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Da Dunk before Da Dunk

JOHN KROLIK: Don't do the free throw.

ROB MAHONEY: Please, Dwight, don't do it. Ugh.



JOHN KROLIK: I'm voting for Nate.

ROB MAHONEY: Yuck, Dwight. Yuck.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: But somehow underwhelming

ROB MAHONEY: I'm voting for Cedric Ceballos.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: That's not minimalism I can believe in.

JOHN KROLIK: I predict the voting goes 80-20 Dwight, but we know the real story. Nate wasn't amazing, but he was better in the finals.

JOHN KROLIK: 365 days until LBJ does the dunk contest. I'm already excited to be let down.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: The Howard baseline slam was the best of the 4, no?

ROB MAHONEY: I think it'll be a little tighter than 80-20. 65-35, maybe?

JOHN KROLIK: Baseline slightly over Nate jumping over Dwight, but Nate's 'Nique-pump reverse was much, much nicer than the played-out FT line stuff.

JOHN KROLIK: Hey, I wanted to vote, but they didn't give me the number after the dunks had actually happened. SCANDAL.

JOHN KROLIK: YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

ROB MAHONEY: 52%. Quite the nail-biter, but Nate takes it.

JOHN KROLIK: This one, he deserved. Kind of. Dwight taking the dunk contest into Yoko Ono territory needed to be stopped.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Parity is good. And American.

ROB MAHONEY: Don't worry guys, the dunk contest is back! Superman! Kryptonite! Yeah! ...what have we done?

JOHN KROLIK: I still hate the step-up dunk. I'm conflicted right now. Of the possible finals choices, I like Nate, but Rudy and JR got hosed.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: I'm trying to figure out the rationale of the FT dunk, given the prep the guy is known to put into the contest.

JOHN KROLIK: That's what's got my head spinning. Maybe he wasn't allowed to use the 12-footer again?

ROB MAHONEY: Well, J.R.'s second dunk was terrible. But there's no way the step-up was better than either of Rudy's dunks.

JOHN KROLIK: I mean, Candace Parker could do the FT line dunk and I wouldn't be that impressed in this day and age.

ROB MAHONEY: Dwight's plan was to stun us all into submission, hoping the early default votes for him would be enough after all Nate's fans were staring blankly at their screens.

JOHN KROLIK: And the irony is that the missed attempts is what kept either of those guys from beating out Nate. The step-up was a 35.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Howard could've played the second round dunk conservatively [he needed only 35] and gone with the 12-footer and the baseline slam for the finals.

JOHN KROLIK: Ugh, now this means Nate Robinson is going to be in dunk contest #4. Like 50% of his career dunks have come in dunk contests.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: There's a sequential trick to this thing.

JOHN KROLIK: The free-throw line was just a colossal error in judgement, through and through.

ROB MAHONEY: If Nate beats LeBron, will the world implode?

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Parlor Game: Pick your field of 4 for Dallas 2010.

JOHN KROLIK: LBJ, Nate (ugh), DH, Flight White (in my dreams)

JOHN KROLIK: LBJ was really unspectacular in his HS dunk contest, even though he won it.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Do we need to see Howard again?

ROB MAHONEY: Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Josh Smith, Gerald Green

JOHN KROLIK: I think he'll want to come back. He's creative and jumps so high, I think he'll show something new, esp. with the 12-foot rim. And the 2 highest jumpers will make for coolness.


ROB MAHONEY: I want no part in another Nate dunk contest. None whatsoever.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Westbrook has the potential to be a splashy dunk contestant.

JOHN KROLIK: Hey Metjet-1% of Nate Robinson's attempts this year have been dunks, and he's made 33% of them. Those are stats. An in-game dunker he's not.

ROB MAHONEY: But in essence, Westbrook is just another Nate. A more forceful one, but his primary shock value comes from dunking over people.

JOHN KROLIK: Rose has CGI ups. Not sure if he's the flashy type.

JOHN KROLIK: There are so many phenomenal athletes in the NBA-the difference is which guys want to put the work into coming up with new stuff.

ROB MAHONEY: I like Rose. If the step-up is a 50, Rose's Skills Challenge dunk is a 45.

KEVIN ARNOVITZ: Rob and John, it has been a pleasure.

JOHN KROLIK: For me as well, KA. Have fun over in PHX.

ROB MAHONEY: Likewise, Kevin. On a night where every event underwhelmed, you guys have been true ballers. Respect.