Maybe you missed the NBA’s All-Star weekend this year. Maybe changing the format of the Rising Stars challenge USA vs. the World couldn’t entice you to watch Friday night’s affair. Maybe you agree with Dr. Julius Erving, that mascots have ruined the Slam Dunk Contest, and you skipped the festivities from Saturday night, opting maybe for listening to the new Drake mixtape instead of watching Zach LaVine, Victor Oladipo, and company throw the hammer down. Maybe, then, finally you skipped the All-Star game itself on Sunday night, maybe for the Saturday Night Love 40th anniversary special, and you missed Russell Westbrook taking home the MVP award in very Westbrook-ian fashion.
If that’s true, that’s all OK, because really, the All-Star break stretches a few minutes of worth basketball action into an entire weekend of festivities, which means most of the programming ends up being filler. Anyone who’s ever tried to consume the entirety of All-Star weekend from their couch during the last few years knows this, so that’s where we come in.
Let us help you catch up on what you needed to know from the All-Star break as part of this week’s Week in Review, a bit tardy and suffering from an All-Star hangover.
Mo’Ne Davis puts Kevin Hart in the spin cycle. — Get ’em, girl. Hart still managed to take home game MVP honors.
Zach LaVine tries to single-handedly revive the dunk contest. — LaVine dominated the competition Saturday night, putting on a caliber performance that we haven’t seen in a long time and throwing down a behind-the-back, under-the-butt dunk that’s one of the all-time greats. Here’s each of the young Timberwolf’s dunks in 7 seconds.
Outside of LaVine, it was Oladipo who had the best dunk, a two-handed, 540 reverse to lead off the contest.
All-Star game feels very All-Starry. — Sunday night’s game was pretty standard as far as All-Star games go: big men trying to show off their handles, guards pulling up for 30-footers, absurd alley-oops, and not a lick of defense in sight, save for Jimmy Butler. (Love you, Jimmy.)
The Gasol brothers tipped off against one another, which was a cool moment that gives us a chance to show off this photo of the pair as very tall kids that was passed around during the weekend.
While LeBron came out firing, taking it hard to the rack early on, so did Westbrook. The OKC guard seems like he’s going 100 miles an hour even when he’s playing for grins, and he put on an assortment of vicious dunks and long-distance bombs that, by the end of the game, had him just a single point shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s single-game All-Star record.
Davis and Durant don’t do much. — Pelicans star Anthony Davis sat out the All-Star game entirely to rest up for the second half of the season, and Thunder star Kevin Durant came off the bench during the game while playing limited minutes. Durant has been battling soreness in his foot since he broke it early in the season, while Davis has had a series of bumps and falls during the last few weeks that left him needing a break. Losing either player would be disastrous for their respective teams’ second-half playoff chases.
After the break, it’s buyout season! — Amar’e was bought out over the weekend, a sad ending to a New York union that began with such promise.
The Monday morning word is the Bucks are working toward a buyout with troubled big man Larry Sanders, who, if he plays, could be a boon to a contender and a potential buy-low development project going forward, given that he’s still just 25 years old and proven to be one of the best rim-protectors in the game when he’s right.
The trade deadline approaches this week. — Thursday is the trade deadline, although with so many huge deals already gone down this season, there might not be any more to be made. Still, you can bet teams are working the phones hard, and several prominent players are rumored to be super available, including Ty Lawson, Isaiah Thomas, and Brook Lopez. With so many contracts expiring before the CBA expires in 2017, there’s a chance for a lot of player movement, even if it isn’t meaningful.
DUNK OF THE WEEK: LaVine’s winner. That one defines a perfect 10.