In a sense, NBA All-Star Weekend is nothing more than simply a few exhibition contests. Such a weekend is an entertaining one for the fans, but as one recognizes this, it’s also important to realize there’s a bigger picture in view for just about any all-star or key player and their respective teams. Not getting hurt becomes a majority priority.
Still it’s nevertheless nice to have notable representation. Frankly, the better a team does and the more they succeed on the basketball court, the more representation they’ll have throughout the weekend–not simply in the big game, but in all of the other contests as well.
In a big market like New York City, it’s undoubtedly important for the team to have national recognition. The Big Apple commands it. Luckily for the Knicks, with their most successful start in quite a few seasons, the team sent four players to Houston to take part in the bevy of festivities. There were undeniably quite a few highs and low points, so let’s take a look at how the weekend went for the talented foursome.
Carmelo Anthony, NBA All-Star Game
In a game that separates the men from the boys, it’s completely evident that the Knicks not only have one of the better players in the league, but a clutch closer at that. Anthony went on to lead the Eastern Conference in points, rebounds, and free throws. What’s more, he was looked upon to hit a couple of key shots late in the game that helped his team hang on a bit before suffering the loss. In a game that featured LeBron James and Kobe Bryant battling back and forth as the contest came to a close, Anthony managed to stand out as well. That’s something that should make New York feel confident in the star as they head towards the postseason.
Anthony has emerged as one of the league’s elite players over the last two seasons or so. Thus, this may be the year for him to make some noise in the playoffs.
Tyson Chandler, NBA All-Star Game
Participating in his first All-Star Game, Chandler tied former big man Vlade Divac as the longest tenured player to make his first appearance after playing in the league for so long.
Coming off the bench, it may have proved hard for Chandler to make an impact because such a game doesn’t feature much defense at all. Still, the Knicks center impressed by crashing the boards. Fed passes by the East’s bevy of skilled point guards, Chandler held his own this weekend by adding 7 points and grabbing 8 rebounds.
James White, Sprite Slam Dunk Contest
The NBA’s “Sprite Slam Dunk Contest” has fallen far from grace in most recent years, but the man that Carmelo Anthony called “the league’s best kept secret” was prepared to help it return to prominence a bit.
Unfortunately for James White (and the likes of Gerald Green and Eric Bledsoe, to name a couple other letdowns) and company, they fell way short of the mark. The contest is now clouded with an unlimited number of potential attempts for a single dunk, but what made things even worse was the fact that despite all those attempts, White failed to throw down a dunk in his second opportunity in the first round. He packed his bags without a trophy, much to the display of Knicks fans.
Nevertheless, White did have quite a moment with regard to his first dunk. Slamming home a two-handed dunk after taking flight from just inside the free-throw line, the swingman deserved much more than the awarded 45 points he was given. Perhaps if he was given a higher score, that may have changed things later on as far as his mentality went. We’ll never know.
Steve Novak, Three-Point Contest
Sharpshooting Steve Novak finally got his oh so coveted chance to compete in the NBA’s Three-Point Contest. Though his impact hasn’t been felt by the Knicks as much this season, the fact is that the forward’s percentages are still high. He deserved the opportunity.
That said, it’s unfortunate that he fell victim to circumstance during the contest. Should the NBA have stayed with its traditional format for the contest, Novak’s 17 points in the first round (which ranked as the third highest score overall) would have been enough to advance him to the next round. Instead, the new East/West rivalry to the competitions made the veteran’s score just not enough to advance. He came in second in the East to Kyrie Irving.