12/22/12

Random thoughts on today's All-Star Game

Attended my first NBL All-Star game today. Here's some thoughts and stand memories of the day.

PRE-GAME
The whole selection process became a bit of a joke as the week wore on. Players seemed to be pulling out all over the place and in the end a few guys were very lucky to get in. When you broke the numbers down, there were 20 spots available and there's basically 80 guys in the league. Take out your bench warmers and most half-decent players had a decent shot of getting a game.

The South/North idea seemed like a good format and best suited to today's league.

Ticket prices were very fair, the only reason most serious fans wouldn't show would be related to the "Christmas factor".

Not sure why it wasn't scheduled for night, I guess to make it more "family-friendly"


ARRIVAL
The crowd was pretty small and I would have thought most people intending to come would have got there in time for the 3pt contest and dunk comp.  Would have been good if there was more activities etc on outside and inside before things kicked off.

3PT SHOOTOUT
It was a strong field and based on warmups it looked like anyone but Oscar Forman (who's shots were regularly falling short) could win.

I tipped a Weigh/Steindl final and was half-right, with Weigh getting in against Peter Crawford. I may have changed my tip though if I'd factored in one of Steindl's shots would get blocked by a boom camera AND that he wouldn't get awarded the shot, a chance to start again or at least a chance to reshoot that shot. The first real low light of the day.

Was good to see Weigh win. Has a beautiful stroke and should be given more shots in the 36ers offense (as I've been saying all year in articles like this one ).

DUNK COMP
Was pretty ho-hum early with Walker, Abercrombie and Lazare all disappointing. Hurdle was the most creative and Lewis the most pumped. I tipped a Hurdle/Lewis final resulting in a Hurdle win. Got the matchup right but Lewis got the controversial win on some sort of countback. Guess you can't argue with the judges- Mark Davis, Al Green............ and Kate Ellis. Yeh.

Hurdle had the dunk of the day, a beautiful ally off a lob pass from the stands from Adris Deleon. I was fortunate enough to have the best view of the house of it (see picture above, he was literally right next to me). Damn hard pass to make and well executed and finished. Sadly my beautiful mug didn't make it to tv, the 10 coverage just showed a ball appearing from mid-air, missing Deleon's throw. There's a fan video and a video from Cam Tragardh on my Twitter page but you can't make me and my son out. Oh well.

GAME
It became clear early South's guards (Jackson & Flynn) would be a handful and had the luxury of playing with bigs (Scott & Johnson) who are as comfortable outside as in. Flynn in particular was electric with his incredible ball handling and court vision.South managed to run up a 20 point lead quickly and held it for most of the match.

South had no passengers with all players making a contribution. Tellingly, 8 players scored in double figures for South. The North team had a few guys who wouldn't have been thrilled with their output and the end result.

Chris Goulding was a worthy MVP, but DJ, Scott and Flynn probably all came under consideration. Goulding's last few minutes got him over the line with a mix of outside shooting and the dunk of the game, a beautiful  180 off an awesome first step that created the space.

The standard was so good thanks to perhaps the best mix of point guards the league has seen in the one All-Star game. Flynn,Jackson,Ervin,Wilson and Deleon are as talented as we've seen and Gibson and Cadee certainly held their own in this format. I checked the NBL Wiki page and couldn't find a better group of point guards in the one game which made the game what it was.Surprisingly, mainly due to the various formats used, we didn't see D-Mac, Grace, Rucker etc in the one game.


Overall the game was excellent and a great showcase for the league. I'll be at the next one.

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