All-Star Saturday Recap: 2004 Three-point Shootout,
Slam Dunk Contest, More
InsideHoops.com takes you through All-Star Saturday
night, of the 2004 NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles. These are editorial-style,
raw, unedited notes taken live as each event happens.
The evening opened with R&B singer Tamia singing Oh Canada.
Then, Anne-Marie Boskowitz, another female singer, sang a very slowed-down, dramatic
version of God Bless America.
Then, around 8:30pm ET, the Beach Boys performed, singing "California Girls."
Now, on the one hand, it does make a tiny bit of sense to have this, considering
that they're in California and in Los Angeles, near the ocean. But, on the hand
that really matters, this song and singing group don't have an NBA or basketball
vibe at all. Who is the target audience for this? Are the millions of fans around
the world doing the boogie right now in front of their television sets? I feel
like I'm about to watch a volleyball game. How about some rock, or hip-hop? Something
to get the juices flowing? This song makes me want to gently sway back and forth
and then take a nap on the sand at the beach on a sunny day. Nice, but it's not
SHOOTING STARS COMPETITION
The Shooting Stars contest is beginning. Each team features a current NBA player,
a WNBA player and a retired former NBA player.
San Antonio: Manu Ginobili, Jennifer Azzi and Steve Kerr.
LA Clippers: Marko Jaric, Nikki Teasley and Terry Cummings.
Detroit: Chauncey Billups, Cheryl Ford and John Salley.
LA Lakers: Derek Fisher, Lisa Leslie and Magic Johnson.
The teams shoot from six different locations of increased difficulty. Teams cannot
advance to the next spot on the floor until the previous shot has been made. The
players must hit one shot from five locations, then they all run to half-court
to hit a shot from there to end it. Each player does not have to hit from each
spot. Once one player hits a shot from a spot, that spot is done. This event is
San Antonio's team did pretty well. Jennifer Azzi was the one to nail the half-court
shot. The team finished in 46.0 seconds.
The LA Clippers team did very well at the start, but took a very long time to
hit the half-court shot. Marko Jaric finally hit it. They took 49.8 seconds.
Detroit is up. John Salley humiliated himself by taking forever to hit an outside
shot from the left elbow. He lost it for them. Yet, amazingly, after he finally
hit it from that spot, Salley quickly nailed the half-court shot. But Detroit's
time was awful: 1 minute, 5 seconds.
Lisa Leslie took four tries to make an easy 7-foot bank shot. But the team rolled,
and Derek Fisher nailed the half-court shot. The LA Lakers team finished with
the best time.
2004 Shooting Stars winners: LA Lakers team.
This event was better than 2-ball, thanks to the half-court shot. All non-pro
recreational basketball players have taken half-court shots in playgrounds, for
the fun of it. It's cool to watch professionals do it. InsideHoops.com suggests
they drop all the other shots and just make this competition a half-court shooting
competition. Whoever makes the most shots from that distance in one minute wins,
Players are timed. They run, shoot layups, dribble around some obstacles, pass
the ball into some targets, and shoot some other shots. This event has two rounds.
Baron Davis (New Orleans Hornets)
Stephon Marbury (New York Knicks)
Earl Boykins (Denver Nuggets)
Derek Fisher (Los Angeles Lakers)
Fisher replaced Gary Payton. This is his second event in a row, now. He may have
an advantage, having been warmed up in the first event.
Baron Davis went first and did extremely well, finishing in 28.7 seconds.
Next up was Stephon Marbury, who missed a few shots, still did fine but overall
just went at a slower pace than Davis. His time was 36.4 seconds.
Lil Earl Boykins, standing 5'5" tall, was third. He's dribbling faster than anyone
and is flying pretty fast. But missing two shots from the top of the key and a
bounce-pass into a target slowed him down. But he still beat Marbury, finishing
in 34.9 seconds.
And now, Derek Fisher. He did extremely well, barely missing anything, and finished
second out of the four competitors.
Second Round (championship round): Derek Fisher against
Fisher was slower this time, getting 37.6 seconds.
Will Smith, who has not stopped smiling in about twelve years, is in the front
Davis flies through it, finishing with a dunk even though a simple layup is all
that was required.
2004 Skills Challenge winner: Baron Davis
Ray Allen is sitting next to R&B singer Usher in the front row. Usher has made
sure that his baseball hat is tilted at an angle on his head. This is important
information that I feel needed to be shared with you. Because it's important to
have your baseball hat sit correctly.
Does Craig Sager know that his suits look the way that they do? Today he's in
AND NOW, A MUSICAL PERFORMANCE
Big Ruben, the winner of American Idol 2003, came out to sing a song that, like
the Beach Boys, has absolutely nothing to do with basketball. It's an extremely slow song, for Valentine's Day. Which is nice, because it is Valentine's
Day, but this is a basketball event. Ruben is a truly great singer, but this
is a song for slow-dancing with a significant other, not for hoops.
This is the 18th year of the three-point shooting competition.
The InsideHoops.com all-time favorite will always be Larry Bird. The finger up on the money-ball before the shot even went in, to win it - timeless.
Defending champion Peja Stojakovic had won it two years in a row. The only players
to win it three years in row are Larry Bird and Craig Hodges. Peja wants to join
Vlade Divac is watching up close, rooting for his teammate,
Peja Stojakovic. "Vlade gets the 5-o'clock shadow four times a day, comments
a fan in InsideHoops.com NBA chat.
Shooters have 25 shots - that's five shots from five different
three-point range positions. The first four shots at each position are worth one
point. The fifth shot at each position, known as the "money-ball," is
worth two points.
Voshon Lenard (Denver Nuggets)
Peja Stojakovic (Sacramento Kings)
Chauney Billups (Detroit Pistons)
Kyle Korver (Philadelphia 76ers)
Rashard Lewis (Seattle Sonics)
Cuttino Mobley (Houston Rockets)
The competition begins:
Cuttino Mobley was hot from the top of the key but nowhere else, finishing with
Kyle Korver started badly but got smoking hot, pouring in nine of his final ten
shots, getting 19 points.
Chauncey Billups was weak from start to finish, racking up just 12 points.
Voshon Lenard started hot, cooled down slightly but remained steady, finishing
Rashard Lewis needs 13 to avoid elimination. He has a very long release, jumping
pretty far forward with each shot. Although he failed to get the last shot off,
Lewis was strong, getting 16.
Defending champion Peja Stojakovic (he's a flame thrower!) is up. "He's not going
to make it to the next round," predicts Charles Barkley. Peja started hot, kept
it going, got even hotter, and went insane at the end, hitting all five from the
corner. Peja finished with an awesome 21 points.
Three-point shootout finals: Stojakovic, Lenard, Korver.
Voshon Lenard went first in the finals. He started decently
enough, got tired, yet hit all five money-balls, finishing with 18 points.
Kyle Korver was next, starting strong, fell off, picked
it up a little but remained off, finishing with 15 points.
Peja Stojakovic started decently, got red-ht towards the
middle, struggled a bit, needed to hit all five of his final shots but hit just
four, missing the money-ball that would have tied him with Lenard. Peja finished
Voshon Lenard wins the 2004 NBA three-point shootout.
A MUSICAL PERFORMANCE
Nona Gaye, daughter of the late legendary singer Marvin
Gaye, is singing. A videotape of a singing Marvin is shown, while Nona, singing live, accompanies her videotaped father. It's a slowed-down version of the Star Spangled Banner. Although this performance, like all the others, has no basketball vibe to it at all, it is the Star Spangled Banner, plus Marvin Gaye was great, and the idea behind this duet is really cool. So, InsideHoops.com approves.
NBA SLAM DUNK CONTEST
And now, what's considered by many to be the true highlight
of the evening, the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Only now, instead of Michael Jordan,
you have Jason Richardson, and instead of Dominique Wilkins, you have Ricky Davis.
Still, the dunk contest always fun to watch. InsideHoops.com insists that no matter what, the dunk-contest is a must-see.
Jason Richardson is the NBA slam dunk champion for two
years in a row. He's going this year for his third consecutive win, which has
never been done in this contest.
Ricky Davis (Boston Celtics)
Chris Anderson (Denver Nuggets)
Fred Jones (Indiana Pacers)
Jason Richardson (Golden State Warriors).
And now, the competition:
First dunk, round one:
Ricky Davis throws it off the glass, catches, twists in
the air but misses the dunk. His second dunk, a replacement for the miss, was
a pretty sweet 360. He pulled the ball way down before bringing it up. His first
dunk score was 45.
Chris Anderson, a 6-10 white guy with wild, crazily-spiked
hair, drove, held it with two hands, and threw down a 180. "That hair freaked
the judges out," comments a fan. His first dunk score was 42.
Fred Jones threw the ball high, let it bounce, ran, jumped,
caught it with one hand in mid-air and threw it down nicely. His first dunk score
was a perfect 50.
Jason Richardson went out of bounds near the left side
of the basket, ran in-bounds, coming at the rim sideways, and threw down a nice
one-handed windmill. His first dunk score was 45.
Second dunk, round one:
Ricky Davis drove right baseline, jumped, pulled the ball
through his legs in mid-air but missed. He's done.
Chris Anderson, starting in three-point range a bit to
the left of the top of the key, threw the ball off the backboard, jumped high,
caught it with two hands and threw it down in straightforward fashion. He got
Fred Jones drove from the right elbow, jumped, swung the
ball around and pulled it into a 180. He got a 42.
Jason Richardson He threw it off the glass, drove down
the middle, caught it, somehow managed to pull the ball between his legs in mid
air, and threw it down with one hand. It was awesome. He got a perfect 50.
The 2004 NBA slam dunk championship is Jason Richardson
vs. Fred Jones.
First dunk, round two (championship round):
Fred Jones, starting in three-point range at the right
elbow, threw the ball up high, let it bounce, jumped, appeared to be too far from
the rim to throw it down, yet caught it with one hand, twisted in the air and
threw it down. It was great. His score was a perfect 50.
Jason Richardson, also starting in three-point range at
the right elbow, threw the ball up high, and appeared to be trying to do the same
dunk Jones did, only with the added twist of pulling it through his legs. But
he missed his first attempt. Richardson tried it again, but missed again, only
because he didn't hit the rim, he got another chance. Again he tried, and again
he totally missed - yet missed the rim completely so he got another chance. This
time he drove right down the middle and threw down a pretty nice but unspectacular 360.
Fred Jones threw the ball to a friend in the stands. The
guy is a few rows back. He threw a lob, but Jones missed it, hitting the rim so
it counts as a miss. They tried it again and the ball accidently bounced in like
a layup. Unfortunately, if it hits the rim or goes in, it counts as a dunk. Weak.
Jason Richardson needs a 42 to win the competition. He
started in thtree-point range at the left elbow, threw the ball up, jumped to
catch it and throw it down, hit the rim but missed. He can't replace it and got
a low score.
An unspectular ending to what was a pretty good dunk competition, featuring a truly amazing dunk by Richardson early on.
The final round score was Jones 86 Richardson 78.
Your 2004 NBA Slam Dunk champion is Fred Jones.
Raw, unedited, live InsideHoops.com notes