Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
I can say with relatively certainty that you probably won’t remember who won the 2015 NBA All-Star Game years from now (West 163, East 158 for the record). The game did set a few records, most notably the records for most combined points scored and most three-pointers made. But still, these games aren’t the basketball games we find ourselves reminiscing about further on up the road. That being said, there were plenty of great moments at this year’s game along with a few less-than-memorable ones as well. Here are the top five moments from the 2015 All-Star Game and a few that weren’t so great.
1. LeBron Goes Off
When someone first mentioned to me that LeBron may “go off” because the All-Star Game record for total points was within his grasp I kind of chuckled. ‘Does LeBron really care about a record as trivial and meaningless as total points scored all-time in the All-Star Game?’ Well, the man answered the question within the first few minutes of the game as he quickly had scored 10 points within the opening quarter. LeBron finished with 30 points and moved into second place all-time on the total points list, meaning he’ll have to wait until next year to take over the top spot from Kobe Bryant who leads him by a mere three points. James also showed off a little bit, with some great dunks and a few long-range threes to go along with them.
2. Russell Westbrook’s 41 Points
Russell Westbrook just started upchucking threes early on in the second quarter and he was making it rain inside of Madison Square Garden. He hardly slowed down after that and his entire All-Star Game MVP performance was pretty impressive. Westbrook set an All-Star Game record with 27 points in the first half and as is par for the course, he did it by shooting a lot. Westbrook finished with 28 shot attempts and scored 41 points, only one shy of tying the record set by Wilt Chamberlain. Westbrook definitely put on a show and connected on some beautiful dunks as well, which he should be grateful for because we’ll just disregard the one that he completely botched. But don’t count on seeing him in next year’s Slam Dunk Contest.
3. Dirk Dunks
It’s not too often that you see the big German get up over the rim but Dirk Nowitzki did just that in what might just be his final All-Star Game ever. Nowitzki actually looked pretty good doing it too considering he isn’t exactly known as a “dunker” and it can safely be assumed that he didn’t practice for the occasion. Still, it was nice to see Dirk let loose and have some fun, because that’s really what this game is all about.https://twitter.com/MySportsLegion/status/567150258439086080
4. Stephen Curry
It serves John Wall right for not playing more stout defense on Steph Curry. Curry made him look a little bit silly early in the game with a behind-the-back move and was all over the court in the early going. Curry finished with 15 points and the three-point king was 3-8 from downtown. Oh, and he did this with James Harden. Talk about nasty stuff.https://twitter.com/FanSidedGIF/status/567140765823152130
5. Pau and Marc Gasol
Pau and Marc Gasol became the first brothers to ever start opposite each other in the NBA All-Star Game. While the Gasol boys pretty much let the show-stopping play makers run amok during the actual game, the brothers’ embrace during introductions and their opening tip-off against one another were nice moments.
If this was Carmelo Anthony’s final game of the season it was an extremely disappointing one. Anthony wasn’t even the best number seven on his own team as Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors claimed that title. Anthony missed wide open threes and didn’t do anything to separate himself from the rest of the crowd even though the game was being held in his own backyard. He came alive a little bit at the end but not exactly the best showing for one of the most prolific scorers of the last decade.
The entire opening ceremony of the All-Star Game was a rousing one. The special effects were fantastic, the national anthems were majestic, heck even the little kids dancing managed to induce a smile. The issue came when the players were introduced to the usually ravenous Madison Square Garden crowd. Call me a conspiracy theorist all you want but you expect me to believe that the crowd at the Garden didn’t overtly boo any player that was introduced? All I heard was the same lukewarm cheer for everyone and after a while it sounded like canned laughter off a bad sitcom. It might be too early to start talking #cheergate, but something isn’t right if I can’t hear any boos for LeBron James or Dwayne Wade. Just saying.
LeBron’s Air Ball
LeBron had a pretty successful All-Star Game. He suspassed Michael Jordan and is second all-time in scoring in All-Star Game history, but there’s no excusing this shot. Even the unusually tame Madison Square Garden crowd peppered James with a few chants of “air ball.”
Nice try there, LeBron.https://t.co/27s25nCoEP— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) February 16, 2015
There might have been a missed dunk too…
But not even LeBron James makes every dunk (via @FanSidedGIF) https://t.co/EeRKtsI2gx— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 16, 2015