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Category: NBA All-Star Game

NBA All-Star game chatter: Chis Bosh on the Lakers

Bosh_250 We seriously doubt Chris Bosh was playing to the L.A. media -- after all, who could see anyone's press credentials in the crazy media scrum after Saturday's All-Star practice?

But the Heat star didn't need much time when he was asked about the most dangerous threat in the Western Conference.

"The Lakers. They have the experience," he said. "They've been there forever. They have Kobe [Bryant]. They're kind of down right now because they've had a couple of bad losses and people are starting to write them off. When people do that, that kind of gives teams motivation.

"They know they just have to make it to June. They'll always be a contender. So I think they're the most dangerous. Everybody is going to go through slumps.

"I know, with us, it was magnified. Just like with the Lakers, it's magnified right now. And they're going to have to get past that. They have a lot of vets and it's not the first time they've been in a situation like that."

He spoke about the state of the Heat.

"I think we're in a better position than I anticipated as far as our record. But there's been ups and downs. That's normal," Bosh said. "I think we all expected that. We didn't expect a slow start. But it's not surprising. I think it was the best thing for the team. . . .

"We know through criticisms and all those things, that does nothing but help us at the end of the day. It makes you stronger. So we just keep that in mind."

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Chris Bosh is surrounded by media before practicing Saturday at Staples Center with the East All-Star team. Credit: John G. Mabanglo / EPA

NBA All-Star weekend: Rookies 148, Sophomores 140 (final)

All-star1_510 The Rookies defeated the Sophomores, 148-140, in a dunks-filled Rookie Challenge contest at Staples Center on Friday night.

Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins led the Rookies with 33 points, while Wizards guard John Wall handed out 22 assists. Wall was selected the game's most valuable player.

The Thunder's James Harden led the Sophomores with 30 points.

Clippers rookie star Blake Griffin finished with seven dunks in the game, including five in a seven-minute span in the second half. But with three minutes to go in the game a "We Want Blake!" chant swept Staples Center as Griffin was on the bench. Despite the pleas, he did not return to the game.

Griffin's most impressive dunk came after a Wall bounce pass that rose to the top of the backboard and Griffin grabbed on the way down before finishing with a right-handed slam. Griffin, who played only 13 minutes in the 40-minute game, scored his 14 points on dunks.

Griffin will compete in Saturday's slam contest and will play in Sunday's All-Star game. He was the only rookie to make the All-Star squad.

--Barry Stavro

Photo: Wizards guard John Wall and Clippers forward Blake Griffin share a laugh during the Rookies-Sophomores game on Frida night at Staples Center. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press

NBA All-Star weekend: Rookies 71, Sophomores 69 at halftime

Griffin_300 Blake Griffin scored four points on a pair of dunks, but he only played six minutes in the first half of the NBA-All Star Rookies-Sophomores game that was leisurely played in front of a rather tepid Staples Center crowd.

Timberwolves guard Wesley Johnson led the Rookies with 16 points. The Raptors' DeMar DeRozan and the Spurs' DeJuan Blair each had 14 points for the Sophomores. 

Griffin, the Clippers' rookie star, got the biggest ovation when he was introduced. He missed his first two outside shots before getting two dunks after passes from Wizards guard John Wall.

Staples Center was only half full at tip-off and there were only a few plays that triggered a big response from the fans.

Blair had the most impressive dunk, as he caught his own pass off the backboard before slamming it.

--Barry Stavro

Clippers power forward Blake Griffin soars for one of his two dunks in the first half of the Rookies-Sophomores game on Friday night at Staples Center. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

NBA stars and owners talk labor contract

Nba.logo_100 Nearly two dozen NBA players had a closed door meeting Friday afternoon with team owners and Commissioner David Stern in Beverly Hills to discuss a new labor contract. The current collective bargaining agreement expires after this season.

After the meeting Lakers owner Jerry Buss said, "It went pretty much as you would imagine. Both sides basically said they were very much interested in reaching an agreement."

But Stern, when asked how the meeting went, rolled his eyes and replied, "Oh, just great."

LeBron James, Pau Gasol, Dwyane Wade, Derek Fisher and Chris Paul were among the players in attendance.

--Broderick Turner

NBA All-Star game chatter from LeBron James, Blake Griffin, Carmelo Anthony ...

Wondering if this year's NHL All-Star game format, in which the two teams were drafted by captains from the pool of players selected to participate, would work in the NBA ...

Not sure whether it would fly, but the selection show would certainly be must-see TV. Who would be the captains? And who would be the first player picked, the final player selected and the most upset powerful player agent?

LeBron James of the Miami Heat did not think it would be doable, but for a different reason: dislike.

"No, because Eastern Conference, Western Conference, we don't like each other," he said. "We would not pick somebody from the Western Conference to be over here to be with us and I don't think they would, either. I don't think it would work."

Said teammate Dwyane Wade: "It would be interesting, to say the least; let me say that. I don't know how fun it would be, but it would be very interesting. You can look on our team and you have to say, on one side, you like [Kevin] Garnett and the other side, Kobe [Bryant]. These guys have the most years, I believe, right?

"And then Garnett is going to pick all his teammates, and he's going to pick none of the Heat. So it will be all mixed up."

The Clippers'  Blake Griffin wasn't so sure about a change in the format but knew whom he would pick first: "Baron [Davis]."

After all, the man does know where the alley-oops are coming from.

There was some fun back-and-forth between Griffin and Carmelo Anthony on the bus ride over for media availability. Actually, it went one way with Anthony teasing Griffin.

Griffin retold the story, smiling: "On the bus today, Melo was saying I've gotta stop being angry at the rim."

-- Lisa Dillman

NBA All-Star game: Celtics' Paul Pierce a little hazy on that fact-from-fiction thing

Maybe the Utah Jazz, who could be in the market for a new coach, can hire Gene Hackman?

The Boston Cetlics’ Paul Pierce was asked to name his favorite basketball documentary growing up.

“A lot of people are sold on ‘Hoosiers’ ” Pierce said.

Holy Jimmy Chitwood! That was real?

Maybe the Celtics can run the "picket fence" for Paul.

--Chris Foster

NBA All-Star game: Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich immune to Bieber fever

San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich turned music critic during Friday's media gathering at  NBA All-Star weekend.

Asked "what does it mean at the celebrity game, Justin Bieber is going to be with with us [in the celebrity game]," Popovich said, "It would be disingenuous of me if I told you how excited I was to see Justin."

--Chris Foster

Dennis Rodman, Jamaal Wilkes among 12 finalists for Basketball Hall of Fame

Rebounding wizard Dennis Rodman, former Lakers star Jamaal Wilkes and former Lakers assistant coach Tex Winter made the list of 12 finalists announced Friday for the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Rodman won championships with the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons, while Wilkes won titles with the Showtime-era Lakers.

Other finalists are Maurice Cheeks, Chris Mullen, Ralph Sampson, former Olympian Teresa Edwards, Stanford women's Coach Tara VanDerveer, longtime NBA coach Dick Motta, Philadelphia University Coach Herb Magee, college referee Hank Nichols and former Warriors star Al Attles.

Those selected for the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., will be announced on April 3.

-- Barry Stavro

Blake Griffin dedicates All-Star weekend to his late high school friend

Holloway_300 Clippers rookie Blake Griffin said Friday he was dedicating his All-Star weekend to his late friend Wilson Holloway.

Holloway passed away Wednesday due to complications of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Griffin learned of the news immediately after the Clippers’ win at Minnesota. They were high school teammates and Griffin said they had known each other since about age 12.

“He’s just one of those guys that was always positive and always a great guy,” said a teary-eyed Griffin, speaking at a press conference for the NBA All-Star Game. “To see him go through what he did and keep smiling and keep staying positive about it was an inspiration to a lot of people.  I’m definitely going to miss him. But I know he’s in a better place right now.”

Griffin also said he will leave after the All-Star game late Sunday night to return to Oklahoma City to attend Holloway’s funeral, which is Monday afternoon. The Clippers play at Oklahoma City Tuesday.

Their bond went beyond high school days. Holloway had been fighting the illness for almost three years.

“He watched almost every single one of my games,” Griffin said. “He was at home a lot, or in the hospital a lot. I know he would have been watching and also the next time I was going to see him would have been Monday when we go to Oklahoma City to play them.“It’s just crazy how it happens. I’m just thankful for the opportunity to be able to do this and hopefully dedicate some of this to him.”

Griffin was distraught after he got the phone call Wednesday night, and said he has been speaking to Holloway’s family members and Holloway’s girlfriend.

“They’ve been together for four-plus years. I’ve talked to her a lot," Griffin said. "Everyone, obviously, is deeply upset. At the same time, he wouldn’t want anybody to feel sorry for him. He wouldn’t want anybody to be upset about it. He’s better now – he’s not hurting and all that.”


Blake Griffin, mourning friend's death, keeps up All-Star schedule

-- Lisa Dillman

 Photo: Wilson Holloway. Credit: University of Tulsa Athletic Department / Associated Press

NBA All-Star: Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe predicts a rookie win in Friday's Rookie-Sophomore game

Bledsoe_425 Yes, Friday night's Rookie-Sophomore game -- like any All-Star-type game -- doesn't rank all that high in terms of competitive spirit, fundamentals or strategy.

You're more likely to see players jog than run hard, play free-spritied rather than execute specific plays, or focus on offense only, leaving defense for another day.

They're on break, after all: The All-Star Break.

So, with that context now well understood, you can take what Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe said after the rookie practice Friday morning at the Los Angeles Convention Center with a pound of salt.

"The sophomores look good," he said, "but we're going to come out with a win."

Stop the presses.

That's guarantee-esque language right there, the kind usually worthy of a back-page headline in the New York tabloids. 

If only the game meant something and the players treated it that way...

The rookie team actually won last year for the first time since 2002, proving that experience doesn't always win, which is what the sophomore team was making us all believe.

Bledsoe did give his prediction for what we can expect from his team during the game.

"A whole lot of dunks, especially when we have Blake (Griffin), John (Wall), Wes (Johnson) and me," Bledsoe said. "You're just going to see a whole lot of alley-oops." 

For the fans, that should be fun, though dunks are usually to be expected. The only difference this year is that Griffin is one of the most incredible dunkers in quite some time, and that he's playing guards, such as John Wall, who are uber-athletic and pinpoint passers. 

Which means ... Bledsoe is right. Friday night's game should be full of dunks ... i.e. exciting. 

And the rookies might come out with a win too, at least according to Bulls forward Taj Gibson, a former USC star, who said this game will be tougher than last season because "of the lack of bigs we have and the bigs they have." 

By "bigs they have," Gibson means Griffin. 

-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: Eric Bledsoe drives past Cleveland point guard Mo Williams. Credit: Jason Miller / US Presswire

NBA All-Star Game: One of Derrick Rose's former AAU teammates uses his military leave from Kuwait to come see Rose play

Rose_300 Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose has said he knows he'll have about 20 family members in Los Angeles this weekend to attend the NBA All-Star Game festivites.

But one person Rose doesn't know is here is one of his former AAU teammates who is on military leave from Kuwait and is using his first trip back to the U.S. to come to L.A. and hopefully see Rose play. 

Claude Mitchell, 23, is from Chicago's West Side and played alongside Rose for two years. Mitchell is now a sergeant in the Army and has been stationed in Kuwait for the last five months.

He is in the U.S. on a two-week break. He spent the first week in Chicago and then, along with four members from his unit in Kuwait and his younger brother, who is stationed at a Navy base in California, decided to make his first-ever trip to L.A. for NBA All-Star weekend.  

"We're trying to go to the games, but the tickets are super over-priced, so we're just enjoying everything else," Mitchell said, sporting a White Sox baseball cap as he sat in a Starbucks at L.A. Live on Friday morning, watching highlights of Rose on his laptop computer.   

Mitchell will return to Kuwait on Tuesday, where he'll be stationed for about the next six months. 

Mitchell said he lost contact with Rose after their AAU days and that Rose doesn't know he's here, but Mitchell said he remembers Rose's play well.

"The same as he is now -- explosive, very driven, focused, gets the job done," Mitchell said.

Mitchell, who said he was more of a "high flyer" -- standing about 5-foot-9, he did add that he had a 40-inch vertical leap -- has strong basketball ties to Chicago. One of his cousins is Northwestern senior guard Michael Thompson, another Chicago native, who is second on the Wildcats in scoring (14.5).  

Rose, who scored a career-high 42 points in the Bulls' 109-99 win against San Antonio on Thursday night, is slated to start in Sunday night's All-Star Game, becoming the first Bulls player to start in an All-Star Game since Michael Jordan did so in 1998.

Rose is also scheduled to compete in Saturday night's Skills Challenge, an event he won in his rookie season in Phoenix.

-- Baxter Holmes

Photo: Derrick Rose. Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki / US Presswire


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