Sunday, February 18, 2007

All Star Snooze

Well, usually I try to write something with a little bit of substance (if a sports blog can have substance), but the only thing on this weekend was the All-Star game, so I'll write about that instead.

How about this: Dirk, KG, and Duncan as a starting front line. I would wager that's the best three power forwards to take the court at the same time since Bird, Barkley, and Malone played on the USA Dream Team in 1992 (although Chuck Daly might not have ever played those three simultaneously). And . . . D'Antoni played them 16, 15, and 14 minutes, making them three of the four least-used players on the West squad.

Incidentally, Mike D'Antoni's first substitution? Shawn Marion for Dirk Nowitzki, four minutes into the game. I wonder if Dirk stared D'Antoni down as he walked to the bench. If it was me, I'd have been furious.

Not that any of that's surprising, or even wrong. Neither Dirk nor Duncan is particular well-suited for All-Star games –– they're all substance and no style, and there were plenty of other guys on the court who had both. They showed a clip of Duncan and Parker on the bench, where Parker asked, "Did my alley-oop pass surprise you?" Duncan answered, "No, I just can't jump."

Needless to say, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion thrived in this game, combining for 47 points and 17 rebounds on 23/37 shooting. For all the griping about Phoenix getting more All-Stars than Dallas, Amare and Shawn are the kind of guys that this game's all about. Maybe Howard will be some day. Dirk, though he really has to be put on the team for the sake of the game's credibility, doesn't quite fit in.

Overall, the game was pretty dull for a Mavericks fan, and I'm guessing it will continue to be for a long time. It's unlikely Dirk will ever take an MVP, unless he just happens to hit every shot some year.

Anyone want to weigh in on whether it was an injustice (if there can be such a thing as an "injustice" in an All-Star game) for D'Antoni to give so few minutes to 3 of his starters?


Ryan B said...

Unfortunately, I missed most of the first half of the All-Star game, so I only saw about half of Dirk's 16 minutes. I do admit that Dirk is not a style guy, but the way his year is going, he deserves to play more than that. It is an "injustice" to Mavs fans who tuned in to watch the game. Also, I have a hard time arguing that Shawn Marion has that much more style than anyone else. Have you seen that nasty shot of his? I'd much rather watch Dirk's beautiful, rainbow jump shot than Marion's two hand fling. Plus, Marion's dunks aren't all that impressive either.

This All-Star game confirmed my opinion that the only All-Star game worth watching is baseball's. I didn't expect a good game, but at least if I stayed up to watch last night, I would like to have seen Dirk play more.

Can't wait to see how the Mavs do in the second half.

scoots said...

Um, I don't think Marion shot any jump-shots. He spent most of his time in the air, including a full-blown windmill dunk on a breakaway. Didn't see a lot of that from Dirk. For me, All-Star game guys are the kind of guys who are looking down through the rim when they dunk, and Marion falls in that category.

Hollinger says Dirk played mediocre, "content to let the other stars shine," which isn't entirely wrong, but he did shoot pretty often when he got the ball. It's just that Dirk's game is, you know, hitting 48% of 18-foot jumpers, and those aren't as impressive as the kinds of baskets Marion gets.

I do tend to think the starters should get pretty heavy minutes early, and then they should rotate guys in, and finally close with those who are playing the best, if the game's close. But either way, I think the starters should have played at least the first 6 minutes of each half, plus a few other minutes here and there, which would have given Duncan-KG-Dirk more minutes than they got.

I suspect one reason the minutes turned out like they did was because the West had a big lead, and it wasn't clear who the mvp would be. So I think D'Antoni wanted to leave guys like Kobe and Amare on the court to see if someone could ring up a bunch of points to earn the mvp. It was probably a good call, and probably the most satisfying for the majority of fans. Just not the fans from San Antonio, Minnesota, or Dallas.

Ryan B said...

I don't remember the windmill dunk by Marion, but I do remember a couple of nasty two-handed jump shots by him that clanked off the rim.

But I do agree that starters should get to play more than the others. Four minutes and then a substitution is ridiculous.

scoots said...

Fun fact: Phoenix has lost 5 of their last 8 games. Dallas has lost 5 of their last 49 games.

micah said...

I didn't get to see the game (no cable at my house) but I wish they would actually try and play a competive game. I think they already have all-star venues for dunking. Let's make the game an actual game.

micah said...

Has nothing to do with this post - but just saw the Dwyane Wade was injured against the rockets, left in a wheel chair and won't make the trip to dallas. Not seeing the injury, would anyone be surprised if he shows up and plays tomorrow against the mavs? He seems to me to be the king of the fake injury.

scoots said...

Wheelchair: hi-LAR-ious.

The only thing I can figure on that guy is that he really thinks he's injured all the time, and then suddenly forgets it when he has a chance at a play.

Against Dallas last year there was a play––I'm trying to remember exactly––but I think he limped away after the shot, then got back down the court to get a crazy leaping block out of nowhere.

It's infuriating, of course. He'll totally play Thursday.