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The Western Conference took control of the NBA All-Star Game Sunday night in Orlando, but had to hang on late as the East made a dramatic comeback. In the end, the West held on for a 152-149 victory in Orlando after holding a big lead for most of the night.
Kevin Durant took home MVP honors with 36 points for the West.
The Eastern Conference trailed by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter, but thanks to Lebron James and Dwyane Wade the East was able to get as close as a single point on two Wade free throws with 22 seconds left. Kobe Bryant then missed the second of two free throws to put the West in front only 151-149 with 18 seconds left.
That gave the East a chance to tie or take the lead, but Deron Williams missed a three-pointer and James threw the ball away with a second left after Williams rebounded his miss. Wade missed a three at the buzzer after Blake Griffin hit a final free throw.
Kevin Love had a very successful All-Star game as the representative for the Timberwolves. He would finish with 17 points and seven rebounds for the West.
The Western Conference All-Stars blitzed the East for 49 points in the second quarter of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando. That allowed them to cruise to an 88-69 lead int he annual event, and the West appears to be headed for a record scoring total so far.
The Western Conference scored a record 155 points in the 2003 All-Star Game, but that took two overtime. Twice in regulation (1987 and 1984) a team reached 154 points, but those games also went to overtime. Kevin Durant leads the West with 21 points, while Dwyane Wade has 14 to lead the East.
Minnesota Timberwolves representative Kevin Love has played very well in this event. He already has nine points and four rebounds to go with a pair of steals in a game where defense is clearly optional. So far the West All-Stars have put four players in double figures, with Russell Westbrook has 17.
The Minnesota Timberwolves were well-represented at the NBA's annual All-Star weekend, but it'll all come to a close when 2012's rendition of the All-Star game is played on Sunday night. It'll be interesting to see if Kevin Love can follow up his three-point shooting championship from Saturday night with a solid performance among fellow all-stars.
Love played just 11 minutes in last year's game, compiling four rebounds and making just one of his three shot attempts after being a late replacement for Yao Ming. The phenomenal rebounder will come off the bench again this year, but hopefully he'll play a bigger role on the West roster this season.
The other big men on the West roster include Blake Griffin, Andrew Bynum, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki. Love's guards will be Tony Parker, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and college teammate Russell Westbrook while Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant man the wing.
The game will tip-off Sunday night at 6:30 p.m. on TNT.
Kevin Love had the worst odds to win Saturday night's NBA Three-Point Contest, but the Minnesota Timberwolves big man showed that the underdogs are sometimes able to come out on top. Love needed to win a tie-breaker and then defeat sharpshooter Kevin Durant in the final round to be able to claim victory and, surprisingly, that's exactly what he did.
Love assured everyone at the post-contest press conference, however, that he's not going to give up on being a post player.
"At the end of the day," Love said, according to NBA.com's event recap, "I'm an inside guy. If I'm not drawing enough blood, I'm not doing my job."
He also gave credit to Wolves assistant Terry Porter, a fitting tribute to the coaching staff that has helped Love round his game to this point.
"That doesn't mean I'm going to start throwing up 3s the rest of the season. I'm not going to let this go to my head in that respect. But this shows how much work I put in with Terry Porter (Wolves assistant coach) who finished runner-up twice in this contest. This is for him. I was the darkhorse in that competition if you consider a few of the guys in particular. Once I saw that (Durant) was added to the competition, I thought, 'oh, no.' He's the type of guy who can get hot."
Instead it was Love who got hot, as the video below will show:
Derrick Williams fell short in the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Saturday night at the Amway Center in Orlando. After Kevin Love triumphed in the Three-Point Contest, the Minnesota Timberwolves fans were hoping for Williams to complete the sweep of All-Star Saturday. Instead, Jeremy Evans of the Utah Jazz won the event with 29% of the fan vote.
Evans' best dunk came in the second round when he completed a two-ball alley-oop dunk. He was late addition to the field after the Knicks' Iman Shumpert had to drop out of the competition due to injury.
Williams, meanwhile, will be remembered more for the dunks he missed than the ones he made. On his final dunk, Williams failed to complete an off-the-backboard, between-the-legs slam more than 10 times before he gave up and switched course. Here's a montage of Williams' failed dunk attempts:
Rubio threw the basketball off of the side of the backboard and, after several missed attempts, Williams completed a 360-degree spin-move dunk. Rubio, ranked fifth in the league in assists per game with 8.5, threw Williams some great passes off the side of the backboard.
The dunk was impressive, but the misses took some luster off the dunk when Williams finally completed it. Check out the video of Williams' second-round dunk and the alley-oop pass from Ricky Rubio. Make sure to check back in a few minutes for the results and Williams' final dunk.
Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves dunked over a motorcycle in the first round of the 2012 NBA Dunk Contest. Williams placed the motorcycle in the restricted-arc and did a windmill dunk while he jumped over the bike.
Williams is expected to use teammate and passing rookie sensation Ricky Rubio in one of his dunks tonight as a passer. His dunk received the second loudest ovation of the round, following the dunk by the Indiana Pacers Paul George. Check out the video of Williams dunk and vote for the best dunker. For the first time, voting can be done on Twitter and fan voting will determine the event's winner.
Be sure to check back for the rest of Williams' dunks throughout the night.
Love, a 35% three-point shooter for the season, opened the competition with a score of 18, which was good enough to get him into a tiebreaker with Miami Heat guard Mario Chalmers for the right to advance to three-man final round. Love then scored 5 points in a 24-second shootout, moving into the finals with Durant and Miami Heat forward James Jones, the reigning champion.
Love shot first in the final round, posting a score of 16, which Durant then matched. Jones shot last, but only mustered a score of 14, which set up a final tiebreaker between Love and Durant. In the final tiebreaker, a full 60-second round, Love again went first, connecting for 17 points. Durant, a three-to-one favorite to win the event, scored a 15, missing four of the five money balls, including the last shot, which cemented Love's win.
The NBA Three-Point Contest isn't the most exciting event at All-Star weekend, but it is an event happening in Orlando on Saturday night. Minnesota Timberwolves fans have a reason to watch it, too, because power forward Kevin Love is one of the contestants (though not one of the favorites).
Three-point contests aren't typically for rebounding machines like Love, but the Wolves' All-Star has extended his game beyond the arc and the world is taking notice. Actually, the majority of fans will probably be wondering how Love got into the contest when they turn on the festivities Saturday night, but there's a good reason for him having a spot.
Love's got game:
Aside from that clutch game-winner, Love is shooting a solid 35 percent from the three-point line despite going cold as of late by making just one of 10 attempts from beyond the arc over the Wolves last three games. That may have weighed against him in the betting odds as he's currently a 6-to-1 underdog to Kevin Durant as the 3-to-1 favorite.
The event will officially tip-off at around 7:30 p.m. Central Time as part of TNT's coverage on Saturday night.
Derrick Williams didn't have the most exceptional outing to begin NBA All-Star weekend as he scored just two points in Friday night's Rising Stars Challenge. The rookie will look to change that on Saturday night, however, when the Minnesota Timberwolves forward gets his chance to take part in the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Williams has amassed just 19 dunks this season for the Wolves, but he's shown in the past that he can put the ball through the hoop with some ferociousness. If he's able to do that better than Chase Budinger, Jeremy Evans and Paul George though will be a whole 'nother ball game, however.
That said, the NBA put together a nice highlight package featuring the majority of Williams' in-game dunks this season that's worth watching to remember what to expect on Saturday night.
Considering Ricky Rubio is likely going to assist him at least once on Saturday night, there's a lot to look forward to while watching the best part of the All-Star festivities. Showtime begins around 7 p.m. on TNT.
NBA All-Star Weekend is officially underway now that Friday night's Rookie-Sophomore game, now known as the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, is in the books. The grades are out, however, and they don't favor both of the Minnesota Timberwolves that participated in the event.
Derrick Williams and the rest of Team Chuck defeated Team Shaq, headlined by fellow Wolves rookie Ricky Rubio, but ESPN's John Hollinger wasn't kind to the dunk contest participant when handing out his grades following the exhibition game (and yes, ESPN is apparently handing out grades for an exhibition game). Williams picked up a "D" for his efforts, the lowest on his team:
Had some fun banter going with Timberwolves teammate Ricky Rubio but struggled to get much of anything done on his own. Scored only two points in 18 minutes, and it seemed like he was actually trying to get some numbers.
Thankfully Rubio picked up the Wolves curve with a solid B+ (in part thanks to this highlight).
And there, readers of SB Nation Minnesota, is how one reads way too much into an exhibition game.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had two players playing the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, and since Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley each picked one of them, one Wolves players was guaranteed to be a winner. That player turned out to be Derrick Williams as Team Chuck defeated Ricky Rubio and Team Shaq in the high-scoring exhibition.
Williams started for Team Chuck, but contributed just two points and three rebounds as his team picked up the 146-133 victory. He played 18 minutes and finished with a +11 in the +/- column, though, which is always a fun statistic to consider when looking at meaningless exhibition games during the NBA's All-Star weekend.
Rubio played for Team Shaq in the game formerly known as the Rookie-Sophomore game, and as expected, he was quite impressive. The Wolves rookie scored 12 points and dished seven assists as the team's starting point guard. His most impressive play was connecting with Blake Griffin on an alley-oop and, if anyone missed it, be sure to check out the video as the setup was perhaps more impressive than the result.
NBA All-Star Weekend begins in earnest Friday night at the Amway Center in Orlando with the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, formerly known as the Rookie-Sophomore Game.
Minnesota Timberwolves rookies Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams were both selected to take part in the event. For the first time this season, the teams were chosen by team captains (TNT commentators Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal) in an alternating pick format, as opposed to being separated by class.
Rubio is playing for Team Shaq, which selected him with the fifth overall pick. Williams is on Team Chuck, after Barkley chose him with his team's fourth pick. Rubio leads all rookies in assists (8.4), while scoring 11.3 points per game and registering 2.35 steals per game. Williams is averaging just 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in 18 minutes per game.
The game will air on TNT at 9 p.m. The Timberwolves Kevin Love is competing in the main event on Sunday at 7 p.m. as well as the three-point contest on Saturday night, while Williams was also named one of four 2012 NBA Slam Dunk contestants.
The San Antonio Spurs announced on Monday that second-year center Tiago Splitter is expected to miss the next two weeks due to injury. This typically wouldn't register on the radars of the Minnesota faithful, but Splitter was supposed to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge, formerly known as the Rookie-Sophomore Game.
"It's a shame they didn't look at him," Wolves coach Rick Adelman told the Pioneer Press regarding Pekovic being snubbed. "I can understand Lin, but look around the league and see who's been doing things. Pek is a huge part of what we're doing now. As long as he keeps playing like he's playing, he'll get his due."
The 26-year-old Montenegran has only been in the starting lineup for half of the team's games this season, but those 12 games have been a thing of beauty. The 6-foot-11 center is averaging a near double-double 16.3 points and 9.9 rebounds while making better than 60 percent of his field goal attempts.
Pekovic should have been involved in the game when the candidates were originally announced, but luckily for the NBA, it now has a chance to right their wrong due to Splitter's injury. Now he shall go ... and he shall be Pek-tacular.
The NBA All-Star Game is the main event during the league's all-star weekend, but there are quite a few other events happening that weekend as well. On Thursday night, the league announced the rosters for the annual rookie-sophomore game, now renamed the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.
Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley tested their general manager skills out as they had their choice of 18 total players competing in either their first or second years of playing in the NBA. Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Ricky Rubio was selected by Shaq while fellow first-year player Derrick Williams got picked up by the Round Mound of Rebound.
The Timberwolves will be well-represented at All-Star Weekend considering Kevin Love is competing in the main event as well as the three-point contest while Williams was named one of four 2012 NBA Slam Dunk contestants.
The NBA on Thursday announced that Timberwolves rookie Derrick Williams will be among the four participants in the 2012 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. The 6-foot-8 Williams will be joined by Houston’s Chase Budinger, New York’s Iman Shumpert and Indiana’s Paul George.
Just going up at ESPN online: Dunk contest field is Budinger, Paul George, Shumpert and Derrick Williams. And, yes, Jeremy Lin involved, too— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 16, 2012
Williams, the second pick in the 2011 draft, is averaging 7.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game this season. He has started four games and is logging about 18 minutes per game. He is shooting 43 percent from the floor and 24 percent from downtown.
The Arizona product recorded a season-high 15 points on Jan. 21 against Utah. February has been a rough month for Williams, who has gone for double-figures just twice and failed to record more than six points in the last four games.
Here is a YouTube compilation of some nasty Williams dunks.
For more on the Minnesota Timberwolves, check out Canis Hoopus. You can also check out professional basketball news from around the league over at SB Nation’s NBA page.
The annual NBA All-Star Game is only one part of the festivities happening when the basketball world converges on Orlando later this month. As far as the other festivities are concerned, Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams will take part in the rookie-sophomore game, as we already knew, and now it's been made official that Kevin Love will be in the three-point contest before taking part in the actual All-Star Game.
The NBA made the announcement on Wednesday and, although Love already said he planned to participate, the players he'll be shooting against were also named in the league's press release:
Reigning champion James Jones of the Miami Heat will defend his title in this year's Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25, at Amway Center in Orlando as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night. Rounding out the field are All-Stars Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks and Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Ryan Anderson of the hometown Orlando Magic, Anthony Morrow of the New Jersey Nets, and Mario Chalmers of the Heat.
Love has made 44 of his 122 three-point attempts this season, good for 36 percent. The only player shooting with a worse percentage in the contest is Johnson with a 35.6 percent chance his threes are going into the basket thus far this season.
Kevin Love wasn't named a starter for the 2012 NBA All-Star game, but the Minnesota Timberwolves power forward is sure going to be busy when the league converges on Orlando later this month. Love was named a reserve on Thursday night and will be involved in the events surrounding the game as well, apparently, as his three-point shooting has been noticed by the rest of the league.
Love told the Star Tribune's Jerry Zgoda that he plans to participate in the NBA's annual three-point shooting contest in a story published on the newspaper's website on Friday morning. The NBA hasn't announced the official participants yet, but Love would be an interesting choice.
Love has made 42 of his 111 three-point attempts this season, but that percentage puts him as the 53rd best three-pointer shoot in the NBA this season. His position isn't one that's usually in the contest, either, as it's usually limited to backcourt contestants.
Either way, good for Love!
Kevin Love barely made the NBA All-Star game last season, having to be added as an injury replacement with Yao Ming being forced out of the contest, but it was a little bit easier for him this year. The Minnesota Timberwolves forward wasn't named a starter, but was a shoo-in as a reserve when the rosters were released on Thursday night.
Love was named one of seven reserves on the Western Conference roster, joining fellow big men Marc Gasol, LaMarcus Aldridge and Dirk Nowitzki along with guards Russell Westbrook, Steve Nash and Tony Parker. There are of course a couple of surprises in there, but Love wasn't one of them.
Love scored two points and grabbed four rebounds in last season's All-Star game. He's missed the team's past two games due to a suspension following his stepping on the face of Houston Rockets forward Luis Scola.
Ricky Rubio and Derrick Williams will both be representing the Minnesota Timberwolves at the 2012 NBA All-Star festivities. We'll find out Thursday if Kevin Love will be in the All-Star game.