Patrick Beverley Rubs My Nose in It, and 6 Other Observations From NBA All-Star Weekend
Let's face it, the second full season as the starting point guard for the Rockets has not gone exactly how Patrick Beverley (or anybody rooting for or associated with the Rockets) planned.
Last year, heading into the postseason, you could have made the argument that Beverley was the Rockets' third most valuable player behind James Harden and Dwight Howard. When he was out, the team's defense suffered noticeably, and with a gauntlet that was starting (and unfortunately ended, literally) with Damian Lillard, a healthy Bev was a necessity.
2014-2015 hasn't been a great look for Beverley. He's been a half step slower (seemingly) on defense, and offensively, the fact that everything runs through James Harden (as it should) means Beverley is relegated to "just make your corner threes" status. And lately, he hasn't been making as many.
So I thought it was odd when the NBA chose Beverley as a replacement for Washington point guard John Wall in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. I thought it was so odd, that I tweeted this...
No disrespect, but how many PG's said "no" before they got to Pat Bev to participate in a challenge centered around OFFENSIVE skills?
— Sean Pendergast (@SeanCablinasian) February 10, 2015
Uncalled for? Not really, I'm paid to have opinions. Mean? Maybe a little. But you know what they say...the best revenge is living well (or something like that). And making me look like an idiot, that's good revenge, too.
So Patrick Beverley did this....
And I am happy to eat crow. I'm a big fan of Patrick Beverley, his story, his grit. I just wish he'd knock down more jumpers. I think I'd like "25 minute off the bench because the Rockets traded for Goran Dragic" Beverley even better.
Now a few other observations from NBA All-Star Weekend.
1. Zach Levine made sitting through Saturday night worth it. I'm not going to rail on the dunk contest, and how it needs to be revamped, and how none of the big stars ever do it anymore, and how it used to be "way better back in my day." Those takes are old and tired, and I don't want to sound like "that guy." I will watch it every year because it will either be a train wreck, or who knows...maybe there will be a revelation. This season? Revelation.
Zach Levine of the Minnesota Timberwolves was ridiculous, and the fact that, basically, he did these dunks within the first attempt or two each time makes it even better....
Of course, Levine's performance led to the tweet of the night by my friend and baseball writer extraordinaire Zach LaVine....
Your tweets last night were nice and sometimes clever. But it was the Facebook friend requests from groupies that really made the night.
— Zachary Levine (@zacharylevine) February 15, 2015
If there were a Slam Dunk Tweet contest, I'd be screaming like an apoplectic Kenny Smith and holding up a "10" sign...."Oh, are you watching this young man tweet??? I SAID ARE YOU WATCHING THIS YOUNG MAN TWEET?!?!?"
2. No more Plumlees.... No more Plumlees near the All-Star Weekend or anything remotely All-Star-related ever again. Not even in the building....
Stay away, Mason. Or Miles. Or Mucus. Or whoever the next Plumlee is. I swear, the Plumlees don't have parents, I think they're just assembled on a remote planet somewhere, like the clone troopers in Star Wars.
3. Speaking of Kenny Smith... We get it that this was the most loaded Three Point Shooting Contest in the history of the event. We also get it that, since the sound of your commentary is piped into the arena (huge mistake, by the way), you operate as part commentator/part hype man. But just because each shooter makes a couple shots in a row early doesn't mean they're on their way to some historical mark. Go back and watch, and for most of the shooters, Kenny can;t control himself by about the third rack of balls, even when the shooter is clearly on their way to like a 16 or something. Also, some simple math after Steph Curry's monster performance in the final round would've saved Kenny and Reggie Miller from looking like they can't do arithmetic.
Curry scored a 29. 34 is the most anyone can get. As soon as Klay Thompson missed on six possible points, the contest was over. Klay Thompson was done by the time he got to the fourth rack of balls, and you'd think Kenny and Reggie were asked to do trigonometry on the fly with the way they were slowly crunching the numbers. This isn't tough, fellas.
4. KYLE LOWRY DUNKED! I swear this isn't doctored footage....
The fact that this came just two days after a Wall Street journal article showing Lowry as the most proficient scorer in the league who hadn't dunked all year can't be a coincidence. It just can't.
5. Are people really that mad about the All-Star Game MVP going to Westbrook instead of Harden? The All-Star Game is always at its best when players are doing what they're best known for, and doing it at a high level. Kyle Korver draining threes, LaMarcus Aldridge knocking down effortless elbow jumpers, LeBron doing LeBron things, the Gasols chain smoking over a glass of cappuccino. For Russell Westbrook that is chucking to his heart's content. Oh, and also trying really hard when everyone else is at half speed. That's what Russ does. And he was great at it on Sunday, great enough to be the leading scorer in the game with 41 points (on roughly 87 shots). So he gets the MVP award. His team won, that's how it goes. I was mildly surprised that there were some Rocket fans who were miffed over James Harden not getting the award, since he was a couple rebounds and assists away from a triple double. I don't know if this is a Houston thing or if it's like this in other cities, but Houston fans hate seeing their guys get snubbed for awards. I'm still surprised that Aaron Rodgers hasn't had his legs broken by a hit man since beating J.J. Watt for the NFL MVP. Y'all need to chill, man. It's the All-Star Game MVP. Who cares??? (Houston, Sean. That's who.)
6. By the way, Vegas knows everything.... Even amidst a game with over 300 points scored, with a slew of 40 foot jumpers just because, and about a dozen aborted dunks or alley oops, where the two teams basically clowned around for 46 minutes and played real basketball for two minutes, it took two Westbrook free throws with two seconds left to push the final margin to a five point win for the West. The spread before the game? West minus 4.5 points.
Vegas, you frighten me.