WATERCOOLER CHAT: ALL STAR WEEKEND, YOUNG WINNER AT DAYTONA

BASKETBALL

In the NBA, it was the All Star Game.  We saw the Clippers Blake Griffin win the Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday by jumping over a car, and now it was time for the main event:  East v. West.  The West All-Stars were slightly favored, primarily because this was a home game for Kobe Bryant.  So how would it all play out?

The game got off to a rather slow start — not in terms of action, but because the teams were trying to get used to each other.  There was an era when the All-Stars practiced hoping to jell, but now the weekend is all about parties and that leaves little time to develop a team chemistry.  Early on, East All-Stars coach (Boston’s Doc Rivers) decided to put in his own 4 Celtics All-Stars (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and Ray Allen).  However, they didn’t quite produce and Rivers had to replace them.  Meanwhile, the West started to pull away behind a fantastic night from Kobe Bryant.  He was out there in front of his home crowd and there was no way he was going to take it easy.

In the third quarter, the East came roaring back, despite a very scary moment when Dwayne Wade landed awkwardly on Deron Williams foot and twisted his ankle.  As a precaution, Wade wouldn’t come back in the game, and the East would have to find answers elsewhere. A major answer came in the form of King James.  LeBron suddenly exploded and finished the evening with a triple-double.  That’s only the second triple-double in All-Star Game history (the other belonged to Michael Jordan).  It looked to be a close game in the 4th, but Kobe Bryant and the West were simply too much.  Kobe finished with 37 points and 14 rebounds as the West took this year’s title.  West 148, East 143

After the game, Kobe was asked if he thought the NBA should transform their all-star game into a “game that matters”.  In baseball, the league that wins the all-star game gains home field advantage in the World Series.  Kobe’s opinion:  Absolutely not.  He said the All-Star game is simply a showcase and should have no bearing on the regular season.  He said it’s only for fun and to entertain the fans.  Kobe added that they might as well eliminate the 82 game season if the All-Star game is to decide the home court advantage.  So, it looks like we can expect more high-scoring All-Star games in the near future.

MOTORSPORTS

And in racing, it was the mother of them all: The Daytona 500.  There were a record number of “cautions” in this game, meaning times in which a dangerous crash forces the race to stop until everything is safe again.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. was in first place towards the end and was poised to win (which would be an incredible honor in the 10th anniversary of his father’s death).  But, at the end, 20-year old ROOKIE Trevor Bayne suddenly took the lead, hung on, and actually won the whole thing!!!!  Wow!  That’s a huge upset and something you typically do not see in racing.  For a rookie to win a race this big is truly phenomenal.  You can expect Trever Bayne to have a very fulfilling career, complete with a healthy amount of endorsements.  Congratulations to the young star.

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