9:04- We're live at American Airlines Arena in Orlando for the "Rising Stars" Challenge, or the "these guys shouldn't be out legally in Orlando tonight but still will be" game. Yes, I know nobody cares about this. We'll get that out of the way early.
9:06- Shaq and Barkley are rocking the mic in front of this weak-sounding crowd. Just like Inside the NBA, Barkley is funny and Shaq is stiff and awkward. The only good thing about Big Diesel being up there is the crazed Orlando fans who still boo him. Hope Dwight is watching!
9:08- Coaches are introduced. I think Ron Adams would rather spend Christmas in a Gulag than be here.
9:09- I didn't realize Gordon Hayward was still in the league. * Just looked up his numbers. Averaging almost 10 a game. Looks like the joke's on me.
9:09- The pregame interview between Craig Sager, Jeremy Lin and Ricky Rubio may set television back 25 years. Sager is dressed like Cee Lo Green on acid, and can't spit out a question. Rubio looks like he wants to strangle Lin for completely overshadowing him. Seriously, Rubio's had a great rookie season, but he could walk through Times Square and nobody would recognize him or care.
9:15- Oh wait. They're actually going to play a game tonight.
9:20- DeMarcus Cousins is dominating early most likely because nobody wants to get near him.
9:22- How awesome would it have been if Blake Griffin had played in the Celebrity game rather than this one? Blake dunking over Vinny from Jersey Shore and stuffing chubby Tim Hardaway would get monster ratings.
9:30- Greg Monroe is the antithesis of what All-Star Weekend is supposed to be about. A big man shooting 20 footers, setting picks and trying to rebound. Get this guy out of here.
9:33- I've probably been to 20 Wizards games this year and John Wall is playing way harder tonight than he has in Washington. I know this game's on TNT while the Wizards play on DC Public Access, but still. Speaking of the Wizards, are you telling me Arne Duncan wouldn't get minutes for them? He'd instantly have the highest bball IQ on the team and could probably beat Rashard Lewis down the floor.
9:38- Lin has played about 3 minutes tonight. That's quietly great news for the Knicks, seeing as they only have two other guys who can dribble and will need him for the stretch run.
9:45- Kyrie Irving has taken over this game with four straight threes. Sure he's a great player but he's never beaten Newark Academy in his life. (Alma mater!) Seriously though, has there been a more underrated first overall pick of the past 10 years? All we heard about before and after the draft was what Kyrie can't do. Now we all know that he can do more than most guards in the league.
10:00- Awkward, unintentional camera shot of a cheerleader on Shaq's lap, with some random guy ogling her. I guess everyone in Orlando doesn't hate him after all.
10:07- Predictions for the 2nd half: Kyrie goes 16 for 16. Jeremy Lin is named MVP even though he only scores 3 points. Ron Adams resigns before the game is over.
10:12- It turns out tonight is coach Mike Fratello's birthday. Just a guess but I doubt he's getting bottle service tonight with his players.
10:20- The game has officially picked up. Kyrie is 7-7 from 3, Blake just threw an alley-oop to himself from the foul line, and Cousins just shot a 35 foot three. I love the NBA.
10:24- FREE GORDON HAYWARD.
10:26- Hayward has been freed and is scoring!
10:28- Kevin Harlan and Kenny Smith keep telling Lin stories that we've heard 100,000 times over the past three days. I know there's not exactly a lot of new material but come on.
10:29- You have to feel for Kemba Walker. He went from a bona fide superstar in college, to a sad afterthought in the pros. Such is life when you're drafted into the abyss that is the Charlotte Bobcats.
10:40- The game has devolved into a complete free for all. Windmill dunks, 5 on 0 breaks and less defense than the French in World War II. Anybody have some Kool-Aid for Coach Adams?
10:51-Wall has now caught an alley-oop from everybody in the building. If this guy were four inches taller he'd approach Griffin territory.
10:55- We're mercifully coming to a close here. No late game theatrics, unless you count Monroe stripping Wall as he tried to set up another dunk. Not that we're close, but what is league protocol on brawls in All-Star events? I'm sure Cousins will find out before too long.
11:03- Game is over. I've disregarded any post game "reaction" and given out my own awards.
Kyrie wins MVP. Adams wins LVP. Wall wins the "times I wished I played for a competent franchise" award. Griffin wins best "I could care less about this game but I'm still way better than everybody." Biggest Loser - Me for doubting Hayward and for having to watch the whole game.
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