Saturday night in Houston, Steve Novak and James White participated in the Three-Point Shootout and the Dunk Contest. I had high hopes for both participants. Though I picked Matt Bonner to win the Three-Point Shootout, (Kyrie Irving won) I thought Novak would be in the finals. I thought James White, given that his basketball existence seemed to exist only for him to be crowned champion of one such contest, would win the Dunk Contest with a handful of unbelievable dunks. Neither happened on a somewhat disappointing Saturday night.
Let’s start with Novak, who came just short of the second round (the finals) in the Shootout. Novak was the last of the three participants to shoot in the Eastern bracket. Paul George had a contest worst 10 points, while Kyrie Irving had 18. Novak started off hot, hitting 8 of his first 10 shots, but went cold and scored just 5 points in the final three racks. His score of 17 fell just short of Irving and he was eliminated from the contest. It wasn’t a total failure on Novak’s part, as he fell just shy of the second round, but given how hot he started, I can’t imagine he’s satisfied with his performance.
On the other hand, White’s night was a complete disaster. I loved the way he came out for his first dunk. Having his ‘Flight Crew’ with him, about 10 attractive women dawning flight crew attire, was a great perk. They lined up forming a tunnel for him to run through en route to his dunk. After missing a few times, Flight had an impressive two handed dunk from the free throw line, or about half a foot inside the free throw line. The judges, who handed out 50′s like candy all night, gave White a 45, which I thought was too low.
For White’s second dunk, he was trying to throw in a windmill from the free throw line. He ended up attempting the dunk about 6 times, all unsuccessful. After the competition, White said that “the basketballs were hard to grip.” Regardless, it was a disappointing night for White, given his reputation.
These competitions don’t matter. They’re for the fans and they’re supposed to be fun for the players. Tonight’s competitions don’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, nor do they change anything. White is still a great dunker, Novak is still a great shooter. I would’ve loved to see one or both take home trophies, but regardless it was still fun to see them participate in each competition. Tomorrow, we’ve got Tyson (!!!) and Melo in the All-Star game. That should be fun.