It was All-Star Sunday in the Emerald City, and Jamal Crawford brought plenty of NBA friends to the gym with him. Terrence Jones (Houston Rockets), Wilson Chandler (Denver Nuggets), Spencer Hawes (Los Angeles Clippers), Tony Wroten (Philadelphia 76ers) and former Washington Huskies stars Justin Dentmon and Will Conroy all suited up alongside Crawford in a high scoring, high-flying match. Crawford missed a three at the buzzer to tie it — but the real story was Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine.
The Seattle native LaVine was known for his dunking prowess at UCLA, and his incredible athleticism was a large reason he was drafted in the lottery. It should come as no surprise that he threw down this series of jaw-dropping slams in the dunk contest (and obviously won). But it’s hard not to catch yourself temporarily stunned as a hoop head, or even as a human being, after watching the tape. With apologies to John Wall, is it too early to call LaVine the favorite for the dunk comp at NBA All-Star?
It was the final week of the regular season out at the Drew, and just one playoff spot was still up for grabs. As a result, a lot of games weren’t too consequential — but many stars still put up numbers, including 33 from Brandon Jennings (breaking his streak of two consecutive 50+ point weeks), 26 from Nick Young, and 25 from former Long Beach State standout Casper Ware, all in different games.
A surprise came on Sunday as La Familia fell to Baron Davis’ Cheaters squad, 73-78, despite DeMar DeRozan bringing in Toronto Raptors teammates Terrence Ross, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas to the La Familia side, along with mainstay Metta World Peace. Gotta love parity, but when you have five NBA players (and The Game) that’s an L you can’t really take. Come on, guys.
In the game that really mattered on Saturday night, a maybe slightly more unsung No Shnacks team pulled out a huge upset —and clinched a playoff spot — over a stacked SoleClinics team that brought in not only McDonalds All-American and incoming Arizona freshman Stanley Johnson, but NBA All-Star and SoCal product James Harden. Not even that pair was enough for SoleClinics, who saw their playoff hopes dashed with a 94-98 loss that came down to the game’s final seconds, but not before Harden put on a show for the crowd:
The big names might bring out the fans to the Drew, but it’s often the teams that compete together week to week that fare the best.
R. Kelly was at the Chi-League on Sunday. No, he didn’t play. But the sideline presence of the venerable Kellz seemed to bring the best out in pros including former Marquette star Darius Johnson-Odom, Detroit Pistons guard Will Bynum (44 points) and Milwaukee Bucks rookie Jabari Parker (23 points, 15 rebounds), fresh off the plane from coaching his former AAU team, the Mac Irvin Fire, in Las Vegas all week. West Side native and Marshall High School alum Patrick Beverley also made an appearance, suiting up for Team Tiger on Saturday.
One of the Dyckman’s most exciting games of the summer went down on Friday, with undefeated Dominican Power taking its first loss to team R2K. It’s worth noting that DP’s star player, Gio “Batteries Not Included” McLean was MIA, but nevertheless, a back-and-forth game in front of a crowded park turned on a late-game three from street legend Adrian “A Butta” Wilson that gave R2K the lead.
On a somber note, the Dyckman lost a beloved player this past week —James “Stixx” Williams, who passed away at the Nike Pro City league in Manhattan on Wednesday. Williams, 34, played in several leagues around NYC. He counted NBA stars Kemba Walker and Taj Gibson amongst his friends. He’ll be missed in New York and in the larger streetball community.
We’ll show a little love to the ATL, where strong pro-am competition has emerged with the AEBL (Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League). Toronto Raptors guard Lou Williams, formerly of the Hawks, turned back up in Atlanta and was the big story, dropping 50 points and breaking the league’s scoring record earlier in the week. His Team LouWillVille (I see what you did there, Lou) also took home the league’s title over the weekend against Gold Gang, helmed by rapper Trinidad James.
Cincinnati Summer League
Zach LaVine wasn’t the only one taxing rims this weekend. Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell broke yet another backboard this summer. The 6’8″, 235 lb. big man, who opted to return to school instead of entering this year’s NBA Draft, already cracked a board this past April when he played pick-up with Milwaukee Bucks forward John Henson.
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