Amare Stoudemire finds Dwight Howard for the alley-oop. Kobe Bryant follows with an emphatic reverse jam. Welcome to the 2011 NBA All-Star Game, where defense goes to die.
Bryant scored 11 points and Kevin Durant and Pau Gasol poured in six each to lead the West to a 37-27 lead after one period, in a game full of dunks, steals and airballs.
The West took control with a 10-2 run midway through the first. After Carmelo Anthony missed a jumper, the ball bounced off an East player into the hands of Bryant, who dished the ball to his Los Angeles Lakers teammate Gasol for the jam to make it 21-10 with 5:38 left in the frame.
No Atlanta Hawks took part in that part of the West's rout, as Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers decided to go to his four (aka one too many instead of Josh Smith) Celtics off of the bench with Howard in the middle first instead of giving Joe Johnson and Al Horford a chance.
Horford finally entered the game with 2:38 left in the first, only to be rejected by the Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki. Johnson entered with 22 seconds left and missed a 3-pointer to end the period.
At least the pro-Lakers crowd booed when the four guys they love to hate taking the floor. (At least they have some taste in Hollywood). After his introduction, Ray Allen proceeded to chuck up an air ball to derisive cheers from the folks at the Staples Center.
Chris Bosh posted eight points off the bench and Stoudemire has six and for the East, which turned over the ball seven times in the first 12 minutes.
The All-Star Game got off to a decent start. Josh Groban knew all the words to the National Anthem and Lenny Kravitz rocked the house as the players were introduced in La-La land.
But what was up with those All-Star warmup unis? If I wanted to watch "Star Trek" I would turn on Sfy Fy or whatever network that show is on. (Can't you tell I am so not a Trekkie?)
I was half-expecting LeBron James to give us the Vulcan salute and say, "Beam Me Up Scottie (Pippen)." I guess in a weekend where everything is sponsored by someone, Adidas added their stripes to the warmup jerseys, but they were just plain hideous.