The NBA: Shaq vs. Chuck

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*Unless otherwise specified, all images are from the Associated Press.

"Those people are dumb.” – Charles Barkley referring to those who voted/tweeted for Team Shaq to win the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge (this was done pre-draft).

Well, Shaq did win 4 titles, right? And Chuck, well, tried. Based on that alone, one might suspect Shaq would know which players would give him the best chance to win, right?

Well, you be the judge of that.s

Here are the rosters for the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Game: (Norris Cole and Jeremy Lin were last-second additions by honorary Commissioner Kenny Smith)

Legend: B for backcourt, F for frontcourt, X for Flex
*Both teams had to pick AT LEAST 3 Bs and 3 Fs by their 7th pick. Flex players can be either B or F.

1. Shaq picks Blake Griffin (F) then Chuck picks Kyrie Irving (B).
2. Shaq picks Jeremy Lin (B) then Chuck picks DeMarcus Cousins (F).
3. Shaq picks Ricky Rubio (B) then Chuck picks Paul George (X).
4. Shaq picks Greg Monroe (F) then Chuck picks Derrick Williams (F).
5. Shaq picks Markieff Morris (F) then Chuck picks MarShon Brooks (X).
6. Shaq picks Kemba Walker (B) then Chuck picks John Wall (B).
7. Shaq picks Landry Fields (X) then Chuck picks Gordon Hayward (X).
8 Shaq picks Norris Cole (B) then Chuck picks Tiago Splitter (F).

Kenny Smith facilitated the next phase, which was “raffling off” the remaining four players.

Brandon Knight (B) and Tristan Thompson (F) went to Team Shaq.

Kawhi Leonard (X) and Evan Turner (X) went to Team Chuck.

From an on-court-impact perspective, I think Jeremy Lin and Kyrie Irving cancel each other out. Same thing with Greg Monroe and DeMarcus Cousins. I think John Wall getting picked in the 6th round was a travesty. He’ll be Team Chuck’s edge. On the other hand, I don’t think anyone can bring it like Blake Griffin can, and with BOTH Lin and Ricky Rubio taking turns giving him the rock, I think Team Shaq might just take this one.

All in all, this “gimmick” is a really fun addition to the All-Star Weekend. Kenny Smith jabbed at how this could be the process to follow when selecting the actual All-Stars, and I for one wouldn’t mind seeing how it’d pan out at least for one season. Then again, it might take the “power” out of the fans’ hands.

Now here’s a thought: how about having a Fans’ Team vs Experts’ Team Challenge? Fans can vote in their top 12 players and the Experts (Maybe Kelly Dwyer and Bill Simmons here?) can pick their own 12? It’d be awesome if the NBA can find a way for that to happen!

After the JUMP, key stat-stuffers for today’s games:

NYK over SAC, 90-87
Jeremy Lin put aside his record-setting scoring to hand out a career-best 13 assists, and the New York Knicks got back to .500 with their seventh straight victory. Lin has now scored 136 points in his first five starts, most by any NBA player since the NBA merged with the ABA in 1976.
SAS over TOR, 113-106
Tony Parker had 34 points and 14 assists, and San Antonio beat Toronto to extend its season-best winning streak to nine games. Danny Green scored 13 points and matched his career high with 7 rebounds, Tiago Splitter also had 13 points and Manu Ginobili added 11.
HOU over OKC, 96-95
Kevin Martin tied a season high with 32 points, including the winning free throws with 23.6 seconds remaining, in Houston’s victory upset of Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant missed three shots in the last 16 seconds and Houston finally grabbed the rebound on the last miss to secure the win. Martin’s performance came a night after he went scoreless for the first time in six years.
LAC over WAS, 102-84
Blake Griffin had 23 points and 15 rebounds, Caron Butler added 21 points and Randy Foye scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter against his former team. The Clippers increased their lead in the Pacific Division to two games over the idle Lakers with their ninth victory in 12 contests.
ORL over PHI, 103-87
Ryan Anderson had seven 3-pointers and 27 points, Dwight Howard added 17 points and 14 rebounds and Orlando shot its way past Philadelphia. Orlando made 15 of 25 attempts from 3-point range, and had all five starters reach double figures for the second consecutive game.
DAL over Den, 102-84
Shawn Marion had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Dallas beat Denver to stretch its winning streak to a season-high five games. Vince Carter had 15 points for Dallas. Lamar Odom scored 14, Jason Kidd 13 and Dirk Nowitzki 12. None of the starters played more than 27 minutes.
CLE over IND, 98-87
Kyrie Irving scored 22 points in his return after missing three games because of a concussion. Semih Erden, starting with center Anderson Varejao sidelined indefinitely by a broken wrist, had a career-high 18 points. Darren Collison scored 18 points for Indiana. The Pacers have lost five straight.
DET over BOS, 98-88
Rodney Stuckey scored 25 points and Ben Gordon hit three 3-pointers in the opening 4:09 of the fourth quarter during a game-breaking spree that Detroit past Boston. Greg Monroe had 22 points and 9 rebounds, and Gordon finished with 22 points Detroit. The Pistons won for the fifth time in seven games. Rajon Rondo had a season-high 35 points for Boston one game after he recorded a triple-double.
MIN over CHA, 102-90
Kevin Love had 30 points and 18 rebounds and Minnesota handed Charlotte its 16th loss in a row. Nikola Pekovic added 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Timberwolves snapped a four-game skid. Kemba Walker had 21 points and six rebounds, and Corey Maggette scored 18 points for the Bobcats, who have lost 22 of the last 23 games.
MEM over NJN, 105-100
Rudy Gay scored 25 points, Tony Allen matched his season high with 21, and Marreese Speights added a season-high 20 points and a career-high 18 rebounds to help Memphis beat New Jersey, handing the error-prone Nets their season-high seventh straight loss.
POR over GSW, 93-91
Gerald Wallace scored 24 points and Jamal Crawford hit a key late 3-pointer and a two free throws to lift Portland past Golden State. Nicolas Batum added 17 points for the Trail Blazers, who had lost 11 of their last 12 in Oakland.
ATL over PHX, 101-99
Josh Smith matched his season high with 30 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to rally Atlanta. Smith, whose career best is 32, had 20 points and 12 rebounds in the second half to help Atlanta snap a two-game skid and win for the third time in eight games.
NOH over MIL, 92-89
Marco Belinelli made a career-high six 3-pointers and scored a season-high 22 points in the short-handed Hornets’ victory over Milwaukee. Chris Kaman added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Gustavo Ayon had 12 points and 12 rebounds to help New Orleans win consecutive games for the first time starting the season 2-0.

Super Scorers (Top scorers of the night!)
Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 35
Tony Parker (SAS) – 34
Kevin Durant (OKC) – 33
Kevin Martin (HOU) – 32

Rajon Rondo's 35 wasn't enough as the Celts were halted
by the Detroit Pistons.
Ragin’ Rebounders (Top rebounders of the night!)
Marreese Speights (MEM) & Kevin Love (MIN) – 18
Josh Smith (ATL) – 17

Dynamic Dishers (Top playmakers of the night!)
Steve Nash (PHX) – 16
Tony Parker (SAS) & Jameer Nelson (ORL) – 14

Terrific Thieves (Top thieves of the night!)
Cory Brewer (DEN) & Tony Allen (MEM) – 5
A LOT with 4

Boomin’ Blockers (Top blockers of the night!)
Serge Ibaka (OKC) – 4
A LOT with 3

Serge Ibaka victimizes Samuel Dalembert
with one of his 4 blocks.
Sharpshooters (Top 3-point shooters of the night!)
Ryan Anderson (ORL) – 7
Marco Belinelli (NOH) _ 6
Caron Butler (LAC) – 5

Feb. 15, 2012 First Five
C – David Lee (GSW) – 29pts, 11rebs, 3asts
F – Kevin Love (MIN) – 30pts, 18rebs, 3asts, 1stl
F – Josh Smith (ATL) – 30pts, 17rebs, 7asts, 4rebs, 3blks
G – Tony Parker (SAS) – 34pts, 14asts, 3rebs, 1stl
G – Rajon Rondo (BOS) – 35pts, 6asts, 5rebs, 4stls

David Lee's awesome stat-line still fell short
as the Warriors were beaten by Portland.

Honorable Mention:
Steve Nash (PHX) – 22pts, 16asts, 4rebs, 1stl
Marreese Speights (MEM) – 20pts, 18rebs, 2blks, 1ast
Deron Williams (NJN) – 26pts, 11asts, 4 treys, 2stls, 1reb, 1blk

For a full summary of the day, here’s today’s NBA Daily Zap:


*Game recaps were compiled and compressed from the Associated Press.
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