The 2013 NBA All-Star Game has come and gone, with the Western Conference All-Stars beating the Eastern Conference All-Stars by a score of 143-138. The West had 88 points in the paint and the East had only three blocked shots. So yeah, no defense was being played, as usual.
Luol Deng scored 10 points on 4-for-10 shooting in his second All-Star appearance. He also had a couple rebounds and an assist in 17 minutes of PT. In all fairness to Lu, he’s not the kind of player who’s going to shine in an All-Star Game. He doesn’t play one-on-one ball. He’s not a flashy dunker. Most of what he does is measured in effort and consistency on a nightly basis.
Joakim Noah was reasonably efficient in his first All-Star Game: 16 minutes, 10 rebounds, 8 points, 4-for-7 shooting, 3 assists and one block of a Zach Randolph Layup. That stuff was of the East’s three blocked shots (Dwyane Wade had the other two). In point of fact, Noah was one of the only guys out there playing defense (along with Kobe Bryant, who rejected LeBron James not once but twice in the closing minutes). At one point, he put some one-on-one D on Chris Paul, and later elbowed Paul in the face. All-out intensity, all the time.
Said Noah: “What else am I going to do?”
He has a point.
Noah continued: “I enjoyed every minute on the court and I had a lot of fun. I haven’t slept in three days, man. I had all my best friends; there’s not one of my friends who isn’t here. I got my pops [Yannick] here. I’m looking up, he’s smiling and proud. It just really means everything. I just felt like I might as well go out there and just give it everything I got. I can’t half-ass it because otherwise I would really look like [much].”
Added Deng: “Jo played his game. He just played like how Jo plays. It was good, man. He was having fun. He got to know the guys a little bit and they got to know what Joakim is like, which was fun.”
Noah — who last Thursday had platelet-rich plasma treatment on his right foot to help deal with an ongoing case of plantar fasciitis — desperately wanted to be part of the All-Star Game despite being slowed by injury.
Said Noah: “It means a lot to be able to be a part of this. I was never at the rookie game; as a sophomore I was never here. So this was my first time really appreciating it and spending time with it. I haven’t slept in three days, so I’m kind of tired right now. But I had a blast.”
As an aside, if you care at all about plus-minus stats, Deng (+4) and Noah (+2) had better outings than starters Kevin Garnett (-5), Dwyane Wade (-9), Carmelo Anthony (-9), Lebron James (-13) and Chris Bosh (-14).
I’m glad Deng and Noah had a good time. I’m even more glad they didn’t get hurt. Now it’s back to business.