Saturday, February 13, 2010
Saturday's practice report
By Chris Forsberg
DALLAS -- Media access at the NBA All-Star game turned out to be a lot like the Media Day at the Super Bowl: Lots of microphones, lot of characters, and lots of off-the-wall questions. One minute Paul Pierce is fielding serious queries about whether Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge talks to him about potential trades, the next Kevin Garnett is being asked to give a shoutout to his fans in Mexico.
Here's a handful of moments that stood out from this morning's session:
McLovin meets Boston's trio of All-Stars
This is Saturday's media access in a nutshell: The Celtics' trio of All-Stars were herded together for a final interview with NBA TV when Christopher Mintz-Plasse, better know as McLovin from the movie Superbad, stormed the interview to meet Boston's superstars.
Mintz-Plasse, a presence at Celtics' games in the past, seemed genuinely excited to meet the trio, even going up to Rajon Rondo before the start of the session for a quick chat. For their part, the Celtics played right along, with Kevin Garnett wrapping his big arm around Mintz-Plasse before the impromptu interview.
Rarely did Saturday's session get much heavier than that.
The East All-Stars went through a (late-starting) half-hour session that featured coach Stan Van Gundy mic'ed up for the crowd as he (hoarsely) led the team through a couple quick offensive sets and an inbound play or two before the practice deteriorated to halfcourt heaves and other trick shots.
Desperate to "set a world record" after LeBron James and Dwyane Wade each failed to make five halfcourt shots in a minute span, Dwight Howard risked arm injury to score from the seat of his pants from as much as 51 feet from the basket. Fortunately for Boston fans, besides a few tosses from halfcourt, the Celtics were spared from the shenanigans.
KG dials down the intensity
It doesn't need to be said that Garnett is one of the more intense players in the history of the NBA, so is he able to dial it down a bit for a meaningless exhibition?
"A little bit," Garnett said with a smile. "Until the last four or five minutes of the game, then it's winning time. Then I put it on. For the most part, I"m here to enjoy the time with my friends -- until those last four or five minutes."
Garnett, flanked by Pierce and Rondo as a swarm of media talked to the trio after the East's breezy practice session, said it was a positive and relaxing experience to be at the All-Star Game.
"It's always good to come with your teammates, especially when they're rookies [in the All-Star Game like Rondo], then you haze them a little bit," said Garnett. "You make sure they don't airball their first shot, or make sure they don't talk any trash.
"All this -- with the fans, my friends and family, and my teammates -- you can't ask for anything more."
Blue's Clues Shoes
Pierce and Rondo led the Eastern Conference All-Stars onto the court for their mid-morning practice and fans couldn't help but notice their shockingly blue Nike sneakers.
Looking like something out of the Nickelodeon TV show Blue's Clues, the sky blue kicks (and that's toning it down) clashed with the more royal blue uniforms of the Eastern stars. Pierce rolled with the punches when reporters asked him about the interesting style choice, which just so happened to come after the NBA held an All-Star fashion show before the practice.
"I'll have to talk to the Nike guys, find out what went wrong with the dye," said Pierce. "I think they're supposed to be the same color [as the jerseys], but I'm trying to figure out what went wrong in the lab."
It could be worse. Garnett was still sporting his typical green Celtics game shoe underneath his sweatpants.
"Adidas really cut back their budget," Pierce joked," so they told him to bring his game shoes."