Since this weekend is Blake Griffin's world and we're just living in it, Brian and I will be live blogging throughout his (presumed) domination at Saturday's dunk contest. Drop by this page once the throwdown-a-thon begins as we offer continual commentary. Leave your comments as well, and we can enjoy ourselves together as the rookie takes L.A. and the NBA by storm.
Be there or be square!
UPDATE: We're up and running...
8:07: I felt horrible for McGee. There was absolutely no way to top Griffin’s “car/choir/Baron in the sunroof” dunk, and the dead silence meeting him as he finished his final, prop-free dunk. In a way, he actually got victimized by finishing higher than Griffin in the first round. In theory, if he did his last dunk before Griffin's last dunk, he’d have gotten more applause, which might have created more excitement for him.
Still woulda lost to Blake, but still, McGee deserved a better finish for a quality showing. - AK
8:03- Griffin jumps over a car, getting the pass through the sunroof from Davis. With authority. Plus the choir from Crenshaw High singing "I Believe I Can Fly," which was a killer touch. The key was getting the pass from inside the car. Ramped up the degree of difficulty by a ton. If Griffin had just jumped the hood- and I realize this sounds silly, but it's true- it wouldn't have been as impressive. But to have to get your feet up WHILE getting the pass THEN finish the dunk? That's good stuff.
Meanwhile, McGee's follow up was really cool, but won't get it done, I don't think. Needed to end bigger. He had so much flash and visual interest in the first three, to do something (seemingly) plain late didn't work. Plus, once Griffin jumped the car, McGee would have basically had to dunk with a car on his back to get the win.
Blake wins! Can't say I'm shocked. Very cool moment as Griffin dedicates the win to Wilson Holloway, his friend who died earlier this week. Classy.-- BK
7:54: Griffin does V.C. one better, leaving the arm in the rim after bouncing the ball off the backboard to himself. He's got a big red mark inside his arm where the elbow and forearm meet up. Crazy. AK
7:52: The best way I can describe McGee's three ball entry: It was equal parts dunking and juggling. I’m expecting the next dunk to include three balls... and a bowling pin on fire. But all joking aside, McGee has been stealing this show in the early round. Griffin may be the local/crowd favorite, but McGee is snatching the spotlight at least a bit.
Props to DeRozen, though. His second entry was pretty strong, despite being eliminated. AK
7:44- Oooooh, that was close. Baron Davis wasn't doing Griffin any favors with the passes off the side of the backboard. What he ended up with- a pretty ferocious hammer dunk from the side of the bucket- was pretty cool, but something people had seen before. 46 seemed like a reasonable score. Barely gets him through to Round 2.
Meanwhile, it takes a few tries, but when you're dunking three basketballs at once, a little leeway is allowed. Very odd looking, but so complicated by McGee it deserved the 49. -- BK
7:45: I'm not saying this dunk contest was in danger of reducing David Stern to tears, but let's just say, it's a good thing Griffin managed to pull that bad boy off. Had he been eliminated? Yikes. - AK
7:43: I give Ibaka credit for creativity, but that was arguably more weird than showstopping. Plus, he put the toy back up after getting it down. That’s just mean to the kid. -- AK
7:41- Wow. Home town boy does RIGHT! Actually a dunk needing to be seen on replay to be fully appreciated. To catch the lob with one hand, cross to the other side of the rim, and still throw it down while moving away from the rim? Totally deserves the 50. The dudes in the row in front of us (we're up above the 300 level) waved their 10's in front of us as if we get a vote, which we don't.
Ibaka with a nice second dunk, but it needed to be done right the first time, and quicker. He's done for the night, I would think. --BK
7:33 - I liked Blake’s dunk, but McGee’s was the only one that absolutely deserved a 50, if you gotta choose between one. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one requiring more coordination.-- AK
7:31- A rock solid first run for Griffin, who misses his first two attempts on his 360. Nice move, too, bringing the ball back down before hammering it home. What made it totally sick, though, was how close his head was to the rim. He actually missed his first two because they were both too strong. The athleticism is absurd. A well deserved 49, and kudos for coming out without props or a partner on the first round. --BK
7:28- I don't care if that took 10 minutes instead of two. Sick, sick, sick, JaVale McGee. Perfect 50. An homage to wingspan. Jay Bilas loves that dunk. -- BK
7:22- Off the stanchion, through the legs? If only DeRozan had hit that on the first couple tries, he'd had been in better shape. Now my dark horse candidate, Serge Ibaka, enters followed by a bunch of flags representing Africa. No pressure, man. It's a big continent with a lot of people...
Dunks from the free throw line. Not a ton of flair, but the man just dunked from the free throw line. Cut him some slack. 45. Setting the bar high for B.G.--BK
7:20- If Serge Ibaka jumps every single one of those flag bearers on the way to jumping for the dunk, I'll truly be impressed. - AK
7:19 - DeMar DeRozen is both too casual and too victimized by Amir Johnson's passes. His baseline reverse dunk under the rim would have been great right out of the gate, but he lost some points for the multiple takes. -AK
7:15- Griffin to Cheryl Miller, on Smith's influence on him: "He hasn't really helped me at all." Early reports are he's going to jump a car. Unfortunately, I believe it's a mid-size sedan (Kia Optima, to be specific), and therefore I will decide later if I'm impressed. An SUV? He'd have me at hello. --BK
7:11- They note the two-minute per dunk rule, otherwise known as the "Chris Andersen Amendment." -- BK
7:10- Griffin was just introduced, with his, um, "coach," former Rocket-now-TNT analyst. Obviously he gets the biggest ovation, but in terms of home floor advantage- crowd reaction influences the judges, you know- it may not be huge. It's not a whole lot louder in here now than it was during the Shooting Stars contest, when the place was about three-fourths empty.
Brent Barry, former Clipper, is a judge. No word yet if he's on the take. --BK