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Saturday, February 16, 2013
All-Star Saturday Bullets

By Phillip Barnett
TrueHoop Network

• Friday night’s Rising Stars Challenge left much to be desired as Team Chuck got out to a mammoth lead early never looked back. The final minutes provided the most entertaining moments, when Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight engaged in an exchange of crossovers. Irving said the two have been going at it since high school: “[It] just happened, honestly, a couple of plays down, going down the court with him. But more or less, that kind of rivalry with me and B. Knight has been happening since high school, since we started playing against each other. We were battling for the one and two spot in high school. He's a good friend of mine. It's great competition.”

• Actually, Ricky Rubio had a fun night, too.

• Kenneth Faried’s Rising Stars shot chart. Ridiculous.

• The Bobcats’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist told reporters that Michael Jordan has recently beat him in a game of one-on-one. Jordan turns 50 Sunday, while Kidd-Gilchrist is seven months away from turning 20. "It was hard for me," Kidd-Gilchrist said before playing in the Rising Stars Challenge rookie-sophomore game Friday night. "I lost. He's the greatest man that ever played the game.

James White blocks a kid's shot, stares down another after dunking.

• A lot of Isaiah Thomas’ success in the NBA lies in his self-confidence, something that his father believes he was born with: “I think at his level, where he’s one of the smaller guys, this has to be something that you were born with,” the elder Thomas told Cowbell Kingdom before the Rising Stars Challenge. “A gift from God that just happens to be [that] they chose you Isaiah to take the torch and run with it.”

• Dwyane Wade told reporters that Kobe Bryant is the greatest player of this current era of ball players.

• With Terrence Ross set to compete in tonight’s dunk contest, here’s a history of Toronto Raptors who have also participated in All-Star Saturday Night’s premier event.

• Hardwood Paroxysm’s Jordan White, on James Harden: “If Harden’s Sixth Man of the Year award recognized his mimicry, his All-Star berth recognizes him finding his voice. The player we see in Houston is the one we’d seen glimpses of in Oklahoma City. Freed from the constraints of the bench, Harden has total control of the offense. Perhaps more importantly, he has complete freedom to be himself. As with the “new” writer, we still see traces of Harden’s predecessors in his game, but every shot, every pass, every drive is his own. This is James Harden, realized.”