Betting NBA All-Star Saturday Night

Betting NBA All-Star Saturday Night

Betting NBA All-Star Saturday Night
By LARRY JOSEPHSON

Odds provided by BetED.com.

Leave it to those marketing geniuses at the NBA to turn dust into gold.

With the slam dunk contest starting to look as tired as Tomorrowland at Disney World, the league figured All-Star Weekend fans needed... more nonsense. So over the years they have given us progressively more and more of the same. The 3-point shooting contest, the skills contest and now H-O-R-S-E.

Here’s how the All-Star sideshows shake down for Saturday.

Slam Dunk Contest

Participants: Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic (-180), Nate Robinson, New York Knicks (+450), Rudy Fernandez, Portland Trail Blazers (+450) and J.R. Smith, Denver Nuggets (+300).

Last year’s winner: Howard

It’s a shame this event wasn’t around when Darryl Dawkins was naming his dunks back in the 1970s. Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan gave the event some cache but when the stars decided that it was no longer a cool thing to do, the likes of Fred Jones (2004) and Gerald Green (2007) started winning and the luster was gone.

The way to spice it up is simple: bring in a white guy to play defense. And not just any white guy. Bring in Shawn Bradley. The 7-foot-6 Bradley was the guy everyone loved to dunk on during his underachieving playing days in the 1990s and hiring him for a weekend to cower and be posterized would enable him to get photo royalties for at least another 10 years.

Who should be entered – Barack Obama. He has a body like Tayshaun Prince and he definitely has game. A call to the White House press office asking whether the commander can actually throw down was not returned.

Projected winner: J.R. Smith. OK, so Smith’s dunk where he takes it behind the back while in the air and then crams it has been since duplicated. But it’s still awesome. Smith also has plenty of street cred. He’s had his license suspended five times in eight years, been suspended for an on-court brawl and was accused by Denver coach George Karl of insulting the dignity of the game for screwing up in a 2007 playoff loss.

3-Point Contest

Participants: Mike Bibby, Atlanta Hawks (+750), Daequan Cook, Miami Heat (+750), Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers (+250), Jason Kapono, Toronto Raptors (+110), Rashard Lewis, Orlando Magic (+275) and Roger Mason San Antonio Spurs (+450).

Last year’s winner: Kapono

Larry Bird made the 3-point contest his personal domain by winning it the first three years it was held. In fact, in 1987 Bird surveyed his competitors in the locker room and arrogantly said, “All right, who’s coming in second place today?”

Unlike the Slam Dunk contest this one can’t be rigged. The ball either goes in or it doesn’t. Craig Hodges (who once made 25 straight in this contest) and Bird have each won three times.

Who should be entered: Kendrick Perkins (Celtics). Who wouldn’t give a week’s pay to see Perkins fail to get rim on his first four shots and then storm off the court?

Projected winner: Kapono. This guy is the best 3-point shooter in the league which makes you wonder why he has jumped around so much (four teams since 2003).

Skills Challenge

Participants: Devin Harris, New Jersey Nets (+150), Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs (+150), Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls (+250) and Mo Williams, Cleveland Cavaliers (+200)

Last year’s winner: Deron Williams (Jazz)

In the movie Hoosiers, the frustrated high school coach played by Gene Hackman put chairs in the gym and made the players work on their fundamentals by dribbling around them in figures 8s. Basically, that’s what this is. There are only four participants. Seventeen others dropped out when the league told them that referees would be calling traveling.

Who should be entered: Shaquille O’Neal.

Projected winner: Parker? Not quick enough. Rose? Too nervous. That leaves Harris, who is emerging as one of the league’s best players, and Williams, a late add-on. Williams, overlooked at first for the East team, has more motivation.

H-O-R-S-E

Participants: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder (+155), O.J. Mayo, Memphis Grizzlies (+145) and Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks (+155).

Remember that 1990s Bird/Jordan McDonald’s commercial where they play H-O-R-S-E for a Big Mac, with ball swishing after they throw it off the side of the scoreboard? Each shot gets progressively more ridiculous, finally finishing at the top of a skyscraper and Bird getting ready to call one where it goes in the hoop after hitting off a car traveling on the highway. In today’s NBA all you have to do to knock out your opponent is make a few free throws.

Who should be entered: Yao Ming. Yao could stand under the basket, call “Stay on your feet” and then casually reach up and drop the ball through without jumping. Match that.

Projected winner: Durant. The kid can play and after losing night after night with the Thunder, he’ll be motivated. Plus, he appears to be tattoo-free.

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