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NBA All-Star Saturday Night Open Thread

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NBA All-Star Saturday Night 2009 Logo
Featuring:
Haier Shooting Stars
Playstation Skills Challenge
Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout
Sprite Slam Dunk
February 14th, 2009
U.S. Airways Center
8:00 PM
TNT

Make the jump to read the lineup cards for each event. The whole thing kicks off at 8, with no set end time for any event. With that in mind, you can check out the Magic's two representatives in the final two events of the evening: Rashard Lewis will compete in the Three-Point Shootout, while Dwight Howard will try to defend his Slam Dunk championship. If you'd like to help him do that, you can. Click here to learn more about how you can choose who wins this year's dunk contest.

Go Rashard and Dwight.

Haier Shooting Stars
Teams:
Detroit: Arron Afflalo, Bill Laimbeer, Katie Smith
L.A.: Derek Fisher, Michael Cooper, Lisa Leslie
Phoenix: Leandro Barbosa, Dan Majerle, Tangela Smith
San Antonio: Tim Duncan, David Robinson, Becky Hammon

I'm not really familiar with this competition--is anyone?--but I suppose I'll pick the hometown team to win. Leandro Barbosa can heat up in a hurry, plus I have a hard time picking against Thunder Dan Majerle in a shooting contest.

Playstation Skills Challenge logo
Contestants:
Devin Harris
Tony Parker
Derrick Rose
Mo Williams
Injured - Will Not Compete
Jameer Nelson

Jameer Nelson probably would have annihilated the field in this competition if he were healthy. With him out, I'll go ahead and tentatively wager that his replacement, Mo Williams, has the best chance of winning. He scored 44 points the other night and 17 of his 18 made field goals were jumpers. His perimeter jumper could win the competition for him, although he's not the deftest of passers. We'll see. Tony Parker and Devin Harris could also win. I don't know if Derrick Rose will be "on," as he played an NBA game two nights ago and in the Rookie Challenge last night.

Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout logo
Contestants:
Mike Bibby
Daequan Cook
Danny Granger
Jason Kapono
Rashard Lewis
Roger Mason Jr.

Jason Kapono will win this competition every year until he dies. Shooting 25 t hree-pointers in one minute is a tough task, and Kapono's stroke is such that he uses hardly any energy. Compare his form with that of, say, Rashard Lewis, who has to jump and wind way-the-heck-up before firing. Rashard's going to get cooked because of his time-consuming release. Basically, what I'm saying is this: if given the choice to bet on "Jason Kapono" or "the field," take Kapono.

Sprite Slam Dunk logo
Contestants:
Rudy Fernandez
Dwight Howard
Nate Robinson
J.R. Smith
Injured - Will Not Compete
Rudy Gay

The competition in which they'll be the most interest, without a doubt. Dwight Howard should be the two-time defending champion, while Nate Robinson is also a winner, and J.R. Smith is no slouch; if you're not sure about that last point, watch his behind-the-back dunk from a few years ago. The wildcard here is Rudy Fernandez. I'm not sure he's got what it takes to win the whole thing, although he is a great in-game dunker. Then again, he could make up for his relative lack of athleticism by excelling in the creativity department. Word is he'll use some futbol soccer tricks.

Still, I have a hard time believing Dwight is going to lose this one. Everyone talks about the Superman dunk last year--which made him a household name and scored him a sweet licensing deal with D.C. Comics-- and critics have said it was too gimmicky, but it wasn't even his best dunk of the night. This left-hand-to-right-hand, tap-off-the-glass dunk (FreeDarko dubbed it the "ambitastic tappy oop," a name which has stuck with me) was, and may be one of the best in the history of the dunk contest. Even if he scales back the costumes this year (which he won't), he has enough creativity and hops to add another trophy to his case.