All-star a success

U.S. Team’s Mason Plumlee, of the Brooklyn Nets, scores against the World Team during the first half of the Rising Stars NBA All-Star Challenge basketball game, Friday, Feb. 13, 2015, in New York.
Associated Press / Julio Cortez

Basketball of a different caliber and organisation was on display in New York City during the all-star weekend, culminating with the National Basketball Association all-star game, hosted by Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks, on Sunday night. Basketball buffs were also treated to two previous days festivities, hosted by Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home of the Brooklyn Nets.

At both sites, fans from all over the world, including the Caribbean were treated to some tremendous play by individual stars, with three- point shooting, skills competition, dunking, a celebrity game, NBA Developmental league all-star play, and a rising stars challenge. The latter and the development league game showcased the stars of the future.

While the Brooklyn Nets have an excellent chance of making the playoffs, maybe, not winning the Eastern Conference title, the Knicks have suffered for most of the season with injuries especially to star players, and inconsistent good play, still have a slim shot at making the second season.

One of the Nets’ players among the future super stars was second-year center Mason Plumlee who competed on the USA Team against the World Team. His Nets’ teammate Bojan Bogdanovic of the same Nets, played on the World Team roster in the Rising Stars Challenge over the weekend. Plumlee did his best in the Slam Dunk competition.

“It’s an honor to be in the dunk contest,” Plumlee said. “We all had a good time.”

All the fans in the stands were very impressed with the way they demonstrated the game, or exhibition, as one would say. They demonstrated skill, speed and strategy in the three-point shooting contest.

“As we get into the second half of the season, we are looking to win more games (and move up in the Conference standings),” the 24-year-old Plumlee said about the remaining two months of the 2014-15 season. “I’m trying to enjoy it (my stay with the Nets). We are headed in the right direction.”

Looking to their remaining games especially down the stretch drive, and from their own conference, the Nets must be ready and on top of their game, and must find ways to win.

“We have our fans from all over the world,” said a fan from the stands. “And we certainly enjoyed the festivities, especially those dunks and long-shot making. Their moves also showed their capabilities. Some of these players will one day make ‘it’ big time.”

Plumlee, only a second-year NBA player, will see more action in those games, when starting center Brook Lopez does not start. In fact, he happens to be a former McDonald all-American. A two-sport athlete, he cleared 6’8” in the high jump while as a student athlete. He should be one of the star players in the league in due time.

Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) controls the ball against Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) in the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn.
Associated Press / Brandon Dill

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