The 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend came to a close last night, as the West took the East in a 152-149 finish. Washington Wizards guard John Wall participated earlier in the weekend and left Orlando, Florida, with a “Rising Stars” exhibition win yet another fourth place “Skills Challenge,” as San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker walked away the champ. Wall and the Wizards may need a few years for a Sunday bid, but the sophomore guard out of Kentucky has a bright future ahead of him and more hops than a potato sack race.
Wall began his weekend with 17 points, 8 assists, and 2 blocks as sixth man for “Team Chuck,” in a 146-133 Friday night victory over “Team Shaq.” The highlight of the night had to be Wall’s block on Norris Cole, but Wall had quite a few spectacular dunks–despite the best efforts of former Georgetown Hoya Greg Monroe, who disrupted Wall in the final minute of the fourth. Jeremy Lin, who Shaquille O’Neal drafted third overall, played only 9 minutes and scored only 2 points, in what was perhaps the most underwhelming performance of the All-Star break. Needless to say, there wasn’t much of a Wall-Lin rivalry going on, and the Wall-Monroe exchange took center stage.
On Saturday night Wall put the Monroe steal behind him and sped through the “Skills Challenge” with a first-round time of 32.8 seconds, far better than his time of 39.3 seconds which he recorded last season. However, his speedy entry tied Rajon Rondo, and Wall had to go again in a tie-breaker. “I thought I won but then I went over there and they said ‘tie-breaker,'” Wall told the media after the event. “He (Rondo) came back and had the best round of the day [27.5 seconds], against me in the tie-breaker–so I had no way to beat him,” Wall laughed. During his first run Wall had some trouble with his first hoop-pass, which he corrected during his tie-breaker run. While he took care of his passes in his second-go, his jumper gave him trouble. After three misses in a row Wall decided to end his run with a self-serve slam dunk for the fans. “I felt more calm than last year,” Wall said. “Last year I was nervous–I didn’t want to make the passes or nothing, because as a point guard you want to make sure you get the passes down pat before anything.”
Wall, who went for the East, Paul George in the “Slam Dunk,” and Kevin Durant in the “Three Point” (one-for-three), will join Washington in Milwaukee Tuesday, as the Wizards take on the Bucks.