The All-Star spectacular held at FIU's U.S. Cellular Arena on Saturday night left very little to be desired, unless you are a fan who prefers defense to dunks. Even though it was pretty much exactly what was expected, a high-scoring highlight reel with the feel of an NBA mid-season all-star matchup, the game still brought a dramatic element that included a late 4th quarter game-tying shot that led to an exciting overtime.
Team Wade came out on top, defeating Team LeBron 141-140, after coming from behind and forcing the extra session. Team Wade's Carmelo Anthony hit a triple with just two seconds left in regulation to tie the game and force OT. Then it was D-Wade, Amare Stoudemire and James Harden putting their team up for good, though LeBron James made it exciting with a pair of triples in the final minute+, including one at the buzzer.
The Big 3 put on a big show, led by LeBron James' game-high 34-points. Dwyane Wade put in 25 points and Chris Bosh had 17. The 5,000 fans that packed the small arena were certainly treated to a show, as the superstar lineups did not disappoint. At one point the building was going berserk when Wade and LeBron were matching each other shot for shot.
I'm sure the Heat fans in attendance enjoyed cheering for Damon Jones, the former 3-point specialist and brief fan favorite in Miami. They also were treated to some highlight-reel dunks by John Wall and Kevin Durant.
Charity wise, the game raised $100,000 for Isiah Thomas' charity that he founded in honor of his late mother, with $50,000 of that going towards FIU's scholarship fund. The game was definitely a success, though now the aftermath leaves an empty feeling as we slip back into the uncertainty of the lockout...and this time there is no local celebrity game to look forward to.
I think Chris Bosh sums it all up best in this statement:
"I think we're all starved for basketball. I think everybody is. I miss basketball. We all do. Given the enormity of this situation, all these great guys coming together for a good cause and playing at a venue that never probably has ever seen anything like this and people getting excited about it . . . just to bring a real true excitement is fun.''