The NBA All-Star Game is always more spectacle than competition, with this year's edition verging much closer to farce than any other in memory as it got underway.
An endless parade of introductions made it seem like the game was just something to be played while a singer named Ne-Yo changed clothes between songs in his concert and the whole thing was played against a backdrop of the overwhelmingly silly 50th birthday celebration for Michael Jordan. Jordan might be the best basketball player in the history of the game, but that doesn't make reaching an age reached by millions around the world worthy of anything more than a brief mention.
Eventually, though, the NBA allowed their product to speak for itself and it became a fun night on the way to 143-138 West win. There were all the alley oops and thundering dunks we've come to expect, along with the final few minutes of actual effort on defense that made you wonder just how great one of these games would be if it was played under the guise of normal basketball.
Only one of our local heroes was on the court at that point in the game and Carmelo Anthony earned his spot with an East-high 26 points that came so easily that you had to wonder if you missed some of the game when realizing how many points he scored. That also speaks to how little his points stood out as the memorable moments of the game.
Tyson Chandler had one highlight, a beastly finish of a Dwyane Wade feed near the end of the first half, and Brook Lopez barely got off the bench in what wasn't much of a night for our local heroes. The two big men can feel some happiness that there were probably plenty of people around the country wondering why they were on the bench while Chris Bosh was humiliating himself, though.
Bosh threw up three airballs on the offensive end of the floor after being handed a start by Erik Spoelstra in place of the injured Rajon Rondo. That start should have gone to Kyrie Irving since he's actually a point guard and therefore would have been a lot less likely to get the ball dribbled through his legs by an opposing guard on defense.
That happened to Bosh twice as both Chris Paul and Tony Parker pulled playground antics on their way to the hoop. Perhaps Spoelstra didn't start Irving at the request of Pat Riley, who has probably heard the LeBron James camp starting the rumor mill about a return to Cleveland in a couple of years.
We know James likes to join up with stars and Irving was the breakout star of this weekend. He dominated the game between first and second-year players on Friday and won the three-point contest Saturday to introduce himself to those who stopped paying attention to the Cavs when LeBron left them at the altar.
Those who were upset by that move likely enjoyed watching Kobe Bryant blocking LeBron twice in the competitive portion of the game, plays that felt like Bryant reaching out to make one last bid for the top spot that LeBron has taken by universal acclaim. He isn't getting it back, but he made the most memorable plays on a night that provided a lot of schadenfreude for those chasing the Heat.
That would be everyone in the NBA and the unhappy conclusion is that this might be the only chance to revel in Heat humiliation this season. So enjoy it while you can because the race resumes with the Heat back in role as heavy favorites instead of comic relief.