All-Star Weekend draws great ratings

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The NBA has sent out a series of press releases on the overnight ratings for its All-Star Weekend events, which were very strong across the board.

The format change to the “Rising Stars Game” — which went to a “Team Shaq vs. Team Chuck” format this year, as opposed to the traditional rookies vs. sophomores format, was a huge success, as the game drew a record number of eyeballs:

TNT’s exclusive coverage of the 2012 BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star 2012 in Orlando was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history, surpassing the 2004 game. Last night’s contest delivered 2,729,000 total viewers (+26% vs. 2,165,000 in 2004); 1.7 US HH Rtg (+6% vs. 1.6 in 2004) and 1,911,000 overall households (+13% vs. 1,689,000 in 2004). Prior to this year, the most-watched telecast was the 2004 game featuring future NBA All-Stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony. 

Despite the fact that the Dunk Contest featured very little star power, the All-Star Saturday night ratings were tied for the second-highest ratings in the history of the event. The ratings were the same as they were in 2009, when Nate Robinson won his 2nd dunk contest title by putting on a glowing green outfit and jumping over Dwight Howard:

TNT’s exclusive coverage of NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by State Farm at NBA All-Star 2012 in Orlando, FL delivered an overall4.4 US HH rating in metered market overnights. It was tied for the second-highest rated NBA All-Star Saturday Night all-time (2009).

Finally, the All-Star Game itself drew its 2nd-highest overnight rating since the 2005 game, despite the fact it aired on the same night as the Academy Awards:

During one of the busiest and most-watched nights on television, TNT’s exclusive coverage of the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando, FLdelivered an overall 5.4 US HH rating in metered market overnights. The metered market rating is the second highest-rated overnight since 2005 (5.9 metered market rating).

This is all good news: it’s another sign that the lockout didn’t prevent fans from coming back to basketball when the games and exhibitions actually started up again.

Jonas Valanciunas hits game-winning free throw, spoils James Harden’s 57-point night (video)

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The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.

But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.

Report: Suns exploring signing Jimmer Fredette

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Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.

He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.

Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.

But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.

The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.

It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.

Marcus Smart shoves down Joel Embiid from behind, gets ejected (video)

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Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.

After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.

Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.

Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.

Before James Harden, how many players scored 30 points against every other team in a season?

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James Harden became the first player in NBA history to score 30 points against all 29 opponents in a season.

But the NBA has had 30 teams for just 15 of its 73 seasons.

Obviously, the larger league makes Harden’s feat more impressive. He had to score 30 against more teams. The Rockets also play most opponents, those in the Eastern Conference, only twice. In previous eras, players had more cracks at scoring 30 against fewer teams.

Still, anyone to score 30 points against every opponent has a certain immunity to bad matchups. It’s special.

How many players have done it?

We must start with Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 30 points against all nine teams in the 1964-65 NBA. He began the season with the San Francisco Warriors and, with them, scored 30 against the 76ers. Then, he got traded to Philadelphia and scored 30 on the Warriors. He also dropped 30 on every other team.

Including that season, there have been 85 times a player scored 30 points in a game against every opponent in a season.

Only Harden, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird have done it since the NBA-ABA merger. Jordan (1986-87) and Bird (1984-85) did it against 22 teams.

Everyone else did it against 17 or fewer teams.

Here’s everyone to score 30 in a game against every opponent in a season with the player’s highest-scoring game against each team listed, starting with Chamberlain doing it against every team then following in chronological order:

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