Burger Blog: Boys

Wednesday night's McDonald's Boys All-American Game did not play out at all like we expected. Greg Oden started off dominating on defense, as one would think, but he faded over the remainder of the game as the West squad and the Lopez twins took control with sound defense and eventually found their stride on offense. Relive the surprise West victory with this courtside log of action and observations.

20:00 - Robin Lopez is in the starting lineup for the West squad, following what we saw in yesterday's scrimmage.  His role will not be on offense, but instead to be West's best hope to try and defend the indomitable Greg Oden.  Lopez is joined by Spencer Hawes (PF), Kevin Durant (SF), Chase Budinger (SG) and Sherron Collins (PG) in the starting five.  That is the same as Tuesday's West vs. East scrimmage, except Jon Scheyer started at the off guard instead of Budinger.  With Budinger in the lineup, that puts a group with a lot of size (listed 7'0", 7'0", 6'10", 6'8" and 6'0") on the floor.

19:12 - Spencer Hawes just put the West up 4-0 with an athletic finish in transition.  Watch him have a big night if the West is to win.

19:04 - Greg Oden touches the ball for the first time for the East squad, and with Lopez on his back he passes out to a teammate without any shot attempt.  Would have thought for sure Oden would want to take the ball aggressively on his first chance on offense.

18:32 - Lopez is the one to take the first shot, a seven-foot jumper in the key.  The long arm of Oden reaches out to block the shot, drawing acclaim from the crowd.

17:26 - Lopez grabs his first defensive rebound of the game and quickly passes out to start the fast break, but the West turns it over down the court.

16:54 - Oden has no shots or points yet, but he just made his second blocked shot already - this of an attempted Collins lay-up.

16:47 - Don't say he doesn't have any of his brother's moves.  Robin Lopez goes to work for the second time against Oden.  This time he uses a 360-degree spin (right to left) move around Oden with the tough left-handed lay-in for two points.

16:29 - Oden catches the ball on the baseline and drives past Lopez, drawing a two-armed blanketing foul to avoid an easy Oden finish.  Oden hits both free throws, and Lopez substitutes out of the game.

15:05 - Robin Lopez is back in the game, teamed up with Hawes, Budinger, Collins and Jon Scheyer.

14:37 - Off a Scheyer miss, Lopez grabs the offensive rebound under the basket over Oden.  Rather than try to score, he passes to Hawes, who hits a jumper inside the free throw line.  Assist for Lopez.  One can only imagine if Hawes had joined the twins to make for triple towers on The Farm...

13:46 - Hawes joins the illustrious crowd, rapidly growing in number, to have his shot blocked by Greg Oden.  Hawes grabs his own offensive and immediately goes to the sky hook to ensure that he is not blocked again.  Smart kid, that Hawes.

13:06 - Five-man change for the West, which brings Brook Lopez into the game for the first time.  He takes the court with Darrell Arthur, James Keefe, Daequan Cook and D.J. Augustin.

12:49 - Off a missed East dunk attempt, Brook Lopez grabs the defensive rebound and throws it ahead to start a fast break, though again the West tosses the ball long out of bounds and turns it over.

12:09 - Brandan Wright tries to shoot over Lopez on the baseline, but fires an air ball miss trying to arch over the long arm of the seven-foot forward.

10:19 - Brook found himself alone in the paint when the ball was passed to him from under the basket, and he was set up for a chance at an uncontested dunk, but he fumbled the pass and came up with nothing.

8:32 - The West is in some trouble.  The East is scoring repeatedly in transition off West turnovers and horrific shot selection.

8:22 - Keefe just missed an uncontested dunk, throwing the ball off the back rim.... Moments later, he misses another shot at the basket from the exact same angle, missing the lay-in at the rim....  West calls a timeout to regroup, already down 39-21.  Brook Lopez substitutes to the bench.  I'm guessing he has three rebounds, maybe two depending on the official scoring.

7:09 - Javaris Crittenton just had a nifty drive and right-handed finish going to his left at the basket.  The East is killing the West, 41-21, and they are pulling away without Greg Oden in the game.

5:59 - Robin Lopez and Spencer Hawes come back into the game for the West.  Oden is back in for the East.

4:57 - Kevin Durant can be criticized for playing away from the basket in a predominately face-up offensive game, but he just charged the hoop for an offensive rebound and putback.  Athletic and aggressive.

4:11 - Scheyer drives into the lane and then pulls back for a 10-foot jumper.  Watching Robin Lopez and Greg Oden jockey for position under the basket, Oden physically handles Lopez.  The ball rattles around and goes down, but if it had come out, Lopez had no chance for the board.

3:57 - The crowd has been wishing and hoping for a Chase Budinger highlight, and the local boy just delivered.  He attacked the basket in transition, and with a defender at the hoop, made an acrobatic lay-in around the outstretched shot block attempt.

3:28 - Give Scheyer some credit.  He made one of the (maybe the) first smart decisions with the ball tonight.  He pushes the ball into traffic, and then turns and dishes outside to an open Sherron Collins.  Collins nails the three-pointer to pull the West to within 10 points, 37-47.  I just about had the West left for dead, but this is a good run for them.

3:13 - Durant buries a three from the corner for the West in transition.  He has such great range at his size.  The West is now down just seven points - wow!

2:57 - Mass substitution, including Brook Lopez in and Robin Lopez out.

1:14 - Brook Lopez with the defensive rebound.

:54 - The West lapses into some bad decisions, and the East makes them pay in transition.  Just like that, the game is back to 12 points.

:21.2 - Darrell Arthur substitutes in for Brook Lopez, who heads to the bench disappointed and shaking his head.

Halftime - Respectable comeback for the West, but they have problems, and they will have more when Oden plays a bigger role in the second half (only one field goal and four points at the half).  48-55.  They both had some moments, but overall a quiet first half statistically for the Lopez twins.  Robin scored two points on 1-of-2 shooting, plus three rebounds and an assist.  Brook had no points and no attempts, with three rebounds...  This note from Chris Jaenike, who went to the media hospitality area for some grub only to lay witness to a swarm of locusts dressed as the girls McDonald's All-Americans.  "They laid waste to the spread.  Jayne Appel just went to town."

20:00 - Brook Lopez starts the second half as part of a smaller West roster with Arthur, Cook, Augustin and Demond Carter.  No Oden for the East.  Some of these players on the court are being started to help them log their minimum required minutes.

18:51 - Brook Lopez pulls down a quick second rebound of the young second half.

18:03 - The West uses some nifty passing off a steal and 3-on-1 finish to give Lopez a dunk for his first attempt and first points of the game.

17:32 - Demond Carter is probably the least acclaimed player on the court tonight, and he will play the minimum minutes his coach can give.  But he did just flash a great bullet pass to Lopez on the baseline.  Brook draws a foul and goes to the free throw line, making 2-of-2.

17:18 - Brook Lopez continues his hot half, blocking a shot at the basket against Brendan Wright.

17:05 - Wayne Ellington tries to take the ball to the basket, but Lopez towers over and makes him attempt the reverse lay-up.  The shot misses, and Brook skies for a strong rebound.

16:43 - Lopez looks to add some offense to his hot start, but his 12-foot jumper falls short.  Could not tell from here if it was tipped, or just a straight air ball.

16:10 - Are you kidding me?  The West just took the lead, 58-57.  The caveat is that there has still been no Oden yet for the East this half...

16:03 - Brook Lopez with the steal on the perimeter.  Really strong start for him, and a big reason the West is making this surge out of the half.

15:55 - Down on the other end, Lopez is called for a travel while he tries to make a move away from the basket.  He's certainly "feeling it" and trying to do things everywhere on the court...  First media timeout of the second half, and Lopez goes to the bench.  Brother Robin is not substituted into the game quite yet.  Neither is Oden in for the East.  I imagine the moment Greg Oden goes to the scorer's table, so does Robin Lopez.

14:32 - Brook Lopez back into the game.

13:13 - Mass substitutions, with Brook to the bench.  Oden enters the game, but no Robin Lopez.  That means Hawes has to defend the man-child.  Strange.  The crowd cheers at the sight of Budinger.

13:02 - West gets out in transition, and Hawes finishes with a dunk.  They are up 68-63.  Doing some good things, with less stupid plays and better shot selection.

10:38 - Oden had just one field goal all first half, but quickly has a pair of scores here in his first 90 seconds.  Whither Robin Lopez?

9:38 - Robin Lopez goes into the game for Spencer Hawes.

9:33 - Right away, Lopez helps on the offensive board with a series of volleyball-styled pogo-stick tips to keep the ball alive.  None likely to be counted as an offensive rebound, though.

9:21 - Lance Thomas tries to score near the basket, but Lopez gets a hand on the ball for the block.

9:01 - Thaddeus Young drives baseline, but Lopez blocks him at the basket and forces an attempted reverse lay-in, which misses.

8:06 - After a brief rest, Oden is back into the game for the East.

7:59 - Oden gets the first touch on the next possession for the East, but with Robin Lopez on his back is moved to the baseline and travels while trying to circumnavigate the Stanford-bound center.

7:50 - Interesting lineup for the West out of the media timeout.  Robin Lopez, Hawes, Durant, Budinger and Scheyer at the point.

7:33 - Durant is a freak.  Outside the arc, he puts the ball on the floor up top and then pulls up for a long two-pointer and drains the shot.  You say some big guys have "guard skills," but Durant truly possesses perimeter skills.  Damn.

7:29 - Robin Lopez posterizes Gerald Henderson at the hoop, but is called for the foul.

6:38 - The advantage of having twin towers?  Tywon Lawson dribbles into the lane and takes the ball to the basket, redirecting as Robin Lopez presents a block.  Moving the ball to his right, he has the ball then swatted by Spencer Hawes.  From the frying pan to the fire.

6:09 - Robin Lopez grabs a tough offensive rebound at the basket and goes right back up, fouled and almost able to still finish.  He makes his first free throw, but leaves the second well short off the front iron.

3:56 - Just announced a sell-out crowd of 11,900.  Some may have wondered how strong a crowd would come from this city which is not so big on basketball.  Though clearly most interested in Chase Budinger highlight material, the crowd has been good tonight.

3:56 - Coming out of the final media timeout, the West goes with Robin Lopez, Darrell Arthur, James Keefe, Daequan Cook and D.J. Augustin.  No Oden for the East.  His scant second-half minutes have been surprising.

3:45 - The West just hit the century mark, which is celebrated in most 40-minute basketball games, but this is late in the action to hit 100 for a McDonald's All-American Game, where scores regularly hit the 120's or higher.

3:35 - Another defensive rebound for Robin Lopez.

2:57 - Brook Lopez into the game, Robin Lopez to the bench.

2:47 - Oden tries to go baseline against Brook, but Lopez forces him under the basket, and an off-balance Oden has to pass out to the perimeter.

2:00 - Young attacks Brook going to the basket, giving a hesitation fake and drawing the foul.  Only Brook's first foul?  Far better than I expected tonight.  Kudos.

1:42 - Durant goes to the free throw line and puts both down, bringing him to 25 points.  Even before I looked at his scoring line, it was obvious that Durant has to be tonight's MVP.

1:06 - Durant just blocked a shot and forced a tie-up, which gave the West the ball.  What a game for him...  The East only has 90 points.  Only once in the last eight McDonald's games prior to tonight did a squad not hit triple digits (West, 96 points, 2004).

:46 - Brook Lopez catches the ball 14 feet from the basket with Oden on his hip, gives a spin and nails the pull-up jumper.  Was that his first jump shot attempted this game?  Not what you expected at all from Brook, who has made his biggest impact on the defensive end and not been a big offensive element.  Of course, his offensive touches have been as rare

:01 - Fantastic finish, with the West on a 4-on-0 fast break.  Little Sherron Collins throws the ball off the backboard - to himself and jams it home.

Post-game - What a weak, weak, weak move.  Co-MVP awards are handed to Durant and Budinger.  There was no comparison between their performances and impacts tonight.  Hometown cooking sours the integrity of what is called the John R. Wooden Most Valuable Player Award.  Frank Burlison sitting next to me echoes the disdain and sums up the decision in one word: "Crap."

Post-game - Good for Budinger, who just said in the MVP press conference: "I didn't think I was even close," when asked about his thoughts on earning co-MVP with Durant.


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