Golden State's Stephen Curry, right, tries to get the ball away from… (Nick Wass / Associated Press )
The NBA's All-Star reserves were announced Thursday, meaning there was a gripe session for every celebration.
Emotions ran the gamut in Oakland, where the Golden State Warriors trumpeted David Lee as their first All-Star since Latrell Sprewell in 1997 while lamenting that Stephen Curry was excluded despite averaging 20.9 points per game as the league's eighth-leading scorer.
"He is an All-Star," Coach Mark Jackson told reporters. "The thing I talk about is he stands for everything that's right. If you're a coach, he's the one guy you should vote for."
Brooklyn interim Coach P.J. Carlesimo was miffed three times over after Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson lost out in voting among Eastern Conference coaches despite strong credentials and the Nets' resurgence under Carlesimo. Williams was undoubtedly hurt by the perception that he had quit on former coach Avery Johnson, leading to Johnson's dismissal.
"They must feel our chemistry is unbelievable because we're winning these games with such limited talent here," Carlesimo said about his conference counterparts.
Lopez had the best case among the Brooklyn trio, his averages of 18.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks comparing favorably with those of All-Stars Tyson Chandler (12.1, 10.9, 1.1), Joakim Noah (12.2, 11.0, 2.1) and Chris Bosh (17.2, 7.2, 0.8).
In what has become a ritual every season in Atlanta, Josh Smith was overlooked despite being one of the game's most well-rounded forwards with averages of 16.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 blocks.
"I got my hopes up last year thinking I was going to make it, probably a couple of years before that too," Smith said, "but it never happened. It's not a surprise to me. All I can do is keep playing my game."
Hawks center Al Horford was also passed over for the midseason showcase Feb. 17 in Houston, but at least he can take solace in being a two-time All-Star; Smith has never made the team.
Others who had a right to feel slighted included Milwaukee's Brandon Jennings, Indiana's David West, Memphis' Marc Gasol, the Clippers' Jamal Crawford, Dallas' O.J. Mayo and Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka.
Miami's LeBron James tweeted a solution to avoid all the hurt feelings: "Always believed there should be 15 [players] on both rosters, so there's no snubs."
Big shots collide
Making a shot from half court to win $75,000 on Friday was a prelude to a bigger surprise for Michael Drysch.
Sprinting over to embrace the 50-year-old computer technician inside Miami's AmericanAirlines Arena after he made a hook shot during a timeout was Heat star James. Drysch fell to the court amid the excitement, literally bowled over by the world's top player.
"It's a great way to meet somebody like that," Drysch said while being presented a check from the LeBron James Family Foundation, which had flown in the participant from Illinois after he was selected in a drawing. "I had no idea he was coming over to me like that. That was amazing."
Drysch said he had made the shot only once while practicing it the previous two days.
He found the touch when it counted.