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Checking in from Houston, TX, 3 Shades of Blue brings to you its 2013 NBA All-Star coverage! In spirit of the title, I’m going to be focusing on three themes (or shades, if you will) over the course of the weekend. Be sure to check back tomorrow!

Shade 1: The Zach Randolph Watch

- I caught up with Zbo at the Western Conference media availability today and here’s a bit of what he had to say.

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- Here Zach touches upon the strength of the team post-trade, dealing with trade rumors, and his connection to Memphis. More to come tomorrow!

Shade 2Outside Perspectives on the Grizz

- I asked Raptors rookie and Sprite Slam Dunk Contest participant, Terrence Ross a few questions about his newest teammate, Rudy Gay, one of the new Grizzlies, Ed Davis, and his college running mate, Tony Wroten.

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- Check out what reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and first-time All-Star, Tyson Chandler had to say about what it’s like trying to guard the Grizzlies’ front line.

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- His fellow All-Star Game first-timer, Jrue Holiday offered up a quick bit of insight on his pick for the west… Then I had to get him to say something about the Grizzlies.

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Shade 3: The Events!

The major event of the evening was the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. My impressions:

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- LOB, JAM, PULL UP 3 IN TRANSITION! Lather, rinse, repeat!

- 90, count ‘em, 90 first half points for Team Chuck, as they beasted team Shaq by a score of 163-135.

- Kenneth Faried got himself a whole lot of practice for the dunk contest. He brought home the MVP award for the Rising Stars Challenge, as he poured in 40 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Also, mark this date down in history. Probably for the only time in his NBA career, there was a point in the game at which he had more three pointers made (1) than rebounds (0).

- Sophomore Kings point guard Isiah Thomas stole the show in the first half. He had a sick three ball-steal-three ball sequence, in which he sank the latter before the PA guy could finish announcing the first basket. Coming from the 60th overall pick in last year’s draft, this guy is incredibly easy to root for. Thomas finished the contest with 18 points and 10 dimes.

- Ricky Rubio‘s got the moves and passing game of a would-be streetball legend. And who knew his Timberwolves teammate Alexey Shved can rise up and throw it down?

- Kyrie Irving is going to be an electrifying staple of this league for years to come. With 5 and change to go in the second half, Irving literally shake, bake, and juked Pistons guard, Brandon Knight to the ground en route to a basket. The show was on. Knight followed by draining a three in Kyrie’s face, and a battle ensued between the two for the next few possessions, which really captivated the crowd.

- Talk about going out on a good note. Kyrie Irving’s Cavaliers teammate, Tristan Thompson finished up his Rising Stars Challenge career with his second straight 20 point showing in the event. This puts him at a sound 19-21 from the floor in the event in the two combined appearances. He also pulled down 10 boards in this one.

- Say what you will about the fact that nobody plays any defense, this game does a great job of showcasing the world class raw ability that these young guns possess. It’s a pleasure to watch these guys fly above the rim, and jack up and nail a barrage of lengthy jump shots.

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