NBA All-Star Saturday Wrap-Up
The NBA’s All-Star Weekend continued Saturday with the D-League All-Star Game, Sears Shooting Stars Challenge, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.
This year, All-Star Saturday Night followed a different format than previous Saturday nights. The Western Conference was pitted against the Eastern Conference this year. Each conference played for charities selected by the captain of each conference, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade. The winning conference won $350,000 and the runner-up won $150,000.
The conferences earned points based on how their teams and individuals performed in each competition.
While the East earned a total of 125 points, the West combined for 140 points to win the 2013 All-Star Saturday Night competition. The point system seemed to get more confusing as the night went on, but it made each competition meaningful.
Terrence Ross Wins Sprite Slam Dunk Contest
The highlight of All-Star Saturday Night was the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Every year, fans salivate at the thought of All-Stars like LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant entering the competition. But like recent years, the 2013 Slam Dunk Contest participants featured mostly young players looking to make a name for themselves. This year, rookie Terrence Ross, sophomore Kenneth Faried and third-year players Eric Bledsoe and Jeremy Evans were among the participants. That doesn’t mean that this year was a disappointment. Highlighting the field was former dunk contest winner Gerald Green as well as YouTube sensation James “Flight” White.
In the team round, Green got the crowd on their feet with a ferocious dunk off the side of the backboard, that earned him a total score of 50.
White brought out a orange and blue flight crew and pumped up players and fans alike, throwing down a dunk just inside of the free throw line. White earned a score of 45 points.
Ross came through for the East, earning their second 50 with a behind-the-back 360.
Faried started things off for the West. He did a 360 off the backboard, earning a score of 39.
While the shortest participant Bledsoe struggled on his first dunk, he managed to throw down a 360 dunk that earned him a 39.
Evans was the first dunker to incorporate a prop, bringing out former Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton. Evans had Eaton sit and hold the ball as he jumped over him and two-handed it. He earned a 47.
In the second round of the team round, the East got winded. They ended up with a combined score of 258 points after two rounds.
The West flew past the East in the team round after Faried and Bledsoe both earned 50’s. Evans also threw down a 360 dunk with two basketballs for 43 points.
The West earned 40 points for their team round victory.
The championship round saw Ross face off against last year’s winner Evans.
Evans was up first and showed off his artistic skills. After he jumped over a mystery canvas, Evans unveiled the canvas to be a painting of himself dunking over a canvas. It was one of the more unique dunks we’ve ever seen at a dunk contest.
Ross brought out a retro Vince Carter jersey as he grabbed the ball off the side of the backboard and threw down a 360.
For his second dunk, Evans jumped over Dahntay Jones and threw down a one-handed windmill.
But it was Ross who sent the crowd into a frenzy. He brought out a ball boy from the audience, jumped over the young kid and went between his legs. It was a great way to end an entertaining contest.
Ross earned 58 percent of the fan’s votes and was crowned this year’s Slam Dunk Champion.
Rookie Damian Lillard Takes Taco Bell Skills Challenge
The Eastern Conference went first in the team round of the Skills Challenge. Participants Jeff Teague, Brandon Knight and Jrue Holiday had a combined time of 1:50.9. Next up, the Western Conference was represented by Jeremy Lin, Damian Lillard and defending champion Tony Parker. While Lillard had the fastest individual time (28.8), Parker struggled at the free throw line as the West earned a combined score of 1:53.3. The East earned 30 points for their victory.
In the championship round, Holiday represented the East and rookie Lillard represented the West. Holiday went first and put up a time of 35.6 seconds. But it wasn’t enough to beat Lillard, who flew through the course with a time of 29.8 seconds. The West earned 10 points for Lillard’s victory. Lillard became the third rookie to win the competition.
Kyrie Irving Lights Up Foot Locker Three-Point Contest
The Western Conference came out firing in the team round of the Three-Point Contest. Stephen Curry, Ryan Anderson and Matt Bonner combined for 54 points. While Kyrie Irving kept the Eastern Conference alive with 18, Paul George and Steve Novak couldn’t carry them to the win. The East finished with 45 points. The West earned 40 points for their victory in the team round.
In the championship round Irving went head-to-head against Bonner. Kyrie save his best performance for last, posting the night’s highest score of 23. The “Red Mamba” didn’t disappoint either. He earned the second-highest score of the night with 20 points, but it wasn’t enough to beat the All-Star Irving. He earned 10 points for the Eastern Conference for his championship round victory.
Team Bosh Survives Sears Shooting Stars
In the team round, the West dominated the East with a combined score of 1:07. The West won 20 points for having the fastest time.
During the championship round, Team Bosh represented the East and Team Westbrook represented the West. After Team Bosh seemed like they were headed for defeat posting a time of 1:29, Team Westbrook flew by the first five shots, then Russell Westbrook, Robert Horry and Mya Moore went cold from half court. Team Bosh, which consisted of Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash, earned the victory and earned the Eastern Conference 10 points.
D-League All-Star Game, Dunk Contest and Three-Point Contest
This year, the NBA Development League All-Star Game between the Futures and the Prospects featured 20 of the league’s top prospects, including 14 players who have NBA experience under their belts. The game gives a chance for the 20 players to prove that they belong in the NBA. Last season, six of the 20 D-League All-Star participants earned call-ups from NBA teams before the season’s end. The MVP of last year’s D-League All-Star game, Gerald Green, signed a three-year contract with the Indiana Pacers last summer.
At the half, the Prospects led the Futures 69-65.
Like last year, the D-League Three-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest took place during halftime.
This year’s finalists in the Three-Point Contest were Justin Holiday, brother of Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Jrue Holiday, and Marcus Landry, brother of Golden State Warriors power forward Carl Landry. Both shooters scored 17 in the first round. In the finals, Holiday posted a score of 11, which opened the door for the winner Landry, who earned a final round score of 13.
With trophy in hand Marcus talked about the importance of this showcase in proving to NBA scouts that he belongs in the NBA.
“It’s very important, doing what you need to do to get called up and try and get that contract,” Landry said. “I hope I’m really close (to making an NBA roster). Only time will tell that.”
The Boost Mobile D-League Slam Dunk Contest followed and included high flyers Tony Mitchell, Josh Owens, Dar Tucker and Glen Rice Jr.
While the highlight of the afternoon came from two-time D-League Dunk Contest winner Tucker, who jumped over seven-foot Reno teammate Jerome Jordan, the finalists included Tony Mitchell and Josh Owens, who earned scores of 93 and 85 respectively.
In the finals, Owens struggled only getting a score of 35 on his first dunk. Mitchell came out flying with a between the legs tomahawk that earned him a score of 45. For his second dunk, Owens jumped just short of the free throw line, earning him a score of 42 and a combined score of 78. It wasn’t enough to stop Mitchell, who jumped over a three-foot prop. Mitchell, who is a forward for the Wayne Mad Ants, earned a total score of 95 in the final round.
In the second half the All-Star Game, the Prospects pulled away from the Futures with help from Santa Cruz Warriors guard Travis Leslie, who had 19 points in 19 minutes. The final score was Prospects 139, Futures 125.
Leslie earned MVP honors after leading his team in scoring. He also finished with seven rebounds for the Prospects. Leslie was a last-minute replacement for injured guard Andrew Goudelock.
Make sure to check out HOOPSWORLD tomorrow for in-depth coverage of the final day of All-Star 2013!