Recap: NBA All-Star Saturday Night
NBA All-Star game is the biggest event of All-Star Weekend, but as we all know, some of the best competitions and sneaker surprises happen on NBA All-Star Saturday Night.
On the docket was the Haier Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Footlocker 3-Point Shooting Contest, and the crowd favourite Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.
The night seemed to evaporate rather quickly, as is the weekend, and it will be back to business much too soon for most of us here in Orlando for the festivities.
Here are the results from the four events:
1. Haier Shooting Stars Winner: Team New York
With a time of 37.3 seconds in the final round Team New York Knicks defeated Team Houston’s (Chandler Parsons, Kenny Smith & Sophia Young) time of 47.6 seconds. The competition is far from the best of the evening, but it does provide some interest watching players hoist up half court shots to close out their attempt. It also incorporates a female from the WNBA on each team which brings that league a tad bit more attention. Team New York had the two fastest times of the night, and Houston said the trio had practised “a little bit”.
2. Taco Bell Skills Challenge Winner: Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs
Parker won the skills challenge with a time of 32.8 seconds in the final round defeating Rajon Rondo (34.6 seconds) and defending champion, Deron Williams (41.4 seconds). Rondo probably could have gotten the W if his bounce passes didn’t continue to rattle in and out. It took him four attempts to complete that challenge and was inevitably his downfall. Parker has competed in the competition twice previously and was at ease coming in he said the following afterwards.
3. Foot Locker 3-Point Contest Winner: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Love squeaked into the finals and then pulled an upset win over Kevin Durant and defending champion James Jones. Love survived two overtimes or shootouts to take home the title with 17 points in the final shootout.
Love indeed wasn’t the favourite as “Bigs” don’t usually do well in the competition. James Jones had the game-high 22 in the first round and certainly looked like he was primed to repeat. He just got cold and was unable to keep up with Love and Durant.
4. Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Winner: Jeremy Evans, Utah Jazz
Evans might be the happiest player at All-Star weekend capturing 29% of the (reported) 3 million votes for the contest. (I would like to see that tally) Just being given the opportunity to attend the event would have been enough for the humble forward but winning it might just make a difference in his play the rest of the season. He is that appreciative.
Remember he was a last minute replacement for Iman Shumpert.
Unfortunately, his win is mired in the dubious distinction that the event field was more boring than vanilla.
Paul George had two of the better dunks of the evening but lamented that the competition does indeed lack star power. The dunk contest needs the league’s “faces” he said, mentioning (Miami Heat) LeBron, (Chicago Bulls) Rose, even Westbrook by name.
Evans did have the most original dunk of the night, and it probably carried him to the win. He jumped over a seated Gordon Hayward then caught and dunked two balls thrown in the air by Hayward.
Unfortunately, the humility of Evans was not enough to save the lacklustre evening. The NBA will have to look at ways of keeping the format fresh and potentially getting more prominent names to commit to the event in the future.