Along with the phrase “All Star Weekend”, the Slam dunk contest, the 3-point contest and the skills challenge always ring the bell for any avid NBA enthusiast. Entertainment reaches a whole new level with this adrenaline rushing encounters and they never fail to leave your jaw hanging in awe.
Verizon Slam Dunk Contest
Usually dunking is a big man’s thing. 7ft tall guys hovering around the ring and cramming the ball inside so hard hoping that the backboard would shatter, has been the trend since the slam dunk contest commenced. Lately even guards have been dominant in the contest.
For the Verizon Slam dunk contest 2018, 4 contestants took the floor as 2016 Slam Dunk runner-up Aaron Gordon and 2017 Slam Dunk champion Glenn Robinson III had to turn down the opportunity due to being stung by the injury bug. Larry Nance Jr.; the only center amidst 3 guards, namely Donovan Mitchell, Victor Oladipo and Dennis Smith Jr. battled for the high honor of being the dunking champion for the year.
At the first-round eliminations, Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr and Indiana Pacers All Star Victor Oladipo had to step down from the contest. There were three 50 point scores throughout the encounter and a “between the legs 360 reverse” dunk by Dennis claimed one.
Meanwhile Oladipo who has showman skills in his DNA, followed the up surging hype for the growing movie sensation, “Black Panther” by cladding himself with the Black Panther face mask handed to him by the star of the movie; Chadwick Boseman himself.
Oladipo who couldn’t complete one of his dunks had to leave the floor along with Smith, for the final round between Mitchell and Larry Nance. Smith who was a pick to win the contest by many, wasn’t satisfied with the judges and their scores.
What that look like?
— Dennis Smith Jr. (@Dennis1SmithJr) February 18, 2018
However, for the final round Donovan Mitchell; the upcoming point guard from Utah Jazz scored a 50 in his first dunk by throwing the ball off the backboard to himself. Larry Nance Jr.; son of Larry Nance Sr who won the first ever dunk contest in 1984, still had the Los Angeles crowd backing him up after being traded from LA Lakers to Cleveland Cavaliers a few weeks ago. The 6’8” tall towering center managed to send the crowd into a frenzy by double tapping the board with the ball and jamming it home and earning himself a 50.
Mitchell who needed a score of 47 to take home the trophy, donned himself in the jersey of the Slam Dunk legend Vince Carter’s Toronto Raptors no:15 and replicated the “reverse 360” of Carter scoring a 48 and claiming the title of the Verizon Slam Dunk champion 2018.
JBL Three Point Contest
Battle to be known as the best shooter of the league is always intense. Shooting high arching 3-point shots as if it’s effortless as a layup is no simple task.
Klay Thompson, Devin Booker, Wayne Ellington, Eric Gordon, Bradley Beal, Paul George, Tobias Harris and Kyle Lowry clashed for the title and Booker made sure that it’s his name that is scribbled under the list of winners of the encounter.
— 2018 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) February 18, 2018
Klay Thompson and Eric Gordon being champions of the 3-point contest before were the heavy favorites to repeat but the NBA record breaking performance for the highest score of 28 points in 3 point contest history, in the final round against Thompson by Booker was no match for either one of the former champions.
Booker who scored 4 out 5 of his money ball rack sank the rest of the money balls in other 4 racks, making 20 of 25 shots to edge over the final score of 25 made by Thompson in the final round. Defending champion Eric Gordon struggled to escape the first round and could only applaud at the sight of Booker lifting the trophy above his head in glee.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
The guards vs bigs challenge of the All Star weekend concluded with the trophy in the guards’ hands.
The Brooklyn Nets 6’6″ point guard Spencer Dinwiddie, took down the Chicago Bulls center Lauri Markkanen in the final round to claim the championship.
— 2018 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) February 18, 2018
The two main aspects of the skills challenge are the chest pass and the top of the key 3-point shot. If a contestant is swift to make the chest pass correctly, he gets more time to make the 3 point shot.
Al Horford, Joel Embiid, Lauri Markkanen and Andre Drummond represented the bigs while Lou Williams, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jamal Murray and Buddy Hield comprised the guards lineup.
In the semifinal round, Lauri Markkanen clashed with Joel Embiid and Embiid, who took the lead with a perfect chest pass, but couldn’t hit the bottom of the net with the 3 point while Markkanen splashed a 3 point in his first attempt.
In the interim, Dinwiddie eliminated the Nuggets’ guard Jamal Murray who missed the first 3 point attempt which left the window open for Dinwiddie who was right behind him to cash in with a shot behind the arc.
Dinwiddie was on song in the final round as he had already begun celebrations after a 3 point shot which hit nothing but the net, even before Markkanen could reach the line. The Knicks superstar Kristaps Porzingis was unable to defend his title as he suffered a torn ACL at the beginning of the month.
That’s a wrap on the events of the blissful All Star weekend. As we are now at the verge of the playoffs, stay connected with us to catch-up on the best action of NBA!
Until next week, keep balling!