By Art Garcia, NBA.com
Posted Feb 14 2009 10:59PM
PHOENIX -- So much for the for the 3-point threepeat.
Daequan Cook ended Jason Kapono's two-year reign as the NBA's best exhibition sharpshooter Saturday night. The Miami Heat guard needed overtime to do it, besting Orlando's Rashard Lewis in a Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout that surprisingly lacked drama despite the extra session.
Cook set up a winner-take-all by rallying late to tie Lewis at 15 and eliminate Kapono during the three-man finals. Cook nailed the money ball to force another 60 seconds and five racks.
"I was actually doing the math as I was shooting," Cook said. "When I got to the last rack, I knew I had to have all of them to at least stay in it to tie. It was going through my mind."
Actually, it wasn't that tough. He only needed to make the last four.
Once in the Shootout's shootout, Cook had little trouble as the Orlando swingman couldn't muster any magic. Lewis didn't connect until the third rack and petered out with seven points. Cook, sensing the title his for the taking, had it wrapped up halfway through the round and coasted to 19 points.
"It was a tough win," Cook said before adding, "I pulled it off tonight against some great competitors such as Jason Kapono."
Kapono was back to make a run at Three-Point history. As the 2007 and '08 champ, the Raptors' long-range specialist was gunning to join Hall of Famer Larry Bird and Craig Hodges as the only players to win the contest three consecutive years.
In a sign of what was to come, the night didn't start well for Kapono. He began slow in the first round and needed a late surge to slide into the finals. The same guy who tied Hodges' single-round record of 25 last year managed a pedestrian 14 in the first set of the finals. But no one found a groove in the first round. Lewis led off and heated up as the round wore on to finish with 17. Cook was consistent throughout and put up 18.
Of the three that didn't make the cut, Shootout rookies Danny Granger and Roger Mason appeared somewhat flustered and finished with only 13 points apiece. Nerves likely weren't the issue with seasoned vet Mike Bibby, who tailed off late and scored 14.
2008: Kopono fills it up
Toronto Raptors guard Jason Kapono kept his Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout title and dominated the 2008 field for good measure, too.
Kapono notched 25 points in the final round in New Orleans, tying the all-time record set in 1986 by Mark Price. He set a new mark for most points in a final round of the shootout, flipping in 20-of-25 shot attempts (including 10 in a row from the third ball of the first rack to the second ball of the third rack) for a total of 25 points.
"The way it was set up on the scoreboards, you couldn't tell what your score was, so you just had to go off of feel," Kapono said when asked if he knew if he was approaching the record on the last rack of the final round.
|2008 Foot Locker 3-Point Shootout|
|Catch the highlights from Jason Kapono's run to the Foot Locker 3-Point Shootout title.
Kapono vanquished the Cavs' Daniel Gibson in the finals to become the first back-to-back winner since Peja Stojakovic won the 2002 and 2003 titles.
He beat his own final round-record of 24 that he set last year in Las Vegas. Mark Price also had 24 in the final round of the 1994 shootout.
The 25 points by the Toronto forward also tied Craig Hodges' performance in 1986 for the most points in any round of the contest as well.
Kapono dominated Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (17 points first round, 14 points second round) and Gibson (17 points first round, 17 points second round) throughout, as he put up 20 points in the first round. Stojakovic scored 15 points, but couldn't get out of the first round. Richard Hamilton (14 points) also did not advance.
2007: Kapono Outlasts Arenas For Title
Jason Kapono tied Mark Price's final-round record with 24 points and outlasted Gilbert Arenas on his way to the 2007 Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout title. Arenas notched a first-round high of 23 points and had 17 in the finals. Defending champion Dirk Nowitzki had 20 in round one and nine in the finals, and Kapono narrowly made the finals with a first-round score of 19. Mike Miller (18), Damon Jones (15) and Jason Terry (10) were eliminated early.
2006: Dirk Outshoots Arenas, Allen For Title
Dirk Nowitzki defeated Gilbert Arenas and Ray Allen to take home the victory in the 2006 Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout as part of All-Star Weekend in Houston. Nowitzki finished the 2006 competition with 18 points in the final round, while Arenas tallied 16 and Allen collected 15. Defending champion Quentin Richardson failed to make it out of the first round. He and Chauncey Billups both banked 12 points. Dirk's teammate Jason Terry finished with 13 first-round points.
2005: Suns' Richardson Nails Down Title
Quentin Richardson burned the local favorite by revealing a hot hand. Richardson made his final nine shots to capture the Shootout on Saturday night, defeating defending champion Voshon Lenard and Kyle Korver in the finals.
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