By Fran Blinebury, NBA.com
Posted Feb 13 2010 11:34PM
DALLAS -- Four years later, Dirk Nowitzki finally got his championship on the court at American Airlines Center.
Nowitzki joined Becky Hammon of the WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars and former Houston Rockets star Kenny Smith to lead Team Texas to victory in the Haier Shooting Stars competition on All-Star Saturday Night.
So, is it redemption for his Dallas Mavericks losing the 2006 NBA Finals to the Miami Heat on the same floor?
"What happened in 2006?" asked a laughing Nowitzki. "It's obviously a great, fun way to start off the weekend for me. I have a lot of people here, a lot of Germans who were following me and we brought a crowd to Dallas, so it was great."
Team Texas beat out the Los Angeles team of Pau Gasol (Lakers), Marie Ferdinand-Harris (Sparks) and Brent Barry (Clippers) in the finals, winning with a blazing time of 34.3.
The Atlanta team of Joe Johnson, Angel McCoughtry and Steve Smith and the Sacramento team of Tyreke Evans, Nicole Powell and Chris Webber were eliminated in the first round.
"I'm not going to say anything to [TNT broadcast partner] Charles [Barkley] that I have another trophy that he didn't win," joked Smith. "Hey, this is different from my NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. This was all fun. This was about having a shooter's touch. I shoot better in Texas."
Smith actually employed a strategy in the competition, which consisted mainly of trash-talking to Webber and Smith.
"I talked to C-Webb and I talked to Steve," Smith said. "I wanted to get inside their heads. I didn't think I could get inside Brent's head, but I also didn't think they could beat us, because we had Dirk. Our pro was a better shooter than their pro (Gasol). Hey, I'm the weak link.
"The thing is if you that first shot, it's trouble. I told Chris, 'If you miss the first shot, you're gonna miss five or six in a row.' I planted that seed in his head. What you've got to remember is a lot of guys have never been in a competition where you're just out there by yourself. You're used to playing with teammates and now it's just you and the 20,000. It's a different feel. It's not the same."
Hammon had previously won the Shooting Stars event at New Orleans when she teamed up with San Antonio Spurs stars Tim Duncan and David Robinson and took a little grief back home for joining a team with a Maverick leading the way.
"I felt pretty good coming into the night with Dirk," Hammon said. "But don't make me go sour on my boys from San Antonio. I always brag about Tim Duncan and David Robinson being very nice and Dirk is just as good a gentleman."
Nowitzki, a former winner of the Three-Point Contest, chuckled and said he's considering go for a sweep of all the events on All-Star Saturday Night next year.
"Actually, I'm a little bit disappointed, because I wanted to shoot 3-pointers at home year," Nowitzki said. "But the NBA didn't invite me."
2009: The team from Phoenix was almost perfect in the eighth annual Haier Shooting Stars competition at All-Star Saturday Night. But almost doesn't count, and Team Detroit came away with its second win in the last three years.
The home team, Phoenix, hit its first five shots and made it to halfcourt in just 14 seconds, but the halfcourt heave was the team's undoing. The three shooters from Phoenix -- Leandro Barbosa, Dan Majerle and Tangela Smith -- needed more than 20 attempts there before Majerle finally sank one. By that time, Team Detroit was celebrating its victory.
Detroit needed 13 attempts to get through its first five shots, but only seven from halfcourt as the Shock's Katie Smith drained her third try from long distance. Smith helped her coach, Bill Laimbeer, become the first person to win a second Shooting Stars title. He teamed with Swin Cash and Chauncey Billups when Detroit won in 2007. Smith and Laimbeer were joined by Arron Afflalo this time around. They completed their final round run in a time of 58.4 seconds.
San Antonio, the defending Shooting Stars champions, was eliminated in the first round when David Robinson, Tim Duncan and Becky Hammon needed 15 attempts from halfcourt before Hammon sank one.
2008: Tim Duncan and David Robinson are no strangers to winning with one another, so, with the help of San Antonio Silver Stars sharpshooter Becky Hammon, it's no wonder they won yet another crown.
After an impressive run in the first round, Team San Antonio took care of business in the Shooting Stars challenge in New Orleans against Team Chicago, as Duncan drained a half-court shot to give the Texas threesome a time of 35.8 seconds.
2007: Team Detroit won the Shooting Stars challenge in Las Vegas by default as Team Chicago took its shots out of order in the final round. The team of Bill Laimbeer, Chauncey Billups and Swin Cash had the second-best first-round time by finishing the six-shot course in 1:06 and then needed just 50.5 seconds to complete its final-round run.
Chicago had the best first-round time (48.9 seconds), followed by Detroit, defending champion San Antonio (1:32) and Los Angeles (2:00).
2006: Team San Antonio dominated the competition in Houstopn with a record-setting time of 25.1 seconds. Tony Parker drilled the half-court shot on his first attempt to ice the contest.
The San Antonio trio, comprised of Parker, NBA legend Steve Kerr and the Silver Stars' Kendra Wecker, finished more than 15 seconds ahead of Team Los Angeles. Team Houston finished the six-shot course in 47.2 seconds, and last year's winners, Team Phoenix, took 47.7 ticks to hit all six buckets.
2005: WNBA Rookie of the Year Diana Taurasi of the Mercury, current Suns forward Shawn Marion and Phoenix legend Dan Majerle ran away with the Shooting Stars title in 2005 in Denver, completing the competition in a mere 28 seconds.
The Phoenix triumvirate wowed the crowd, finishing 16 seconds ahead of second-place Denver. The Detroit squad came in third while the defending champs, the Lakers, were fourth.
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