By John Schuhmann, NBA.com
ORLANDO -- Usually, the Haier Shooting Stars competition at All-Star Saturday Night comes down to the half-court shot. But things were different this year, as Team New York won its first Shooting Stars title with an efficient performance through the first five shots.
And by the way, Allan Houston, who hasn't played an NBA game in over seven years, can still stroke it. Houston hit the half-court shot in both rounds for New York, which recorded the two best times of the competition, 38.7 seconds in the first round and 37.3 in the final.
But Houston quickly put a stop to any talk about a comeback after the competition.
"It feels good to have a uniform again," he said, "but that's about it. That's about the limits of it."
As well has Houston shot the ball from way deep, New York won this by getting to the half-court shot faster than anybody else. In the first round, they made three of their first five shots on the first try. And in the final, they made each of their first four shots on the first attempt.
The Liberty's Cappie Pondexter was 4-for-4 on shots from the right side and right baseline. Houston was 4-for-6 on shots from the left elbow and 3-point line. And Landry Fields was 2-for-4 on 3-pointers from the top.
"We came up with a good strategy," Houston said. "Everybody hit their shots, and once you get to the half court, just kind of have to hit the first few and then it could take you a little while."
TNT's Kenny Smith hit Team Houston's first half-court shot in the final, but Houston was undone by a poor performance in the shorter shots. They needed 16 attempts to get through those first five shots, with Sophia Young needing five to hit the right baseline jumper and Chandler Parsons needing four attempts to hit the left-wing 3-pointer.
So even though Smith picked up his teammates by nailing the first half-courter, Houston's time of 47.6 seconds was five seconds worse than their first-round mark.
In the first round, Team Orlando needed 13 attempts to make their first five shots and finished with a competition's worst time, 1:04. Team Atlanta, the defending champs, got through the first five shots in nine attempts, but needed 11 attempts to nail the half-court shot.
Atlanta knocks off Texas in sharp-shooting competition
The Haier Shooting Stars competition at All-Star Saturday Night always seems to come down to the half-court shot. And perhaps the real winner this year was the law of averages.
Defending champion Team Texas had the competition's best first-round time, 31.8 seconds, because TNT analyst and former Rocket Kenny Smith hit the team's first half-court shot. But in the final round, Texas didn't hit any of its 18 attempts from half-court before the 1:20 time limit was reached.
That gave Team Atlanta, which had a final-round time of 1:10 while making the half-court shot on its 18th attempt, its first Shooting Stars title in the 10-year history of the competition.
Hometown team takes title
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. The win came four years after his Dallas Mavericks lost the 2006 NBA Finals to the Miami Heat on the same floor.
Detroit team rolls in Phoenix
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.
Team San Antonio rules
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.
Team Detroit takes over Vegas
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).