Denver's Lenard wins his first try in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout
LOS ANGELES, Feb. 14
-- Voshon Lenard
let his money do the talking.
The Denver Nuggets guard took advantage of the red, white and blue two-point money balls, hitting four in the first round and all five en route to his final-round 18 and an upset victory in his first appearance in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout.
Voshon Lenard spoiled Peja Stojakovic's bid for a third consecutive three-point title.
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images
"It was just a matter of making that money ball," said Lenard afterward, "and some guys missed it. So when they did that, I knew I kind of had a chance with 18."
Sacramento's Peja Stojakovic, attempting to become the first player since Chicago's Craig Hodges in 1992 to win the event three consecutive years, came into the night as the favorite but was betrayed by his normally reliable shooting touch, missing five straight shots in the final round to post a second-place 16. Philadelphia 76ers rookie Kyle Korver finished third with 15.
"I just wanted to come in, be relaxed," said Lenard. "I knew it was going to be a tough one with Peja being champion. Everybody was expecting him to win. So I think they put a lot of pressure on him to come out and be the three-time champion."
In the first round, it appeared as though the event may once again belong to Stojakovic as the All-Star forward cruised to a 21, the high score of the evening. But in the finals, after knocking down nine of his first 13 -- including two bonus balls -- he rimmed out six of his next seven to record his lowest non-overtime score in his four years of shootout participation.
"I started good, then got a little cold during the fourth rack," said Stojakovic. "I finished pretty strong, but it wasn’t enough."
He could have tied Lenard to force overtime on his final shot, but the bonus ball floated wide.
Said Lenard, "First of all, I did not want to have a shoot-off with him, so I'm glad he struggled toward the end. With him being a two-time champion, I knew it was not going to be easy. The only thing that you can do with a shooter like that is try to hang in there, and that's what I did."
Korver posted a 19 -- making nine of his last 10 attempts -- and Lenard an 18 in the first round to advance to the matchup against Stojakovic in the final. Seattle's Rashard Lewis (16), Houston's Cuttino Mobley (13) and Detroit's Chauncey Billups (12) rounded out the field.