NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by America Online (9 p.m. ET, TNT)
Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout Preview
Feb. 18, 2005 - In 2001, Ray Allen, then a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, poured in 20 points in the opening round and hit for 19 in the final round on his way to winning his first Shootout title. Allen stumbled the following year and didn't make it out of the first round, but has a shot to claim a second title when he takes part in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by America Online.
Allen is joined by SuperSonics' teammate Vladimir Radmanovic; Denver's Voshon Lenard, the defending champion; Phoenix's Joe Johnson and Quentin Richardson; and Kyle Korver of the Philadelphis 76ers in the contest.
NBA.com caught up with the long-range bombers on Friday to see who's feeling confident and who has the best shot at winning it all this year.
RAY ALLEN, Seattle SuperSonics
Q: Do you think the three-pointer can ever excite the fans like a big dunk does?
Allen: I think the dunk is out nowadays. Shooters are in nowadays. The dunk used to be the nail-in-the-coffin, used to be the demoralizer back in the early Ď90s, the whole decade. Now, when you see somebody just constantly pounding threes on a team, when you see it coming from me and you see it coming from Vlad (Radmanovic) and you see it coming from Rashard (Lewis), and weíre on the road, you can hear that deafening moan from the arena that the fans are like, ďWeíre about to get killed out here tonight.Ē So the three-point shot is very dangerous and it hurts the opponent.
Q: Would you trade your ability to hit a jumper to be able to jump?
JOE JOHNSON, Phoenix Suns
Q: How different do you think it will be to have to take balls off the rack as opposed to Nash passing to you?
Johnson: It's not as easy as it may look, it's kinda difficult, but I tell you, I think I can manage.
Q: How much do you and Quentin Richardson talk about this contest?
Q: Do you guys have any side bets going?
Q: The way you guys throw the ball up in Phoenix, you probably already have the endurance to hoist 30 shots in the contest?
Q: Do you think you'll change your shooting style to conserve energy?
KYLE KORVER, Philadelphia 76ers
Q: Did you learn anything last year that may give you an advantage this year?
Korver: I think Iím just a lot more comfortable. I know what to expect; I know whatís going on. Itís not like you change your technique. I just think my confidence levelís a little higher and hopefully that will show.
Q: How different is it shooting without somebody guarding you?
Q: Do you approach the contest as you shooting against yourself more than against the competition?
Q: Are you happy that Voshon Lenard is able to defend his title from last year?
Q: Is he the man to beat?
VOSHON LENARD, Denver Nuggets
Q: Who will be your biggest competition?
Lenard: Everybody. Everybody thatís on that roster for the three-point contest can shoot the ball so itís going to be a difficult competition.
Q: But youíve got the homecourt advantage Ö
Q: Howís the rehab on your Achilles?
Q: Do you feel like the marked man because youíre the reigning champion?
Q: How much have you been able to practice? Lenard: Well Iíve been shooting pretty good but when you get out there and the lights get on, itís a whole different situation. Iím used to it, so it should be fun.
VLADIMIR RADMANOVIC, Seattle SuperSonics
Q: Whatís it like to be a part of this?
Radmanovic: Itís great. Itís a great feeling just to be here with all those guys knowing that youíre going to be a three-point contest. I just want to see all those guys with a sad face when we finish it.
Q: Have you been practicing?
Q: Do you have any favorite three-point shooters?
Q: Are you surprised that Voshon Lenard is able to defend his title despite being out for the season with an Achilles injury?
QUENTIN RICHARDSON, Phoenix Suns
Q: Have you and Joe Johnson been talking about the Shootout?
Richardson: No, not really. Not yet. Joeís kind of quiet. He hasnít really said a lot to me about the competition yet. But, Iím going to mess with him a little bit.
Q: Who do you think will fare better between the two of you?
Q: So no bets between you two on the contest?