The events, which included the Haier Shooting Stars, Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and Sprite Slam Dunk, were arguably some of the most closely contested in recent memory.
Two of the four competitions involved some form of tiebreaker and the newly formatted Slam Dunk, championed by Utah’s Jeremy Evans, was decided by a 1-percent margin among 4-million votes.
Evans, who was added to the dunk contest as a replacement for injured Knicks guard Iman Shumpert, won largely behind his second dunk of the night. Evans, nicknamed “The Human Pogo Stick” dunked two basketballs over his seated assistant Gordon Hayward. Hayward was in a chair in the middle of the lane tossed two balls simultaneously to Evans, who threw down one with his left hand and followed with his right.
Despite Evans’ two-ball dunk, Indiana’s Paul George seemingly stole the show with his second attempt of the night.
The second-year forward out of Fresno State emerged from back stage wearing a yellow and white Pacers uniform along with a bright florescent ball. After requesting for the Amway Center lights to be shut off, George’s jersey, shoes, headband, and ball glowed in the dark. Amidst the darkness, George threw down a 360-degree, right-hander.
Earlier in the night, Minnesota’s Kevin Love defeated Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest 17-14 in what amounted to an overtime round after the duo was tied at 16 points. Love barely survived the first round by eliminating Miami’s Mario Chalmers in a 24-second tiebreaker.
“I knew it was going to be a stiff competition,” Love said. “When Kevin and I tied, then when it came to the last round, I was a little worried about Kevin coming up behind me; I thought 16 was going to be a little bit too low.”
In the second event of the evening, Tony Parker won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge with a final-round time of 32.8 seconds, overtaking Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams in the last group. Rondo advanced to the finals with Williams and Parker by running past Washington guard John Wall in a tiebreaker in the first round.
Wall and Rondo tied at 32.8 seconds, but the Celtics star blew through his second attempt at the obstacle course with a near-record time of 27.5 seconds.
The lead off competition saw the New York team of Allan Houston, Landry Fields, and Cappie Pondexter win the Haier Shooting Stars.
BLAKE GRIFFIN AND CHRIS PAUL ON THE VIDEO BOARD
Clippers All-Stars Blake Griffin and Chris Paul did not attend the Saturday festivities, but they were still featured on the video board during a timeout.
In a taped segment of a game that was similar to “Password,” Paul gave Griffin clues without giving away the word.
Their subject was words that include the letter Q. The words were quarter, Quick, quack, quiet, squint, quotes, equal, squat, equator, aquarium,
Here are two of Paul’s funniest clues:
“Caron [Butler] always does this when he shoots…”
“Big whales live in this thing…”
“Big whales live in this thing…”
A puzzled Griffin looked at him and after a longer explanation from his point guard, he finally guessed, “Aquarium.” It was the final clue in the allotted minute and the video ended with the duo laughing as Griffin question Paul’s suggestion that whales could live in an aquarium.