Final Money Ball Haunts Anderson in 3-Point Shootout

By Josh Cohen
February 25, 2012

ORLANDO – It may not quite compare to any past or future last-second potential game-winning 3-point shot he may attempt for the Orlando Magic, but in the moment it felt momentous.

All it would have taken was a connect from his sweet spot in his final crack at it, but unluckily Ryan Anderson’s corner money ball fling clanked off the side of the rim and bounced off.

And instead of describing it as the most exhilarating minute of his life, which it may certainly have been if that pressure-packed shot hit the bottom of the net, Anderson labeled it “the longest minute of my life.”

A final tally of 17 was still impressive for the leader in 3-pointers made this season, but as a result of some imposing long-range shooting from his competition, Anderson was eliminated after the First Round in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout at All-Star Saturday Night in Orlando.

Like it generally is for any participant in the shootout, it was a roller coaster ride for Anderson in his quest to dazzle in front of the hometown fans.

He sunk three in the first rack, two from the right wing, three from straightaway, three from the left wing and two in the final rack in the corner. You can’t make this stuff up: he made all four money balls before the final rack.

“It was the money ball that came back and killed me,” Anderson said. “I did some preparation a little in the morning and I scored 24. But I couldn’t get a hang of the money balls for some reason.”

Somewhat satirical, one power forward’s disappointment ultimately led to another power forward’s delight.

Kevin Love, a familiar foe of Anderson dating back to their days at UCLA and Cal respectively, would have been eliminated if the Magic’s Anderson connected on that last attempt.

But instead, Love, who finished with a score of 18 in the First Round, won a tiebreaker with Mario Chalmers to advance to the Finals and then eventually defeated Kevin Durant to claim the grand honor.

Still, the 6’10 Magic forward enjoyed the experience and said he would definitely participate again if ever given the opportunity.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It was truly a blessing to do this.”

Anderson admitted he never got much of a chance to practice, largely because of the compressed schedule and the frequent number of games played every week.

“I’m glad I know what it’s like now,” Anderson added. “You start thinking about who’s going to be there, what the music will be like. Ultimately, though, it’s just a minute of shooting.”

Now with the pressure and ambiguity in the rear view mirror, the NBA’s 3-point leader can focus on helping the Magic and their quest to win the NBA championship.

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