Posted Feb 16, 2014 1:36 AM
> Winner -- Team West: Trey Burke (Utah) & Damian Lillard (Portland)
> Burke & Lillard win with 45.2 seconds in Championship Round
> Team West's win resulted in a $100,000 donation for the Teach for America & Wounded Warrior Project
NEW ORLEANS -- Here's what we know about the Taco Bell Skills Challenge: Point guards do it better.
The Western Conference team of Utah rookie point guard Trey Burke and Portland's All-Star point guard Damian Lillard took the title, navigating the course that tests speed, agility, passing and shooting in a time of 45.2 seconds.
That time was just fast enough to nip the East squad of Philadelphia rookie point guard Michael Carter-Williams and Orlando shooting guard Victor Oladipo, who finished in 45.3.
In a format change to the competition this year, the West and East each fielded two teams of two players each in something of a two-man relay. The team in each conference that finished the course -- weaving through standstill defenders, passing the ball through a circular target, making a straightaway 3-pointer and then running (although some chose to jog) down the floor for a layup or dunk to stop the clock -- in the fastest time advanced to the final.
The West had a built-in advantage because both of its teams were manned by true point guards: Burke and Lillard, and Phoenix's Goran Dragic with Oklahoma City's Reggie Jackson. Only one of the four East competitors was a true point guard, that being Carter- Williams, who teamed with Oladipo. The other East team saw Bucks rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo, a gangly, 6-foot-9 small forward, paired with Toronto shooting guard DeMar DeRozan.
The latter was the first out of the competition as Carter-Williams and Oladipo knocked out Antetokounmpo and DeRozan by nearly two full seconds.
Burke and Lillard were near-flawless in the first round and finished in a competition-best 40.6 seconds, besting Dragic and Jackson's 42.3 seconds.
That pit Burke and Lillard, who won the competition last year when it was still an individual event, against Carter-Williams and Oladipo in the final.
The East team went first and Carter-Williams failed to connect on his first pass and then missed his first two 3-point attempts before nailing his third try. Oladipo gave them a fighting chance by draining his first 3-point attempt leading to a time of 45.3 seconds.
Still, it seemed plenty of cushion for the West finalists to bring home the title. Only Lillard rattled out his first pass and needed three 3-point attempts to get one to drop. Burke got out of the passing test on his first try, but also needed three 3-balls to get one to go down.
As he headed upcourt for the final layup, Burke didn't exactly attack the rim, but rather casually went up for a finger roll. It tickled the twine in the nick of time as the clock stopped with a winning margin of 0.1 seconds.
-- Jeff Caplan
> Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
> DeMar DeRozan, Toronto Raptors
> Michael Carter-Williams, Phila. 76ers
> Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
> Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
> Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
> Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
> Reggie Jackson, Oklahoma City Thunder
Reigning champion Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and DeMar DeRozan of the Toronto Raptors, both All-Stars for the first time this year, headline the list of participants for the 2014 Taco Bell® Skills Challenge (#TacoBellSkills), taking place during State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night (#StateFarmSaturday), at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on Saturday, Feb. 15. Lillard, the 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, also is participating in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest and Sprite Slam Dunk, becoming the first player to appear in three events during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night. He also is participating in the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Feb. 14, and the 2014 NBA All-Star Game on Feb. 16.
Representing the Eastern Conference are DeRozan and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks on one team, and Michael Carter-Williams of the Philadelphia 76ers and Victor Oladipo of the Orlando Magic on the other. Antetokounmpo, Carter-Williams and Oladipo are also participating in the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.
Joining Lillard on one Western Conference team is Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz, while Reggie Jackson of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns comprise the other. More >>
Rookie Lillard takes 2013 Taco Bell Skills Challenge
The Blazers' Damian Lillard became the first rookie to win the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, defeating Jrue Holiday by 5.8 seconds in the final and earning 10 points for the Western Conference in the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night competition.
The top of the key was the key for Lillard. He was the only competitor on the night to make his first attempt on the jump shot from that spot, making up for a couple of mistakes on the bounce pass and the outlet pass. He finished with a time of 29.8 seconds.
Spurs' Parker takes 2012 Skills Challenge competition
Tony Parker clocked the fastest time, 29.2 seconds, in the first round of the obstacle course that requires a chest pass and a bounce pass through a target, a shot from the top of the key and an outlet pass before finishing with a dunk or layup.
Once in the last round, Parker clocked 32.8 seconds with a circuit clean of mistakes other than needing a second bounce pass. Rajon Rondo was second at 34.6 and Williams third with 41.4.
Stephen Curry takes 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Stephen Curry dominated the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, posting the only sub-30 second score of the night to take the title, beating fellow guards Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook.
Nash flies to victory in Taco Bell Skills Competition
Steve Nash tacked on a bit more at the start: Fly to Vancouver, carry the torch in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, fly to Dallas to practice for the Western Conference All-Stars, then do the Skills Challenge. All in a 24-hour-plus period.
Nash out-dueled Deron Williams in the final round to take home his second Taco Bell Skills Challenge title (he also won in 2005).
Top Pick Rose Finishes Skills Challenge With Flair
Finishing off his winning time of 35.3 seconds with an emphatic double-pump reverse dunk, the Chicago Bulls guard became the first rookie to win the PlayStation Skills Challenge when he defeated New Jersey's Devin Harris in the championship round of the 2009 Skills Challenge.
Deron Williams Breezes To Skills Title
Deron Williams shook off some jitters in the first round and was flawless in the finals (no missed shots, every pass through the hoops) to edge Chris Paul for the 2008 Playstation Skills Challenge title. Williams' final time of 25.5 seconds was just one tick off the all-time mark set by Steve Nash in the first round in 2005.
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade took home the PlayStation Skills Challenge title for the second straight year, posting a final-round time of 26.4 seconds to best Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant. Wade's first-round time of 31.3 seconds was second only to Bryant (29.8) and eliminated Cleveland's LeBron James (35.4) and New Orleans/Oklahoma City's Chris Paul (39.6).
2013 -- Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
2012 -- Tony Parker, Spurs
2011 -- Stephen Curry, Warriors
2010 -- Steve Nash, Suns
2009 -- Derrick Rose, Bulls
2008 -- Deron Williams, Jazz
2007 -- Dwyane Wade, Heat
2006 -- Dwyane Wade, Heat
2005 -- Steve Nash, Suns
2004 -- Baron Davis, Hornets
2003 -- Jason Kidd, Nets
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