Love Wins 3-Point Contest, Williams Close In Sprite Slam
Timberwolves forward Kevin Love said the night he was selected as a reserve for this year’s NBA All-Star Game that he expected to be in the Foot Locker 3-Point Contest and, without hesitation, said he was confident he could win it.
On Saturday, he backed it up.
Love went to two head-to-head tiebreakers in the two round event at Amway Center, coming out on top both times en route to the victory. He edged Miami’s Mario Chalmers after an 18-18 tie for third place in Round 1, then topped Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant after tying in the finals at 16 apiece.
Love, who said Durant would be his toughest competition earlier in the day, said he wasn’t surprised it was the Thunder’s star forward battling him in the finals.
“Once he was added to the competition I thought, ‘Oh, no,’” Love said. “He’s the type of guy that could get hot.”
Since Love was officially added to the 3-Point Contest, he spent extra time after Wolves practices preparing for the event. Among those helping him get ready was assistant coach Terry Porter, who previously competed in the event himself as a player. Love gave Porter a great deal of thanks for helping him mentally prepare for the night.
“He took me through 25-30 rounds over the course of a few weeks,” Love said. “He told me what the feelings are going to be like, where to start, what rhythm to get into.”
Love said Porter was right there with him taking shots, showing he’s still got his 3-point touch. The new champion said Porter, in his prime, would have been a tough opponent to beat.
“T.P. would be very tough to beat,” Love said. “But I think now that I’m the champ, I think I could probably get him.”
Love defeated Durant and James Jones—who won the contest last year—in the final round. New Jersey’s Anthony Morrow, Orlando’s Ryan Anderson and Chalmers rounded out the field.
Williams comes close in Sprite Slam
Wolves rookie Derrick Williams already knows what his first order of business is when he returns to Target Center. He’s aching to complete his third and final dunk from the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest that he wasn’t able to complete Saturday in Orlando.
Williams attempted a pass off the backboard, putting the ball through his legs and jamming it home. With it, he might have won the competition with an eruption from a packed Amway Center. Without it, he finished behind Utah’s Jeremy Evans in the fan-voted finish. Indiana’s Paul George and Houston’s Chase Budinger also competed. Williams said he was told he placed second in the competition.
“I want to make that dunk, man,” Williams said. “As soon as I get back to Minnesota, I’m going to try it.”
Williams entered in style Saturday, riding in on a motorcycle with Wolves mascot Crunch before flying over the bike for his first slam.
His second attempt was one of the highlights of the night, taking a pass from teammate Ricky Rubio off the side of the backboard and completing a 360-degree jam in Round 2. Williams said it was the first time the two had tried to connect on the dunk.
“During the practice time, I had a random guy that was working throw the pass and I got it,” Williams said. “I was really confident about it. All I needed was to get the right pass, and Ricky threw a great pass as always.”
His third and final dunk ranked near the top of the most difficult of the night. He couldn’t throw it down on several attempts, opting at the buzzer to not go between his legs while executing the dunk.
“You could just tell the crowd was getting a little antsy,” Williams said. “If you get that, you pretty much win the contest. But you’re just trying to put on a show.”
Williams said he enjoyed being part of an event he grew up watching.
“It was fun, especially me being a rookie,” he said. “I’m still 20 years old, so I’ve been watching dunk contests since I was a kid. Some of the best guys that have done it like Vince Carter. I grew up watching those guys, so I tried doing my own stuff and mixed it in with their stuff. This whole weekend, the Slam Dunk competition was fun.”
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