2019 Taco Bell Skills Challenge
2019 Taco Bell Skills Challenge

Celtics' Tatum wins 2019 Taco Bell Skills Challenge on halfcourt shot

Tatum takes out Conley, Jokic and Young on path to victory

John Schuhmann

John Schuhmann NBA.com

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Jayson Tatum took out top competition to win the 2019 Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

An early lead meant nothing at the 2019 Taco Bell Skills Challenge. In all seven head-to-head matchups on Saturday, the winner was the player that was trailing after the mid-course pass (the most difficult skill in the challenge). In the final round, that was the Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum, who banked in a running 3-pointer from the mid-court line to defeat the Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young, who missed his pull-up 3-pointer as Tatum's heave dropped through the net.

"The previous two rounds, the guy was ahead of me," Tatum said. "Figured I'd let him get a shot attempt so I could get closer to the 3-point line. I didn't want to give Trae a chance. I honestly didn't know I was going to hit the shot, but I had to give myself a chance, throw it up there, and it worked out for the best."

In the semifinals, Tatum eliminated Denver's Nikola Jokic by draining his first three after Jokic built a lead by firing his first one-handed pass through the circle. And in a matchup of two guys traded for each other in last year's Draft, Luka Doncic had a slight edge over Young after connecting on his first pass, but Young beat him down the floor for the layup and then connected on his first 3-point attempt.

In the first round, Jokic eliminated Orlando's Nikola Vucevic by draining his first 3-pointer, and Tatum eliminated Memphis' Mike Conley when Conley missed his first two threes. Doncic eliminated the Lakers' Kyle Kuzma, who missed his first three 3-point attempts. And Young eliminated the Kings' De'Aaron Fox by hitting a running three after Fox missed his first attempt.

* * *

Participants:

Mike Conley, Grizzlies
Luka Doncic, Mavericks
De'Aaron Fox, Kings
Nikola Jokic, Nuggets
Kyle Kuzma, Lakers
Jayson Tatum, Celtics
Nikola Vucevic, Magic
Trae Young, Hawks

WINNER: Jayson Tatum

Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets was unable to defend his 2018 title due to injury.

Round One

  • Jokic beats Vucevic
  • Tatum beats Conley
  • Young beats Fox
  • Doncic beats Kuzma

Semifinals

  • Tatum beats Jokic
  • Young beats Doncic

Finals

  • Tatum beats Young

Official Release: Two All-Stars, two rookies among eight-player field

Taco Bell® Skills Challenge Winners

  • 2003 – Jason Kidd, New Jersey       
  • 2004 – Baron Davis, New Orleans
  • 2005 – Steve Nash, Phoenix
  • 2006 – Dwyane Wade, Miami
  • 2007 – Dwyane Wade, Miami
  • 2008 – Deron Williams, Utah
  • 2009 – Derrick Rose, Chicago         
  • 2010 – Steve Nash, Phoenix
  • 2011 – Stephen Curry, Golden State
  • 2012 – Tony Parker, San Antonio
  • 2013 – Damian Lillard, Portland
  • 2014 – Trey Burke, Utah and Damian Lillard, Portland
  • 2015 – Patrick Beverley, Houston
  • 2016 – Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota
  • 2017 – Kristaps Porzingis, New York
  • 2018 – Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn
  • 2019 – Jayson Tatum, Boston

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