NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 16, 2008 -- Jason Kapono’s jumper was falling and so too were records in the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout.

He wasn’t just in the zone, "the zone" might as well been his jersey because that's how fully submerged in it he was.

Allen Iverson’s favorite cliché applied: The hoop was an ocean and the ball was a stone.

The ball had a magnetic attraction to the center of the rim.

He was knocking down treys like a clumsy kid in the school cafeteria.

His jumper was so wet there’s a puddle on the court below the rim.

It was like he was trying out to make it as an actor in that scene in the movie Pleasantville where the team can't miss a shot from the outside.

Kapono set a new mark for most points in a final round of the shootout, flipping in 20-of-25 shot attempts (including 10 in a row from the third ball of the first rack to the second ball of the third rack) for a total of 25 points.

“The way it was set up on the scoreboards, you couldn’t tell what your score was, so you just had to go off of feel,” Kapono said when asked if he knew if he was approaching the record on the last rack of the final round.

I’d say he felt pretty good.

He beat his own final round record of 24 that he set last year in Las Vegas. Mark Price also had 24 in the final round of the 1994 shootout.

The 25 points by the Toronto forward also tied Craig Hodges’ performance in 1986 for the most points in any round of the contest as well.

Kapono dominated Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (17 points first round, 14 points second round) and Cleveland’s Daniel Gibson (17 points first round, 17 points second round) throughout, as he put up 20 points in the first round.

He is the first back-to-back winner since 2003 when Peja Stojakovic did it as a member of the Sacramento Kings. On Saturday, the now Hornet Stojakovic’s 15 points weren’t enough to get out of the first round. Steve Nash (nine points) and Richard Hamilton (14 points) also did not advance.

The five-year veteran Kapono hit all five money balls in the final round, including the last one with teammate Chris Bosh cheering him on a few feet away on the sideline.

“He was on the sideline telling me to shoot it,” Kapono said. “That’s what he always tells me.”

This just in: Chris Bosh is smart.

When you talk about the best shooting stroke in the association, most people bring up Ray Allen, Michael Redd, Mike Miller or Peja. That needs to change. Jason Kapono is the best shooter alive and he’s proved it two years in a row.

Williams Tips the Scale in his Favor

The “Who is the better point guard – Deron Williams or Chris Paul?” question is supplanting Coke vs. Pepsi as the ultimate debate nowadays.

On Saturday in the Playstation Skills Challenge the answer was Williams.

Utah’s third-year stud beat New Orleans’ Paul in the finals, setting a record in the process by completing the course in 25.5 seconds. His perfect round started off with a dunk (instead of the safe bet of a lay-up that most contestants usually go for) and ended with an even more impressive flush that eclipsed the previous best time of 25.8 seconds set by Steve Nash in 2005.

Paul clocked a final-round time of 31.2 seconds, making two key miscues when he had to attempt the first chest pass twice and the jump shot twice.

Paul and Williams made it to the finals after finishing the first round in 29.9 and 31.2, respectively.

“It’s a rivalry,” Williams said. “We like to go against each other.

“I’m a competitive guy, so I kind of did want the victory. Even though it’s about fun, I wanted to win so I’m happy about that.”

Dwyane Wade, the event’s reigning champion the last two years running, didn’t bother practicing the course beforehand, and it might have come back to haunt him.

Wade struggled to finish the course, taking 53.9 seconds and running into problems at every stage from losing his dribble out of bounds, to giving up on the jumper after four misses to even missing two layups before mercifully ending the round.

New Jersey’s Jason Kidd also competed, bowing out after finishing the course in 39.7 seconds in the first round.

As Luck Would Have It

There are two key questions when it comes to the Haier Shooting Stars competition.

One: Can your legend still stroke it?

Two: Is luck on your side? After all, you can cruise through your first five shots without a miss, but if you struggle with the halfcourt heave, you won't be going home with a trophy.

For Team San Antonio, the answer to question one seemed to be a resounding "no" (in fact, we're not sure if David Robinson could ever really stroke it in the first place), but the answer to question two was a resounding "yes."

In the first round, Robinson took seven tries to make the first shot, a seemingly simple bank shot from five feet out. But he made up for it by connecting on his first attempt (San Antonio's second overall) from halfcourt.

"The halfcourt shots saved us in each round," Becky Hammon told "That was huge."

In the final, San Antonio took four tries at the the heave (with Tim Duncan swishing it in), but Team Chicago, after taking seven tries to make the first five shots, missed their first 15 from halfcourt, and Team San Antonio came away with their second victory in the competition's seven-year history.

Detroit and Phoenix couldn't answer question No. 1 correctly, as Detroit's Bill Laimbeer and Phoenix's Eddie Johnson struggled with the three-pointer from the left wing leading to their team's elimination in the first round.
-- John Schuhmann