Zach LaVine scores 22 in All-Star 3-point contest

LaVine had a solid showing but was ultimately eliminated after Steph Curry's first round outing,
by Sam Smith
Remind Me Later
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Zach LaVine was shooting for 1 from the 3. He finished 4.

LaVine Sunday in the pregame activities before the NBA All-Star game again lost out in his attempt to become the first ever NBA player to win the dunk and three-point contests. LaVine in the six-player shootout was eliminated in the first round with 22 points, tied with Donovan Mitchell of Utah. Last year in the contest in Chicago, LaVine was eliminated in the first round with 22 points.

Stephen Curry won the event by making his last shot, a two-point "money ball" for the victory over Mike Conley of Utah. Jayson Tatum finished well behind in the final round. Jaylen Brown was sixth in the sextet.

"I was upset with myself," LaVine said. "I missed some green money balls. That's what holds you back. If you make one of those it really helps. Counting on him (Stephen Curry shooting last) going into the last guy is not the guy you count on (to miss). I pretty much put my warmup on by that point."

LaVine finished his tour around five shooting racks effectively, making eight of his last nine shots. But he failed to make either of the three-point green balls for the Mountain Dew sponsor. Players could choose which rack to place their two-point ABA balls. LaVine chose his first rack in the left corner. LaVine's first round began unevenly. He missed his first two attempts. He made his last three "money balls."

Zach LaVine

Zach LaVine scored 22 points in his three-point contest appearance on Sunday night.

In last season's contest, LaVine made all 10 of his attempts from the corner racks. But this year he missed three crucial two-point shots from those spots.

Though LaVine was at a disadvantage given the format of a so-called catch-and-shoot contest by picking a ball off a rack. LaVine in an interview with the TNT crew before the contest noted he doesn't shoot as many threes in catch-and-shoot circumstances. LaVine this season has made about a third of his threes from standing and shooting positions.

Though it was a celebration and also a revelation for LaVine, the 25-year-old Bulls star who drew one of the pre-tournament interviews with the TNT cast. Chicagoan Dwyane Wade on the panel predicted LaVine would win. Reggie Miller selected Curry, but for the sake of UCLA, where both played in college, Miller had LaVine as his second choice.

LaVine was dressed in the navy blue shooting tournament uniform with All-Star written across the front and an All-Star logo on the shorts, LaVine's number eight in a circle and a star below next to an NBA logo. LaVine also was wearing a long blue sleeve on his left arm with his name below the number eight on the reverse.

TNT commentator Kenny Smith during the event was frequently urging LaVine to keep more legs in his shot while Miller observed LaVine appeared to be getting frustrated missing seven of his first 13 attempts plus the two three-point green balls. LaVine made four consecutive on his last rack as he appeared to realize he could not afford to miss another. He then missed the fifth "money ball." LaVine then leaned over as if he were punched in the gut. He offered a weak smile as he seemed to smirk in apparent realization he likely was to fall short in reaching the final round.

LaVine then walked off across the court, but into his dream of playing in his first NBA All-Star game.

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The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or its Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.

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