Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum got to warm up their shooting hands prior to Sunday night’s All-Star Game in Atlanta, as they went hand-to-hand with some of the NBA’s best snipers in the coveted MTN DEW 3-Point Contest.
The Celtics wing tandem represented one-third of the event’s competition, which also included Utah’s Mike Conley, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Chicago’s Zach LaVine, and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell.
Brown faced the tall task of leading off the competition and did quite well from a percentage standpoint, making 14 of his 27 attempts for a respectable 51.9 percent clip. However, he only made one of his nine money ball attempts (worth two points apiece) and went 1-for-2 from the MTN DEW Zone (located deep between each wing and the top of the arc, worth three points apiece). That left him with a total of 17 points, which was not enough to carry him into the final round.
But the experience in itself was enough for Brown, who stated before the competition that he was “extremely grateful to be here,” competing in his hometown area.
Next up was Tatum, who wound up faring much better than his wing-mate. Tatum started off hot, making eight of his first 10 shots, which set the tone for a 19-of-27 (70.1 percent) performance. Four of his makes came off of money balls, including three directly from the money ball rack. Like Brown, he also sunk 1-of-2 from the MTN DEW Zone for an extra three points.
Prior to the shootout, Tatum was able to get a little practice in and that seemed to help him get a feel for the competition.
“I got some practice, worked on it a couple of times just to kind of get the technique down,” he said. “It is a difference grabbing the balls off the rack. The balls are different, the money balls, so I had to practice for that.”
In his case, the practice paid off. Tatum’s 25-point first-round total was enough to carry him into the final round, where he would face off against Conley and Curry.
However, the vets would end up getting the best of the 23-year-old.
Tatum’s shooting hand cooled off in the final round as he connected on 13-of-27 from deep, including 2-of-9 on money balls and 1-of-2 from the MTN DEW Zone for a total of 17 points. Conley followed that up with a 27-point effort, which Curry one-upped with a 28-point gem, which included a walk-off 3-pointer on his final money ball shot.
Even though Brown and Tatum didn’t bring home any hardware, it was a great opportunity for them to compete among some of the league’s elite sharpshooters while also getting to warm up their shooting hands for the main event later that night.
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