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Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris Ready for All-Star Saturday Night

Harris defending 3-Point title and Dinwiddie returns to Skills Challenge

Will it be another special Saturday night at All-Star Weekend for the Brooklyn Nets?

Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie are headed to Chicago seeking a second trophy. Two years ago, Dinwiddie won the Skills Challenge, but he was unable to defend the title last February as he was sidelined after thumb surgery. Last year, Harris made his All-Star Weekend debut and captured the crown in the 3-Point Contest.

This time, they’ll both be in action as Dinwiddie returns to the Skills Challenge and Harris attempts to defend his title.

“For Joe, I would say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Dinwiddie. “My man got a burner. He won last year, so go for it. For me, yeah, they set up a practice course for you to do it. Quite honestly, if you guys have ever seen me practice, you know I’m gonna walk through it. At the end of the day, the Skills Challenge is all about who can hit the 3-point shot first. The other stuff is pretty basic. Take your time with the pass because it’s not that difficult. Just take your time, try not to smoke it. Other than that, people get hung up on the 3-point rack. When I won, I was just fortunate enough to just knock ‘em down. If you look at it, I was behind a couple times and cashed a three and beat guys. And then Lauri (Markkanen in the final), he didn’t want no smoke.”

Here’s a look at what they’re up against, with all the action available on TNT beginning at 8 p.m. from the United Center. The Skills Challenge will be up first, followed by the 3-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest.

TACO BELL SKILLS CHALLENGE

Dinwiddie will be part of an eight-man field that also includes Miami’s Bam Adebayo, the LA Clippers’ Patrick Beverley, Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam, and Boston’s Jayson Tatum.

With Dinwiddie absent, Tatum won last year’s event. Beverley is the 2015 champion.

The event is a three-round series of head-to-head competitions, with first-round matchups to be determined on the night of the event. Competitors must dribble a slalom course from one end of the court to the other, complete a pass through a target, dribble the length of the course back for a layup, then return to the other end and make a 3-pointer to complete the course, with the first finisher advancing.

Back in 2018, Dinwiddie defeated Sacramento’s Buddy Hield in the first round, coming from behind to win by hitting his first 3-point attempt. He did the same to edge Denver’s Jamal Murray in the semifinals. He held off Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen in the final despite missing his first 3-point attempt, knocking it down on attempt No. 2.

“I was obviously super-appreciative of the opportunity,” said Dinwiddie. “It was serendipitous because it was in L.A. and a lot of guys kind of chill. I was trying to win that thing. Being at home, I was really trying to win it. I probably won’t have the same fervor, but, yeah, that’s what I remember. I was actually out there trying to win that thing.”

MTN DEW 3-POINT CONTEST

There’s a new format as Harris returns to the 3-point contest.

The event has added two new shooting locations called the “MTN DEW Zone.” Located between the top-of-the-key rack and the wing racks, each of the two zones will feature a 3-point ball and will be six feet beyond the 3-point line. The remaining four racks will again feature 16 one-point balls and nine two-point balls — five of which will make up the money ball rack. Each shooter’s round will now be expanded from 60 seconds to 70 seconds, and the maximum score jumps from 34 points to 40 points. The three highest scores from the first round will advance to the championship round.

The field has been cut from last season’s 10 competitors to eight. Harris will be joined by Washington’s Davis Bertans, Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Charlotte’s Devonte’ Graham, Sacramento’s Buddy Hield, Chicago’s Zach LaVine, Miami’s Duncan Robinson, and Atlanta’s Trae Young.

Hield was in last year's event, advancing to the final round along with Harris and Steph Curry. Booker was announced Thursday as a replacement for the injured Lillard in both the 3-Point Contest and the All-Star Game. Lillard had competed in the 3-Point Contest last year.

“At the end of the day, it’s not super taxing physically,” said Harris. “I think it’s just more of stuff like this. You have to do a lot of events and media and different things that way. But you can manage that too. There’s only a few things that are mandated by the NBA. The rest is sort of your own volition to go and do it as a you please. But the actual event is a lot of fun. Just given the fact that I won last year I feel like I’m sort of obligated to go back and defend the crown.”

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