Starry 3-Point Contest Winner: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
SALT LAKE CITY – Finally, the clock hit Dame Time for Damian Lillard on Saturday in the Starry 3-Point Contest.
In his third career appearance in the event, Lillard bested 2020 3-point Contest winner Buddy Hield and third-year guard Tyrese Haliburton in the final round of the competition, and it was his accuracy on the “Starry” shots in the end that made all the difference.
Lillard knocked down two shots from “Starry” range, and those buckets counted for three points apiece in the final round as he edged out Hield 26-25. Lillard’s last attempt from the corner with a two-point money ball gave him the victory.
Haliburton looked like the early favorite, though.
Haliburton blew out the field initially, tying a 3-point contest record in the first round with 31 points, as he hit four of five shots in an all-money-ball final rack to close out the round. Wearing his college jersey from nearby Weber State, Lillard finished the first round in second place with 26 points followed by Hield, who scored 23 points to start the competition.
— NBA (@NBA) February 19, 2023
We all understand the traditional 3-point contest, which consists of five racks containing five balls apiece spaced around the 3-point line. The usual rack contains four regular orange balls worth one point apiece, and one multi-colored money ball, which is worth two points.
The all-money-ball rack conjured another level intrigue in 2018, when it was first introduced. That rack could be placed anywhere, and consists of five money balls, each good for two points.
The league ratcheted up the 2023 competition even more for the long-range specialists with the addition of the two “Starry” balls, which are placed deep behind the 3-point line on each side of the middle rack past the top of the key.
Those balls are placed roughly 30 feet away from the basket and worth three points apiece.
Lillard used them to his advantage in walking away with his first championship in the Starry 3-Point Contest.
Lillard is currently 27-for-87 this season (31%) on shots between 30-34 feet.
–Michael C. Wright
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
Buddy Hield, Indiana Pacers
Kevin Huerter, Sacramento Kings
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz
Julius Randle, New York Knicks **
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
** Randle replaced injured Blazers guard Anfernee Simons