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Rookie Lillard takes 2013 Taco Bell Skills Challenge

Fundamentals take center stage in Taco Bell Skills Challenge

POSTED: Feb 17, 2013 12:32 AM ET


Damian Lillard edged out Jrue Holiday to take the 2013 Skills Challenge crown.

> 2013 Taco Bells Skills Challenge (2nd Event)

East gets highest score in TEAM round (30 points).

West (Damian Lilliard) gets highest score in CHAMPIONSHIP round (10 points).


> Video Recap

• Round 1: Holiday | Teague | Knight | Lillard | Lin | Parker

• Round 2: Lillard | Holiday

HOUSTON -- The Blazers' Damian Lillard became the first rookie to win the Taco Bells Skills Challenge, defeating Jrue Holiday by 5.8 seconds in the final and earning 10 points for the Western Conference in the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night competition.

Taco Bell Skills Challenge Recap

The top of the key was the key for Lillard. He was the only competitor on the night to make his first attempt on the jump shot from that spot, making up for a couple of mistakes on the bounce pass and the outlet pass. He finished with a time 29.8 seconds.

Holiday needed two attempts on the chest pass and the bounce pass, and then three attempts to make the shot from the top of the key, finishing with a time of 35.6 seconds and leaving the door wide open for the Rookie of the Year favorite.

"I think the biggest thing for me was to try not to be too cool and speed through it," Lillard said, "but take my time with the passes and shots."

Though Lillard won the trophy, the East came away from the competition with more points in the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night competition, because defending champion Tony Parker let his team down on the final run of the first round. Parker needed a time of just 46.2 seconds to give the West the better overall time. But he missed all five of his shots from the top of the key and finished with a time of 48.7.

The better cumulative time of 1:50.9 in the first round gave the East 30 points, while Lillard's individual victory gave the West 10 and also won a $25,000 scholarship from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston for a young man named Poppie Simmons.

"I was honored to win this competition," Lillard said. "The bigger thing for me was the fact that I was able to get the scholarship money for him. I come from a tough situation. If it wasn't for sports, I probably wouldn't have been able to attend a college. It means a lot for me to be able to do that for him."

The rookie's time of 28.8 seconds in the first round was the best of the night.

-- John Schuhmann

Official event release
State-Farm All-Star Saturday Night Competition Rules

2013 Eastern Conference Taco Bell Skills Challenge Participants
Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia)
Brandon Knight (Detroit)
Jeff Teague (Atlanta)

2013 Western Conference Taco Bell Skills Challenge Participants
Tony Parker (San Antonio)
Damian Lillard (Portland)
Jeremy Lin (Houston)

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta and features players competing in a two-round timed "obstacle course" consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course.

> Taco Bell Skills Challenge competition format & rules


Spurs' Parker takes 2012 Skills Challenge competition
Tony Parker clocked the fastest time, 29.2 seconds, in the first round of the obstacle course that requires a chest pass and a bounce pass through a target, a shot from the top of the key and an outlet pass before finishing with a dunk or layup.

Once in the last round, Parker clocked 32.8 seconds with a circuit clean of mistakes other than needing a second bounce pass. Rajon Rondo was second at 34.6 and Williams third with 41.4.

Stephen Curry takes 2011 Taco Bell Skills Challenge
Stephen Curry dominated the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, posting the only sub-30 second score of the night to take the title, beating fellow guards Chris Paul, Derrick Rose, John Wall and Russell Westbrook.

Nash flies to victory in Taco Bell Skills Competition
Steve Nash tacked on a bit more at the start: Fly to Vancouver, carry the torch in the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games, fly to Dallas to practice for the Western Conference All-Stars, then do the Skills Challenge. All in a 24-hour-plus period.

Nash out-dueled Deron Williams in the final round to take home his second Taco Bell Skills Challenge title (he also won in 2005).

Top Pick Rose Finishes Skills Challenge With Flair
Finishing off his winning time of 35.3 seconds with an emphatic double-pump reverse dunk, the Chicago Bulls guard became the first rookie to win the PlayStation Skills Challenge when he defeated New Jersey's Devin Harris in the championship round of the 2009 Skills Challenge.

Deron Williams Breezes To Skills Title
Deron Williams shook off some jitters in the first round and was flawless in the finals (no missed shots, every pass through the hoops) to edge Chris Paul for the 2008 Playstation Skills Challenge title. Williams' final time of 25.5 seconds was just one tick off the all-time mark set by Steve Nash in the first round in 2005.

Wade Repeats
Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade took home the PlayStation Skills Challenge title for the second straight year, posting a final-round time of 26.4 seconds to best Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant. Wade's first-round time of 31.3 seconds was second only to Bryant (29.8) and eliminated Cleveland's LeBron James (35.4) and New Orleans/Oklahoma City's Chris Paul (39.6).

More All-Star History >>
All Skills Challenge results >>