Love Falls Short In Bid For 2nd 3-Point Title

by Mark Remme
Web Editor

Kevin Love was hoping he’d be granted a little seniority cred—at the very least, as a former champion, he was hoping he wouldn’t be asked to bat leadoff in the Foot Locker Three Point Contest on All-Star Saturday Night in New Orleans.

He even talked about it before the event.

So naturally, the Western Conference participants were asked to go first, and Love was selected to lead off the event.

“I should’ve knocked on some more wood,” Love joked. “I jinxed myself, because I said I didn’t want to go first, and that was it for me.”

All kidding aside, Love opened up the Foot Locker Three Point Contest with a 16-point effort, which was not enough to advance out of the first round in the 2014 event. This year, the East and West were grouped individually, with the leader from each conference after the first round advancing to the championship. Marco Belinelli’s 24 bested Bradley Beal’s 18 in the tie-breaker final, ensuring a win for the Western Conference on All-Star Saturday Night at Smoothie King Center.

Love won the event in 2012, besting Kevin Durant in the final round. He didn’t make the trip to All-Star Weekend last year due to injury, and Kyrie Irving won it in his absence last year. This time around, Love got a chance to claim his title back.

Neither he nor Irving, who was in the field, was able to win a second title tonight.

“My first time, it was a lot of fun,” Love said. “Second time, just as fun. Well, I shouldn’t say just as fun—I didn’t walk away with the trophy or a win. But I still got in there and enjoyed myself, that’s what it’s all about.”

The Three Point Contest had another change this year. Four racks had four regular balls with one money ball, while one rack—placed in any of the five spots around the arc that the shooter wants—had five money balls. All money balls were worth two points, while regular balls were worth one.

In that first round, Love’s 16 was bested right away as Damian Lillard scored 18. Love said he knew immediately that 16 wouldn’t get him into the championship, and Lillard did oust him right away. Belinelli bested Lillard by one, finishing with 19 in the first round, and Stephen Curry ended the West’s group with a 16.

In the East, Beal led all shooters in the first round with a 21-point effort. Irving finished with 16, Arron Afflalo had 15 and Joe Johnson had 11.

In the finals, both Belinelli and Beal finished with 19, prompting a tie-breaker. Belinelli got hot and won the title for the West and the Spurs.

Love said he enjoyed the experience and the chance to try and win a second Three Point Contest championship. It didn’t work out and he’ll be focusing on the All-Star Game tomorrow evening from here, but he did get courtside seats for the contest and he did get to compete with his peers around the league.

“I had fun,” Love said. “If you take it too serious, you know, you’ll look back and wish you didn’t. But you know? I was saying in the locker room I didn’t want to shoot first, I ended up shooting first. I got what I asked for, and I just didn’t score well enough. You’ve got to hit those money balls.”

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