Ross, Wall and Paul George put on an excellent show in last night's NBA All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest as the East team won the inaugural edition of the re-vamped dunk contest. Each put on impressive athletic displays in capturing the group portion of the tournament, winning the "freestyle round" and their individual dunk-offs versus their Western Conference competitors.
But it was Wall who came away with the dunk contest title thanks to the following ridiculous display:
Unfortunately after Wall brought down the house with said dunk, the contest didn't continue in order to pit the winning Eastern Conference teammates against each other. While I was a fan of the new format (thank god they did away with letting competitors do 56 attempts of a dunk, everyone was relegated to three shots at completing their move), a final dunk-off between the winning side would have truly settled things. Wall, George and Ross are all incredible athletes so it would have likely been a truly sensational finish had these three gone mano-a-mano to end the contest.
But, all things considered, this was one of the better dunk contests in recent memory. The West participants were fairly awful, but the East had a nice mix of marquee names, flash, and ridiculous athleticism.
Also, props to the judges who called it correctly from the jump, something that wasn't always the case in contests past. (Although couldn't the judges just have said "East" or "West" or held up a piece of cardboard? iPads haha??)
The Raptors' entry, Terrence Ross, came out with much pomp and circumstance as Drake led Ross into the arena, and assisted on his first dunk. It was nice, but it took Ross three attempts so didn't have nearly the same panache as the dunks by George or Wall that followed. I wasn't even sure that his dunk was much better than that of his Western Conference foe, Damian Lillard:
More impressive was the East's freestyle session, with a ridiculous choreographed finale:
As for the other contests?
The shooting stars piece is always a bit blah but I thought it was superior to the event it preceded, the Skills Challenge. Sure, the Skills piece came down to the wire in the final round, but watching guys "look cool" in the early rounds and go half out year after year just doesn't represent much intrigue for me. (In fact I thought DeMar DeRozan unfortunately was a good example of that this year.) At least the NBA should have the obstacle course set up so the East and West compete at the same time. I think then perhaps the competitive juices would get going a bit more.
And while the three-point shooting contest featured an extra round and some nice tie-breaking drama, the NBA still can't get this thing right. Guys like Joe Johnson should not be in the contest and it makes for some embarasing early round displays. Get the Klay Thompson's and Steve Novak's in this thing and then we'd truly see some exceptional shooting.
Props to former Raptor Marco Belinelli (why didn't he shoot like this in TO?) on the win, but I would have liked to have seen how he'd fare gunning it out against the Kyle Korver's of the league instead of bigger name guys like Kyrie Irving.
For a full recap of last night's events, SB Nation has you covered.