Last year set a mighty high bar for All-Star Saturday Night, and you can give Toronto some of the credit for that. It was also a showcase for big name players. Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon duelled in the Dunk Contest, Klay Thompson hit threes in the Three-Point Shootout, and NBA big men burst onto the Skills Challenge stage.
Compared to that towering success, this year felt a bit flat. Here’s what went down in the All-Star Weekend extracurriculars.
Taco Bell Skills Challenge
In the only good news the New York Knicks will receive this year, Kristaps Porzingis outshined everyone else in the Skills Challenge. His perfect final run ousted finalist Gordon Hayward, cementing his place in the Madison Square Garden rafters.
JBL Three-Point Contest
We hyped up Kyle Lowry for this one, but his first round fell seriously short. Lowry managed just nine points, going 1-for-5 on his money ball rack and 6-for-20 everywhere else to finish in the bottom rungs of the competition.
Rising to the top were Kyrie Irving and Eric Gordon, who tied in the final round with 20 points each. It was Gordon coming out on top eventually, outscoring Irving by just one to bring the trophy back to Houston.
Bonus Raptors News!
In between the Three-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk, TNT had a wonderful tribute to Craig Sager. The finalists of the shooting competition — joined by other celebrities, alumni, and NBA players including DeMar DeRozan — took turns shooting threes, with $10,000 for each make going toward #SagerStrong charities.
To his credit, DeRozan made a pair of straightaway threes in street clothes to add $20k to the pile. This makes me feel good for humanity first, and for his basketball future second.
DJ Khaled also banked one in, in case you were wondering.
Verizon Slam Dunk Contest
In the lowlight competition of the evening, the Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III survived multiple failed attempts, gaffes, and weird props from the Dunk Contest participants to win. I won’t go too far into this one, beyond showing you his winning dunk — which might’ve been the sole highlight.
Insane, but what was different between 3 of his dunks? pic.twitter.com/PD6rciRvae— Adam Joseph (@AdamJosephSport) February 19, 2017
What were your thoughts on All-Star Saturday Night?