NBA All-Star Weekend 2014: Saturday Highlights
John Wall Saves The Dunk Contest
New rules. New energy. New winner.
This year's All-Star Slam Dunk Contest featured freestyle and battle rounds, which resulted in a lot of missed dunks. But Washington Wizards point guard John Wall's final dunk of the evening rescued the dunk competition from being being a snooze fest. With the help of the Wizards' mascot, the 6-foot-4 All-Star took flight over G-Wiz for a reverse jam. It brought a very quiet crowd in the Smoothie King Center, bored from blown dunks from both conferences, to its feet as Wall danced with G-Wiz and fellow dunk teammate Paul George after the throwdown completion.
It was only Wall's second time doing the dunk — he practiced it once last Thursday — but it was enough to crown the Eastern Conference dunk champions in the battle round and name Wall the dunker of the night. "Someone sent me a YouTube link that said '27 dunks that have never been done in the NBA dunk contest.' The first one was that one," Wall said. "It seemed hard, but for me it came out to be easy." (Wall shared his all-time favorite dunkers with SIKids.com last week.)
Defending champ Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors also enlisted some help for his dunk, tapping rapper Drake for assistance and Ben McLemore of the Sacramento Kings teamed up with Shaquille O'Neal for his slam, which drew tons of laughs from fans who witnessed a moment of the "Shaqelmore" era.
The New "Big Three"
Chris Bosh was a part of a newly-minted "Big Three" last night when he won the Shooting Stars challenge with NBA legend Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash of the WNBA's Chicago Sky. The trio beat out Team Durant (Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz Hall of Famer Karl Malone, and Skylar Diggins of the WNBA's Tulsa Shock) in the final round to become winners for a second straight year. Bosh, who helped Miami Heat win back-to-back NBA championships alongside Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, said both teams are alike. "Yeah, we're the big three, back to back" the Heat forward said after last night's shootout. "See the similarities?"
George for All-Star MVP?
Other Saturday winners included Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Trey Burke of the Utah Jazz in the skills competition and San Antonio Spurs' Marco Belinelli, who drained the most treys for a Three Point Contest victory. Nick Cannon, entertainment mogul and host of Saturday night's All-Star festivities, asked Paul George for his All-Star game MVP prediction. George was far from shy with his answer. "Uh, I'm going with me!" George said. Tonight, we'll see if George's Eastern Conference team comes up victorious — and if his MVP crystal ball is right.
Photos: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images (Wall, George), Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images