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NBA All-Star Weekend Day 2: Zach LaVine Slams The Roof off of Barclays

We’ve reached the midpoint of the All-Star weekend and the big game is tonight! Four events highlighted Saturday night’s action. But the main event was the Slam Dunk Contest. Here’s what went down:

LaVine Wows Crowd With Perfection in Dunk Contest

Zach LaVine’s name had been on the lips of just about every NBA player before the NBA’s All-Star Slam Dunk Contest. And Saturday night, everyone in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center — and millions watching at home — saw exactly why. 

The 19-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves rookie became the second-youngest contestant to win the dunk contest. And he did it by channeling childhood memories of Michael Jordan in the movie Space Jam.

For a few seconds in the first round, it appeared LaVine had encountered some competition in the form of Victor Oladipo. The Orlando Magic point guard made a grand entrance singing “New York, New York” after Brooklyn Nets center Mason Plumlee and Milwaukee Bucks forward GiannisAntetokounmpo produced underwhelming jams. Oladipo then earned a perfect score in the opening round by throwing down a 540 slam that left Brooklyn buzzing.

Then LaVine took the court. 

LaVine was accompanied by the Quad City DJ’s, wore a Tune Squad jersey, and dropped a through-the-legs, one-hand reverse throwdown for his Space Jam-inspired dunk, earning him a perfect score.

For his second try, LaVine threw the ball in the air and then completed a behind-the-back, one-handed jam on his first attempt, earning 10s from all five judges. The crowd roared after each dunk, while players looked on with amazement. 

Oladipo’s score of 72 on his two dunks in the championship round wasn’t enough to overcome LaVine’s total score of 94, and just like that, LaVine became the first Minnesota player since 1994 to be named the All-Star dunk master. Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard was the last player to achieve two perfect scores in the contest in 2009.

Fans only saw a glimpse of what LaVine can do when he’s flying above the rim. The rising star said he came up with his dunks while he was still in high school. And he still has a few more surprises in store. 

“That’s the funny thing. I didn’t do [the best] one,” he said. “I got some tricks in the bag still.” 

Curry’s Three-Point Redemption

In a test of timing, shooting stroke, and strategy, eight of the NBA’s sharpest shooters competed in the Three-Point Challenge. The field of participants was deep in talent. Real deep. The Warriors were well represented with the presence of the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, while James Harden (Rockets), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers), Kyle Korver (Hawks), Wesley Matthews (Blazers), and J.J. Reddick (Clippers) tried to flex dominance from behind the arc. 

Marco Bellineli, (Spurs), the reigning trifecta champion, attempted a defense of his three-point crown. But he couldn’t make it out of the first round, racking up 18 points. Korver, the NBA’s three-point field goal percentage leader, matched that total and was also eliminated early. Curry prevailed in the contest’s final round, knocking down buckets and earning 27 points to beat Thompson and Irving. He even sank 13 straight shots, earning a mix of oohs, ahs, and applause from the high-energy crowd. 

Curry’s father, Dell Curry, was a solid long-range shooter during his 16 seasons in the NBA. But the son didn’t receive any advice from Dad before he unleashed the treys. The two, along with Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird, came up short in the first round of the Shooting Stars competition earlier, so there wasn’t much talk about threes afterward. 

“We were mad that Chris Bosh keeps knocking us out of the Shooting Star Competition,” Curry said. “[My dad] was worried about what my mom was going to say when he got back into the stands. She’s tired of coming and seeing him lose.”

Despite the earlier loss, Curry certainly made Mom proud with his three-point contest trophy.

Team Bosh Three-peats

Chris Bosh didn’t three-peat with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James last season — but he did last night. With Swin Cash and Dominique Wilkins. Bosh, Cash (New York Liberty), and NBA Hall-of-Famer Wilkins were crowned the NBA’s Shooting Stars champions for a third straight year. The trio knocked out Team Westbrook — Russell Westbrook, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, and Tamika Catchings — in the timed scoring event when Wilkins nailed a half court shot 57.6 seconds into their final round. Team Westbrook couldn't pull off the long-range shot within the max competition time of 1:30. Once Wilkins’ shot fell, Bosh jumped on his back in celebration. Bosh’s immediate thought after is celebratory reaction? “Oh, I hope I don’t fall.” No worries, he didn’t. When it comes to Bosh’s Shooting Stars team, the only things that fall are the shots.

Beverley’s “Skills” Earns a Fan Scholarship Money 

Houston point guard Patrick Beverley wasn’t even supposed to be in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge on Saturday night. But it’s a good thing he replaced an injured John Wall. After struggling initially, Beverley walked away a champion of the Skills Challenge. 

In the first round, he knocked out Phoenix Suns’ Isiah Thomas on a layup to scrape by. In the second round, Beverley faced off against Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeff Teague and in the final round, he stunned Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Knight. 

Not only did Beverley take home the win, but he also helped one lucky NBA fan take home $30,000 in scholarship money. 

Photos: Frank Franklin II/AP Photo (LaVine), Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images (Curry)

zach lavine all star game slam dunk contest
steph curry all-star game three point contest