NBA All-Star Saturday: Zach LaVine defends dunk crown in epic showdown
'Splash Brothers' square off in 3-point shootout; Warm ovation for Lowry
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine outlasted Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon in an epic final round of the NBA dunk contest, posting four straight perfect 50s to win for the second straight year on Saturday night in Toronto.
It has been a special weekend for LaVine, who was also named MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday.
LaVine and Gordon matched each other dunk for dunk for the first two tries in the final round. Then needed two rounds of tie-breakers to decide a winner.
Gordon got a 47 with a Harold Miner-style jackknife dunk on his fourth dunk, which opened the door for LaVine in one of the most memorable competitions in years.
He ended it with a between-the-legs dunk from a step inside the free throw line to become just the fourth player to win back-to-back titles.
He did it! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ZachLaVine?src=hash">#ZachLaVine</a> goes <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Back2Back?src=hash">#Back2Back</a> but did <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AaronGordon?src=hash">#AaronGordon</a> get robbed?! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NBAAllStarTO?src=hash">#NBAAllStarTO</a><a href="https://t.co/0eZb2ZvyIr">https://t.co/0eZb2ZvyIr</a>—@cbcsports
LaVine said they should share the trophy "because he did stuff I've never seen before."
"He brought the best out of me," he added.
LaVine was likely referring to a dunk by Gordon that brought everyone out of their seats when he jumped over his team's mascot.
Thompson dethrones teammate Curry
Golden State's Warriors guard Klay Thompson dethroned his "Splash Brother" Steph Curry to win the three-point shooting contest.
Curry made his first seven shots and three of the last four to put up a score of 23. But Thompson, his Warriors teammate, was better, racking up 27 as he hit eight shots in a row in the middle and drained the final rack of money balls as the Air Canada Centre crowd roared.
"Not gonna lie, I got nervous when he hit his first eight [seven actually] and I didn't think he was going to miss." said Thompson.
"Back-to-back years for Splash Brothers, it's pretty cool," he added.
The other player in the championship round, Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, had 16 points.
Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry was eliminated in the first round, but that didn't stop fans from giving him a warm ovation.
Afterwards, Lowry expressed his appreciation for the support, despite the result.
Sorry fans for the results tonight but thank you for the love and support!!! It was and unreal ovation and made me love you guys even more—@Klow7
Rookie big man owns skills comp
Karl-Anthony Towns showed big men have skills as the seven-footer from the Minnesota Timberwolves beat Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas in the NBA skills challenge.
Thomas had the early lead but Towns caught him on their second trip down the court. At the final three-point shot, both men stumbled but Towns made it on his fourth attempt.
The 20-year-old Towns, the first-overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, was mobbed by players after he made the winning shot.
"I'm glad I was able to help the bigs come out with this trophy," said Towns, the No. 1 overall pick in the June draft. "This is bigger than me. This is for all the bigs out there, with the game changing the way it is, to show that bigs can stand up with guards and skillwise."
With files from CBC Sports