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Curry takes home 3-Point Crown, LaVine Wows in Dunk Contest
By Mike Jasko

The 2015 version of All-Star Saturday Night lived up to its billing; MVP front runner Stephen Curry beat out his teammate Klay Thompson for the 3-point championship and Minnesota’s  Zack LaVine put on a fantastic exhibition in year’s Dunk Contest, serving as a great preview for Sunday’s All-Star game. First up on All-Star Saturday was the Degree Shooting Stars, where Team Bosh captured their third consecutive win. In the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Rocket’s point guard Patrick Beverly came from behind in both the semi-final and the final to come away with the victory.

Next was the first of the two main events; the 3-point Shooting Competition. It was an absolutely stacked field containing two former winners of the event, and all of the top five players in three-pointers made this season. Wesley Matthews (tied for first with 161 made 3s so far) went first and put up a very respectable 22. But Matthews’ score was not good enough to land him in the finals, an indication of the special group of shooters that had gathered for this event.

2013 winner Kyrie Irving topped Matthews with a score of 23 in round one. That total was matched by Klay Thompson, and Thompson’s fellow Splash Brother Steph Curry paced all shooters in round one with a score of 24; it was those three who advanced to the finals. Irving started the finals off nicely but went cold, missing all five shots in his middle rack and ending up with a score of 17. Steph Curry went next and he put on a legendary display, hitting 13 in a row on his way to a score of 27. If anyone was capable of matching that, it would have been his teammate Klay Thompson, but it was not to be on this night, and Curry walked away as the Three-Point Champion.

Then it was time for the Sprite Slam Dunk. It was Orlando’s Victor Oladipo who really got things going with a sick 360 dunk from the baseline, earning the night’s first perfect score.

Then it was time for Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Zack LaVine to take the stage. He came out for his first dunk donning Michael Jordan’s “Tune Squad” jersey from the film, Space Jam. The dunk was certainly worthy of praise from His Airness, as LaVine threw down this wicked between-the-legs reverse jam.

By the time LaVine’s second dunk came around, it had become clear that this was his competition to lose. He earned his second perfect score of the night with this sensational behind-the-back slam.

In the finals, it was between Oladipo and LaVine, but it was already inevitability in the air about it being LaVine’s night. Oladipo earned just a 39 for his first dunk of the finals, then LaVine went between the legs again, this time on a handoff from Andrew Wiggins.

Oladipo had one dunk left and made it a pretty good one; catching a pass off the back of the backboard, and wind-milling it around the backboard to jam it in.

But even after receiving a 44 for that dunk, it still seemed quite clear that LaVine was the champion. For victory lap, LaVine tweaked this dunk one more time, this time catching the ball off of the support beam, then putting through his legs to dunk it.

It was definitely one of the best performances in the dunk contest in recent years, and hopefully the NBA will bring him back next year. 

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