Paul Pierce returning 3-point winner
Dallas, TX - The Footlocker Three-Point contest on Saturday night at American Airlines Center got underway for for six players Paul Pierce (Celtics), Chauncey Billups (Nuggets), Danilio Gallinari (Knicks), Channing Frye (Suns), Daequan Cook (Heat) and Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors). Pierce wasted no time to lead with 17 points in his first attempt. Billups then tied Pierce for second place behind Curry who became a fan favorite with his natural form of “banking” shots to put him the finals along with Pierce and Billups. Returning champion Cook was eliminated in the first round along with Frye and Gallinari.
Pierce led off the final round with 20 points setting a strong pace for the remaining players to follow. Billups up next had 14 and Curry who made four out five attempts in his first rack was nearly half way to matching Pierce with 60% of his shots but fell behind with his last two racks missing shots of the rim. He finished in second with 17 points but not a bad start for this rookie sensation who made his first appearance in this years All-Star activities.
Erasing the memories of the 2002 NBA All-Star where he made only eight shots in the first round. Pierce walked away the winner of the Three-Point contest. After watching Curry fail to top his score, Paul rejoiced by jumping in the air with a wide smile slapping hands with teammate Kevin Garnett in celebration.
“I take pride in competition,” Pierce said. “Like I said, back in ’02, when I didn’t do well in it and the way I’ve been practicing and shooting well this year, I was like, ‘this is a great opportunity for me to come out here and redeem myself’.” “I didn’t get invited for seven years and all I needed was another chance, this was the opportunity where I got invited, and I took advantage of it this time.”
Three-time dunk champion is Knicks Robinson
Dallas, TX - The dunk contests aren’t what they used to be when you had the likes of Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Spud Webb flying through the air! Over the years, the lack of marquee players have diminished in this competition where only the elite would join. Years later a new generation enters the contest with creative dunks that you see from players not necessarily as popular of those in the past. Their is one player who returns for his crown and he is not a marquee guy with the fame and flare but a reserve player that knows how to please a crowd! Nate Robinson enters his fifth slam dunk competition.
In defending his title Robinson defeated Toronto Raptors rookie DeMar DeRozan in the 2010 dunk event, earning his third win making him the first three-time champion. Breaking his tie with two-timers Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, Harold Miner and Jason Richardson. He defended his 09 title after receiving 51% of votes from fans via online at NBA.com.
“You’ve got to kind of figure out a dunk that nobody’s tried,” said Robinson. “Finding something new, or at least refurbished, to dazzle dunk devotees or kind of like a tribute dunk, I guess or you know, a copycat dunk, you could say.” “But myself, I think, ‘What can get the kids out of their seats? What can get people’s attention?’ That’s what you’ve got to try to do.”
After Gerald Wallace and Shannon Brown were eliminated in the first round, Robinson went for local appeal by recruiting four Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders to stand in support as scenery. He tried twice to come from behind the basket and twist in a slam, but missed, so Robinson went with a big bounce from the left wing that he caught and jammed home.
DeRozan had Raptors teammate Sonny Weems face the rim and toss the ball off the backboard while DeRozan ran up behind and then vaulted him. He controlled the rebound with his right hand and jammed it through, this dunk got the crowd on it’s feet! But Robinson saved his best for last. This time, the Knicks guard scooped the ball off the backboard, spun and put it through with two hands, backwards, in a move that accentuated his size and leaping ability.
Written by: Malaika Bobino