The Slam Dunk Contest was supposed to be the exciting final episode of NBA All-Star Saturday, but instead it fell flat as Josh Giddey lit up the Skills Challenge with a brilliant show for his rookie team.
The night came to an end with the Slam Dunk Matchwhich really fell short of expectations as Cole Anthony, Jalen Green, Obi Toppin and Juan Toscano-Anderson battle it out.
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Monday 6 June
Toppin and Toscano-Anderson were the best of the bunch on their first try, taking the highest combined scores to advance to the finals.
In an equally disappointing final lap, Toscano-Anderson failed to finish one of his attempts on his second run, essentially handing the crown over to Toppin.
Toppin eventually settled for a layup rather than a dunk to top it all off.
As for the first lap, Green walked out with a gold chain and NFT around his neck but failed to deliver any real highs, failing multiple attempts before finally settling for a windmill.
It was a better second dunk from Green, who converted on his third attempt with a 360 between the legs dunk, but it wasn’t enough to get him through.
Anthony, meanwhile, went for some very difficult dunks on his second run, but failed to land one and was eliminated.
FIRST ROUND VARIETIES
Toppin – 90
Tuscany-Anderson – 87
Green – 73
Anthony – 70
LAST ROUND SCORES
Toppin – 92
Tuscany-Anderson – 69
GIDDEY HELPS TEAM SMOKE TO THE FINAL
Sunday’s action started with the Skills Challengewhich this year pitted three teams against each other in an all-new format.
Josh Giddey played for Team Rooks but couldn’t stop Rookie of the Year favorite Evan Mobley from taking the win for Team Cavs.
Team Rooks saw Australian Josh Giddey join forces with Scottie Barnes and Cade Cunningham, with the trio facing Team Cavs (Jarrett Allen, Darius Garland and Evan Mobley) and Team Antetokounmpos (Alex, Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo).
The new Skills Challenge consisted of four rounds, where each player was tested for dribbling, passing and shooting.
Team Cavs took out the firing section as Garland and Mobley lit it, combining for 42 points between them – more than Team Rooks and Team Antetokounmpos.
Giddey took the third highest score of the night when it came to shooting, finishing with 16 points.
Cavs – 44
towers – 32
Antetokounmpos – 20
As for passing, Giddey shone as expected with 36 points, just four shy of Giannis putting in 40 points – the most of any competitors on the field.
Team Rooks and Antetokounmpos had a total of 88 points, but the tiebreaker for most outlet passes saw the latter take the win.
Antetokounmpos – 88
towers – 88
Cavs – 70
The Rooks had to win the dribble challenge to stay in the race and since it was worth 200 points, a win would take Giddey’s team to the final.
And Giddey’s team did, finishing with a time of 1 minute 18 seconds to continue.
Giddey had the fastest time of his teammates, finishing ahead of Barnes and Cunningham in all three skill areas tested in the challenge.
The Cavs won the tiebreaker to advance to the final and Rookie of the Year favorite Mobley cleared the half-court shot in 5.5 seconds to secure the win.
Cunningham of Team Rooks had set a time of 9.9 seconds.
MORE: ‘Unstoppable’ Giddey’s Big Show After Crashing Out of NBA Rising Stars
‘I Told Y’ALL’: CAT EXCLUDES THREE POINTS MATCH
Patty Mills also flew the Australian flag and put on quite a show in the 3-point matchbut it wasn’t enough.
Mills finished with 21 points in the first round to finish fourth, but the top three advance to the final round.
Big man Karl-Anthony Towns got the job done, beating Luke Kennard and Trae Young on the final round with a 29 point draw in a stunning stroke.
Towns had the greatest chance of winning the match, although the Timberwolves star always believed he could.
“I’ve said it everywhere, I’m not going to beat myself. I want to be the best shooting big man of all time,” Towns said after the win.
“I told you all. Vegas had the odds wrong”
The match was played over two rounds, with the top three scoring players from the first round advancing to the final round.
All eight players shot at the standard five locations along the arc and had four racks of four regular balls worth one point, along with one money ball worth two points.
There was also a special rack with five money balls to spice things up.
When it comes to the money ball racks, players had a choice of which spots they wanted to shoot.
There were also two ‘MTN DEW Zones’ six feet behind the three-point line with one green ball in each zone worth three points.
Given the additions to this year’s 3-Point Contest, players had 70 seconds to shoot and could score a maximum of 40 points.
FIRST ROUND RESULTS
Kennard – 28
Cities – 22
Young – 22
Mills – 21 (eliminated)
McCollum – 19 (eliminated)
Bane – 18 (eliminated)
VanVleet – 16 (eliminated)
LaVine – 14 (disabled)
LAST ROUND RESULTS
Cities – 29
Young – 26 (eliminated)
Kennard – 26 (eliminated)
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