NBA All-Star Weekend: Saturday Night Recap

Feb 18, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III (40) competes in the slam dunk contest during NBA All-Star Saturday Night at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-357225 ORIG FILE ID: 20170218_pjc_sd2_289.JPG

By Evan Brooks, Contributing Writer
Posted 04:45 PM EST, Sun., Feb. 26, 2017

The NBA’s Saturday All-Star night was filled with some of the most promising stars in the NBA, Feb. 18. To start things off in the skills competition, after knocking off DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings (now New Orleans Pelicans center) in the first round, New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis would be the eventual champion of the competition. In the semifinal round, Porzingis would face the talented center from the Denver Nuggets Nikola Jokic. Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward would defeat the Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas in the semifinals to matchup against Porzingis.

Porzingis would go on to defeat Hayward in a close match and won the skills competition in his first ever appearance.

“I just tried to hit the shot, which is the most important part in this whole thing,” Porzingis said. “The first one went in and I was able to win.”

Following the skills challenge was the 3-point contest. Klay Thompson was looking to defend his title after ripping the nets apart in last year’s 3-point contest. Despite his efforts, Thompson failed to qualify for the final round, shooting a score of 18. His 18 points failed to get him in the top three category with Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and Eric Gordon, who shot 20, 19 and 25 points, respectively.

Starting the final round was Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets, finishing with a total of 17 points. The 17 points failed to be enough as Irving and Gordon would both finish with 20 points, forcing the contest into overtime.

Irving was up first in overtime, and as fatigue started to settle in, he would finish two points less than his previous round, scoring 18-points. Gordon, knowing the score to beat, would catch fire and finish with a final score of 21, winning his first 3-point contest championship.

The key to his victory was him knowing where he shoots his highest percentage. The players decided where to have their money-ball rack placed on the court, and he strategically place his.

“It was just my night to tonight,” Gordon said, per NOLA.com’s John Reid.

The final and most anticipated event during All-Star Saturday night would be the dunk contest. This years contestants included Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers, Suns rookie Derrick Jones Jr., and Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III.

After putting on a great show during last year’s dunk contest, Gordon failed to live up to the hype, missing multiple dunk attempts and not making the cut into the second round. To Gordon’s credit, he currently has a foot injury and it looked to be bothering him on Saturday night.

Jordan put on a decent show for the crowd, but it was not enough to eclipse Jones or Robinson, who made it to the final round. After multiple attempts in the final round, Jones would finish with a two round-combined score of 87 points. After receiving a score of 44 on his first dunk Robinson would need a 44 points to be crowned champion.

After completing his final dunk, which involved jumping over Pacers’ star Paul George, the judges would award Robinson with a perfect 50 crowning him champion of the dunk contest.

“This is just the beginning for me,” Robinson said.

The overall contest had bad reviews, as many NBA fans were not entertained with the overall product of the contest. After an epic battle last year between Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon the dunk contest had a lot of hype to live up to this year. This left fans wondering will the dunk contest ever return to being the one of the most entertaining events.