NBA All-Star Weekend 2023 continued Saturday with some of the game’s top players showcasing their athletic ability.
The Skills Challenge, the 3-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest, all took place Saturday evening at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City.
For the second straight year, the Skills Challenge pitted three teams of three players (Team Rooks, Team Jazz and Team Antetokounmpos) against each other, with Team Jazz coming out victorious.
The 3-Point Contest, which featured eight of the game’s best shooters, followed. In the end, it was seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard who won it all, becoming the first Portland Trail Blazer to do so in the event’s 38-year history.
Closing out NBA All-Star Saturday was the highly anticipated Slam Dunk Contest, and Mac McClung brought down the house with three out of four perfect scores to win the 2023 title in style.
Here are the top moments!
Slam Dunk Contest
Trey Murphy III, Jericho Sims, Kenyon Martin Jr. and McClung took part in the event, where each player got four total dunk scores over two rounds. The five judges — Jamal Crawford, Lisa Leslie, Karl Malone, Harold Miner and Dominique Wilkins — scored each dunk out of 50, with the average five scores making up the individual dunk score for each player.
The scores for each player’s first dunk in the first round were: Murphy (46.6), Sims (47.6), Martin (46) and McClung (50).
McClung (49.8) led the group once again for the second dunks in the opening round, followed by Murphy (49.4), Sims (47.8) and Martin (47.2).
McClung, with a first-round composite score of 99.8, and Murphy (96) advanced to the final round, where they got the chance to show off their skills with two more dunks each.
Murphy was up first, nailing his dunk on the first try for a score of 48.8. McClung also came up big on his first try, earning his second perfect score of the night.
Murphy’s second dunk in the final round earned him a 49.2, while McClung’s second dunk was his third perfect score of the night, sealing the win for the newly minted Philadelphia 76er.
There were five ball racks around the 3-point arc for a total of 27 balls and a time limit of 70 seconds to shoot them all.
The first-round scores were as follows: Tatum (20 points), Haliburton (31), Hield (23), Herro (16), Randle (13), Huerter (8), Markkanen (20) and Lillard (26).
The three players with the highest score after the first round — Haliburton, Hield and Lillard — advanced to the second and final round.
The player with the lowest score, Hield, was first to shoot in the championship round, where he came away with 25 points.
Up next was Lillard, who was representing his alma mater in a Weber State jersey. He drained his final four shots to get the slight edge over Hield with 26 points.
The final competitor, Haliburton — who had a dazzling performance in the opening round — couldn’t replicate his success, totaling just 17 points. With that, Lillard was crowned the winner of the Starry 3-Point Contest.
The three teams that took part in this year’s contest were: Team Rooks (Paolo Banchero, Jaden Ivey, Jabari Smith Jr.), Team Jazz (Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler, Collin Sexton) and Team Antetokounmpos (Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Alex Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday — filing in for an injured Giannis Antetokounmpo).
The Skills Challenge consisted of three rounds: relay, passing and shooting. The winning team from each round received challenge points, and the team with the most points after the three rounds — Team Jazz — was the overall winner.
Round 1: Team Relay
Team Antetokounmpos went first, finishing the course in 1:23. Team Rooks was next, completing the course 8.9 seconds faster than the Milwaukee Bucks trio and Team Jazz, which went third, earning 100 challenge points in the process.
Round 2: Team Passing
Team Antetokounmpos was up first, earing 84 points (42 Holiday, 26 Alex, 16 Thanasis), followed by Team Rooks, which grabbed just 78 points (32 Banchero, 26 Ivey, 20 Smith).
Last but not least, Team Jazz secured the win, earning 100 challenge points in the process, with 88 total points (40 Kessler, 34 Sexton, 14 Clarkson).
Round 3: Team Shooting
It was a rough round for Team Antetokounmpos, which went first and earned just eight points in one minute. Team Rooks was next, scoring a mere three points. Up third was Team Jazz, which won the round with 13 total points.
Team Jazz earned 200 points with the shooting-round win, bringing its final score to 300 challenge points, defeating Team Rooks (100 challenge points) and Team Antetokounmpos (0 challenge points) in the Kia Skills Challenge.
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