Stephen Curry went into his first Three-Point Shootout as one of the favorites, thanks in part to this video where he was shown scoring 27 out of a possible 30 points.
That video was filmed at the Warriors’ practice facility. On Saturday night in Houston, Curry put on an impressive shooting display. Unfortunately for Curry, it didn’t start until his third rack. He was the first shooter, and finished with a respectable score of 17, but that was only because he made 9-of-10 on his final two racks. After making only two shots of the first rack and zero in the second rack, he was done.
Three-point shooting is prized more than ever in the NBA, and this field was DEEP. Just imagine if Kyle Korver was in there instead of Paul George — Curry probably would’ve finished tied for last with Steve Novak. It was actually Kyrie Irving who won the Shootout going away. Combine that with his showing in the Rookie/Sophomore game and Irving is having an amazing weekend thus far. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if he was named MVP tomorrow in the main event.
The Dunk Contest? Yeesh. I don’t ever remember this event being so awkward in the past, but that’s the only way I can describe watching Gerald Green and James White try the same dunk over and over. I can’t even imagine what it was like for the fans in attendance, except I was at a Super Bowl where there was an extended power outage so maybe I have a good idea after all. At least the finals were entertaining, with Terrence Ross paying homage to Vince Carter and throwing down some impressive ones and Jeremy Evans showing off his painting skills.
Oakland’s Damian Lillard won the Skills Challenge, which seems fiiting since he’ll almost certainly win Rookie of the Year. The Skills Challenge is something that has probably run its course (watching guys dribble around stationary objects and bounce passes through a hole isn’t all that thrilling), but it provided Curry’s best moment. Curry, who won the event back in 2011, didn’t compete this year. But when Jeff Teague punctuated a lackadaisical effort by missing the final layup, Curry was shown sitting courtside, giggling.
One last thing I noticed while scanning around in preparation to write this Pulitzer-worthy post: ESPN forced some poor writer to grade all the participants in All-Star Weekend. That’s fine for the Dunk Contest, since not everyone might agree with the dunk-judging authority of guys like Dikembe Mutombo or Yao Ming. But they also graded the Three-Point Contest contestants, even though it was pretty clear who performed the best based on how many shots each player made in relation to the other contestants.
In case you were wondering, Curry got a B-.