Derrick Jones Jr., Bam Adebayo, and Buddy Hield earned honors during the second day of the All-Star weekend in Chicago. All three guys won their respective competitions, with the note that once again, slam dunk contest raised many controversial questions.
Jones Jr. edged out Aaron Gordon in the finals, after a close fight and questionable grades from the judges. In the last series, Jones earned 48 points, with his windmill one step inside the free-throw line.
On the other side, Gordon brought in Tacko Fall and dunked over him, and although he did scratch Fall’s head, that dunk brought up bigger reactions from the crowd than Jones’. However, the judges awarded him just 47 points.
In frustration, the Orlando Magic superstar stated that he is done with participating in the dunking contests because he feels they are unfair.
“I did four straight 50s — five straight 50s,” Gordon said. “That’s over. It’s a wrap. Let’s go home. Four 50s in a row in an NBA dunk contest, it’s over. But I don’t know. Who’s running the show?”
Gordon also added that he feels he should have two trophies, and that he won back in 2016. For all of you who don’t remember, Gordon lost to Zach LaVine at that contest, but it was widely spread opinion that the had a better dunk than the two-time champion. On the other side Jones said after the contest that he deserved to win, because Gordon couldn’t properly jump over Fall.
The skills challenge saw one of the most unexpected winners since establishing the competition – Miami’s Bam Adebayo. The big fellow encountered another center in the finals, Domantas Sabonis, from the Indiana Pacers.
Virtually nobody saw him winning the contest, especially because there were three-pointers involved, and so far this season, Heat’s center hit only one. Last night he sunk three of them. After the competition, he dedicated the trophy to his mother and stated that the league is changing.
“It just shows where this league is going, and it’s scary because when you got guys that are 6-10, classified as centers or power forwards, I don’t believe it’s any of that anymore,” Adebayo said.
He was also kidding about his victory, saying that those who put some money on him could go by big companies, referring to the slim chances all the bookies gave him before the contest.
The three-point shooting was very interesting. In the end, Sacramento’s Buddy Hield defeated Devin Booker by a single point in the finals. The ending was dramatic, as Hield needed to hit the last shot to clinch the title.
“I think I heard the guy on the PA, the announcer, and I had 25 or 26 or something like that,” Hield said. “I know Devin had 26, so I knew I had to make one more to top him. I was focused. I was locked in on that part.”
Booker, who replaced Damian Lillard at both the three-point contest and the All-Star game, nearly won the competition but isn’t disappointed for finishing second.
Along with these two guys, Wizards’ Davis Bertans entered the finals.
The main event of the weekend starts this Sunday at 8 pm ET. Team Giannis takes on Team LeBron for the second year in a row, and the MVP of the league is eager to get his vengeance for the last year’s loss.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.