NBA's biggest stars set for All-Star Saturday competitions

Dennis Smith Jr. ready to put on a show for the city of Dallas
Dennis Smith Jr. ready to put on a show for the city of Dallas
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21 February, 2018

Utah Jazz rookie sensation and one-time Louisville Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell was the brightest star of All-Star Saturday Night, combining old-school flair with flashy athleticism to earn the Dunk Contest crown. With a talented field like this, the King is looking forward to watching the event live, and he has picked who he believes will win. "He's my favorite comedian".

In the final round, Mitchell's first dunk got his second 50 points of the night, while Nance Jr. who was traded to the Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers at the deadline this month, scored 46 points.

On his first attempt of the competition, Nance Jr. wasted no time paying homage to his father's iconic cradle dunk that vaulted him over Julius Erving in the inaugural 1984 contest.

Joel Embiid has just 6/1 odds to win the Skills Challenge, near the back of the pack overall and second among the "bigs" (behind Al Horford). He beat Chicago rookie Lauri Markkanen in the final round.

It's very exciting. Obviously, every player and every team wants to play in the playoffs, so getting a chance to do that this year is going to be a lot of fun.

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"I felt great about it", Nance said. It's $200,000 for each, although the victor of the four-player dunk contest will get $105,000 and the first-place finisher in the eight-player 3-point competition will take home $60,000. Nance fired back by telling him he already knew the answer to that before making it known that he feels he got robbed of the honor as he knew what he pulled off against Lopez is something truly special, via a video posted by Chris Mannix of Yahoo! Propelling a ball from that distance is not as much about strength as it is physics: "Everything has to hit at one time".

For now, at least, the total prize money for the dunk and 3-point contests remains the same. Booker made the money ball shot on his first four racks, and then made four of the five balls on the money ball rack. This year, the top 3-point headliners include Klay Thompson and Paul George. All told, Mitchell won the Contest with two dunks that achieved flawless 10 scores from all five judges-the Kevin Hart leap and the self-oop-and was a combined five points short of ideal scores on the other two.

Last year, Gordon won it by scoring 21 of a possible 34 points while Thompson tied teammate Stephen Curry's record of 27 the year before.

In 55 games (47 starts) in his first National Basketball Association season, Mitchell is averaging a team-best and rookie-leading 19.6 points, along with 3.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 32.1 minutes per game. Booker also scored 19 and Harris had 18.


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