Bonner takes second in NBA 3-point contest
Matt Bonner of the San Antonio Spurs shoots during the 3-point contest during NBA basketball All-Star Saturday Night, Feb. 16, 2013, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
HOUSTON – Concord’s Matt Bonner had the hot hand in the first round of the NBA 3-point contest last night, but got beaten by an even hotter Kyrie Irving in the finals.
Irving, point guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers, beat Bonner, a forward with the San Antonio Spurs, to win the 3-point contest during All-Star Saturday night.
Irving, who will play in his first All-Star game today, started 7-for-7 in the final round and finished with 23 points – two shy of the record shared by Craig Hodges and Jason Kapono. Bonner finished with 20 points in the final round.
Bonner got the invite to the All-Star event thanks in part to a social media campaign by his brother, Luke. That Bonner is among the top 3-point shooters in the NBA, connecting on 45 percent of his shots from beyond the arc, certainly helped.
Players had one minute to take 25 3-point shots from five positions around the arc. Bonner had the highest score of the six players in the first round (19). Irving, who also played in Friday night’s Rising Stars Challenge, had 18 points in the first round.
Hall of Famers Bill Russell and Julius Erving, singer Alicia Keys, rapper Drake, director Spike Lee and comedian Chris Tucker were among those sitting courtside. Keys is performing at halftime of today’s All-Star game.
Toronto rookie Terrence Ross beat defending champion Jeremy Evans to win the slam-dunk contest.
The 6-foot-6 Ross jumped over a ball boy, whipped the ball between his legs and threw down a one-handed slam to clinch the victory. Earlier, Ross donned a Vince Carter jersey, took a lob from high-school teammate Terrence Jones off the edge of the backboard, spun in the air, and then slammed home another one-hander.
Evans jumped over a painted portrait of himself and hurdled Dallas Mavericks forward Dahntay Jones for a dunk in his final round.
Ross earned 58 percent of the fan vote in the championship round. The first round was judged by former Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Dikembe Mutombo, Rudy Tomjanovich and Yao Ming.
Kenneth Faried, James White, 2007 dunk champion Gerald Green and Eric Bledsoe also were in the field, while Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade were among the All-Stars taking in the show.
Green started if off by taking a lob from Indiana teammate Lance Stephenson off the side of the backboard and soaring in for a reverse slam. White played off his “Flight White” nickname when he split two columns of cheerleaders dressed as flight attendants for a powerful two-handed dunk.
Hardly outdone, Ross earned a perfect score on his first dunk, whipping the ball around his waist before smacking down a one-hander.
Evans, meanwhile, used former Jazz giant Mark Eaton as a prop on his dazzling first attempt. The 7-foot-4 Eaton held the ball above his head as he sat on a box and Evans swiped the ball and soared over his head.
Earlier, Portland rookie Damian Lillard beat Philadelphia’s Jrue Holiday to win the Skills Competition. Players navigated through a dribbling circuit, had to make a jumper from the top of the key and hit passing targets. Lillard finished the course in 29.8 seconds. Holiday’s time was 35.6 seconds.
Houston point guard Jeremy Lin and defending champion Tony Parker also were in the field, but didn’t come close to qualifying for the championship round.
In the first competition of the night, the trio of Miami’s Chris Bosh, WNBA star Swin Cash and Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins won the Shooting Stars competition, beating a team of Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook, WNBA star Maya Moore and former Houston Rocket Robert Horry.
Each team had two minutes to make shots from six locations on the floor, including one from half-court. Wilkins sank a half-court shot for a team time of 1 minute, 29 seconds. Westbrook rimmed out several half-court tries and time ran out before he and his teammates could make one.
The NBA tweaked the scoring format for this year’s All-Star skills exhibitions, with teams representing the East and West competing for charities. The Western Conference defeated the East, 140-125.