All-Star Saturday night to be quite a show
=== All-Star Saturday night to be quite a show ===
(Sports Network) – While the 54th annual All-Star Game will be the main
course on Sunday evening, there will be plenty of appetizers for fans to munch
on Saturday night. The festivities will include the Three-Point Shootout,
Rising Stars Slam Dunk contest, Shooting Stars contest and Skills Challenge.
The Three-Point Shootout should be one of the highlights of the weekend, as
injured Denver guard Voshon Lenard will return to the hardwood to defend his
2004 title. Lenard, who played in just one game before rupturing his Achilles’
tendon this season, will have to fend off five of the league’s best
sharpshooters in the competition, including Seattle’s Ray Allen and
Philadelphia’s Kyle Korver. Allen won the 2001 Three-Point contest and Korver
finished a close third last season.
The Rising Stars Slam Dunk contest will be returning to the site of the
original ABA event in 1976 and the subsequent NBA contest in 1984. Julius
Erving won the original contest and Larry Nance won the NBA’s inaugural
contest in the Mile High City.
Although 2004 champion Fred Jones of the Indiana Pacers won’t be competing in
the dunk contest, there will be four talented young players involved,
highlighted by third-year forward Amare Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns.
Stoudemire has exploded this season, registering 26.2 points (4th-NBA) and 8.7
rebounds (19th) per contest. The 22-year-old is known for his ability to get
to the rim, as he is second in the league in field goal percentage (.570).
Stoudemire will be challenged in the dunk contest by rookie Josh Smith of the
Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans’ players J.R. Smith and Chris Anderson. Smith
has accounted for 67 dunks this season, while shooting 48 percent from the
field. The winner will get $25,000 for his favorite charity.
The Shooting Stars contest will have four teams consisting of three players
from Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles and Phoenix. Each squad will have a current
NBA player, a former NBA star and a current WNBA player from the city. The
contestants will be competing for $75,000 in prize money.
The third annual Skills challenge will involve NBA stars Steve Nash of the
Phoenix Suns, Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards, Boykins and Luke
Ridnour of the Seattle SuperSonics. The point guards will compete in a two-
round timed “obstacle course” event consisting of dribbling, passing and