Robinson takes dunk contest in disputed final
Houston, TX (Sports Network) – New York Knicks rookie Nate Robinson
defeated Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers in the first ever dunk-off
at the finals of the NBA’s annual Slam Dunk contest at All-Star Saturday
Robinson bested Iguodala by a score of 47 to 46 on the final dunk despite most
in the building feeling Iguodala had won it. It took Robinson 13 tries before
connecting on his winner.
The 5-foot-9 former Washington star went between his legs and around his back
with the ball before heaving it off the backboard and crashing down an
Iguodala answered by racing on the baseline and going between his legs before
finishing with a thunderous reverse slam that erupted the crowd. The forward
began celebrating with teammate Allen Iverson and a number of other players
but the judges differed and gave the win to Robinson.
The diminutive Robinson won over the judges by soaring over the league’s
first under 6-foot dunk champion, Atlanta’s Spud Webb, in the final round. The
judges declared Robinson’s effort perfect and awarded him with a 50.
Iguodala also scored a perfect 50 on one of his slams in the finals but both
players scored just a 44 on their other dunks to force the dunk-off.
Iguodala won the first round with one of the greatest efforts in the history
of the contest. Iguodala placed himself behind the backboard and had Iverson
flip the ball off the back of the backboard. Iguodala grabbed the ball in
mid-air went under the board and finished with a reverse slam.
The former Arizona star finished the opening frame with a combined score of 95
while Robinson made the finals with a score of 93.
Memphis’ Hakim Warrick and defending champion Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks
rounded out the dunk competitors. Warrick ended with a total score of 86,
while Smith had just 81.
In the Three-Point Shootout, Dirk Nowitzki became the first Dallas
Mavericks player to win the NBA’s annual Three-Point Shootout at All-Star
Saturday Night. Nowitzki buried 7-of-8 shots at one point and scored a total
of 18 points in the final. Nowitzki bested Washington sharp-shooter Gilbert
Arenas by two points. The third finalist, 2001 champion Ray Allen of the
Seattle SuperSonics, had 15 points.
In the opening round of the shootout, Allen led all scorers with 19 points.
Arenas and Nowitzki were next with 14 apiece. Those players who didn’t
advance included Jason Terry (13) of Dallas, Detroit’s Chauncey Billups
(12) and defending champion Quentin Richardson (12) of New York.
The event was not without controversy. Replays showed that Nowitzki’s final
shot in the first round came after the buzzer and should not have been
allowed. The final shot was worth two points and allowed Nowitzki to move into
the finals. Instant replay is not used in the NBA Three-Point Shootout.
In the Skills Challenge, Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade outdueled LeBron
James of the Cleveland Cavaliers to capture first place. Wade finished with a
time of 26.1 seconds in the final, while James recorded a time of 33.7
Wade had a first-round time of 39 seconds and James a time of 40.5
seconds. Defending champion Steve Nash of Phoenix had the worst time this
year at 52.8 seconds. New Orleans/Oklahoma City rookie Chris Paul also missed
the final with a time of 42.6 seconds.
The Skills Challenge is made up of a course that includes various
dribbling, shooting and passing obstacles.
To start the night, the San Antonio trio of Tony Parker, Kendra Wecker and
Steve Kerr captured the Shooting Stars competition. The team made shots from
six spots on the floor in just 25.1 seconds.
The stars competition is made up of NBA, WNBA and former NBA stars. A team
from Los Angeles featuring Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and Lisa Leslie finished
second, 16.2 seconds behind. Houston’s team of Tracy McGrady, Clyde Drexler
and Sheryl Swoopes placed third with a time of 47.2 seconds, while the
Phoenix Suns team of Shawn Marion, Dan Majerle and Kelly Miller finished last
with a time of 47.7 seconds.
A Phoenix team consisting of Marion, Majerle and Diana Taurasi won last year’s
Shooting Stars competition.