Patrick Beverley Wins All-Star Skills Comp
Patrick Beverley was a late replacement to the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night line-up as a fill in for John Wall who pulled out due to his sore ankles. Wall will still start in the big game Sunday, but didn’t want to push it so the spot opened up.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge underwent a revamp with the players now competing in heats against each other. Moreover the 3-point shot was moved to the end of the round making it more difficult to hit. Given how poorly Beverley has been from behind the arc in wide open scenarios of late he didn’t have too many people betting on him. Couple that with the fact he was facing speedster Isaiah Thomas who the course was made for and his odds didn’t appear too good.
Feb 14, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (2) shoots the basketball during the 2015 NBA All Star Skills Challenge competition at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Round 1 saw the 8 player field broken into pairs comprised of:
- Isaiah Thomas vs. Patrick Beverley (replacing John Wall)
- Jeff Teague vs. Elfrid Payton (Michael Carter-Williams replacement)
- Brandon Knight vs. Trey Burke (last year’s winner)
- Kyle Lowry vs. Dennis Schroder (Jimmy Butler‘s replacement)
Early odds were on either Thomas due to his speed and 3-point prowess, Kyle Lowry for his 3-point shooting, passing ability or Jeff Teague because he does them all well.
Round 1 Results:
- Beverley won, but it was a comedy of errors as Thomas initially fell behind missing his passes. Then they both missed their 3 attempts at the 3-point shots and ran to rebound their ball and do a lay-up.
- Teague won easily over Payton
- Knight pulled ahead early but missed his first two 3-point shots allowing Burke to catch up. Then Burke hit his final attempt
- Lowry was the smoothest and easiest winner hitting his first attempt at the 3-point shot without Schroder even arriving at the line to take his 3 point shot.
Round 2 Results:
- Once again Beverley fell behind missing on his chest passes and yet again it was the 3-point shot that cost his opponent the round. By the time Beverley caught up Teague had taken and missed two 3-pointers. Beverley threw up his first attempt and hit it to win the round.
Beverley stayed true to form falling behind Knight. It made me laugh that Beverley couldn’t seem to hit any of his chest passes through all 3 rounds. Geesh no wonder he never has many assists. But, once again he lucked out when his opponent missed his first two 3-point attempts allowing Beverley to catch up and once again nail his first attempt. With the All-Star Game mostly focused on Some of the most exciting All-Star weekends At the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night
I like the change in the format because it made the players more competitive.
Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley both called Beverley’s win an upset and even he wasn’t denying that fact. Afterward there were jokes about his missed chest passes and luck of his 3-point shooting. Beverley deadpanned that coach Kevin McHale should be drawing up special plays for him and it’s no wonder he is bad at passing because James Harden always has the ball in his hand.
In response James Harden said: “now you understand why I need to have the ball in my hand”.
Degree Shooting Stars:
For a third consecutive year Chris Bosh’s team which included Bosh, Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash won.
They had good competition this year with Russell Westbrook‘s team looking like they might steal it after their :35 first round, but n the finals they couldn’t connect on the half court shot.
Foot Locker 3-Point Contest:
Many predicted this would be the highlight event of the night with the best 3-point field ever assembled:
Feb 14, 2015; New York, NY, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) during the 2015 NBA All Star Three Point Contest competition at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
- Wesley Matthews
- J.J. Redick
- James Harden
- Kyrie Irving
- Stephen Curry
- Klay Thompson
- Kyle Korver
- Marco Belinelli
Matthews got out to a strong start hitting 7 money balls and ended with 22 points which in years past would easily have taken him to the 2nd round, but with these sharp shooters in the house it wasn’t enough.
JJ Redick was rolling but kept stepping past the line negating at least 2 (possibly 3) of his makes giving him 17 points
James Harden hit 3 of 5 on his money ball rack and 5 money balls in total, but he only hit 5 other shots giving him a low of 15 points.
Kyrie Irving hit 4 out of 5 on his money ball rack and a total of 6 money balls plus 9 regular 3-pointers for 23 points
Stephen Curry hit all but one of his money balls for 16 points plus 7 regular 3-pointers to tie Irving with 23 points
Klay Thompson set the first round high with 24 hitting 7 money balls and 1o regular 3-pointers. He also shot a perfect second rack the only player to do so.
Kyle Korver who most people predicted would win shot only 18 and seemingly got off track after his money rack. In fact it was the only 4 money balls he hit.
The defending champion Marco Belinelli hit 5 money balls and 8 regular 3-pointers for 18 points so didn’t advance.
Irving shot first getting off to a solid start hitting on 8 of his first 10 shots but them whiffed the 3rd rack, regained some from on the 4th rack hitting all but the money ball and got just 2 of his final money ball rack for a total of 17 points.
Curry lowered the boom missing just 5 shots and hit 13 in a row to set a record with 27 points putting the pressure on Thompson who shot last.
Thompson had a good first rack but didn’t find a rhythm afterward and ended with 14 points although his last shot did go in he got it off late.
This was Curry’s 4th attempt to win, so it was fitting as surely Thompson will get his another year.
Sprite Slam Dunk:
I could describe it, but it’s probably best to just let you see for yourself:
I’m not sure it was ever going to be a battle given the dunking prowess of 19 year old Zach LaVine. I like most people picked him to win, so it wasn’t a surprise. Still, he put on a show and perhaps next year he’ll learn how to get the crowd into it a little more with some pre and post dunk antics. He used team mates Andrew Wiggins and Shabazz Muhammed on 2 of his dunks but neither got 50’s like his first two dunks did. Still he won easily setting up the potential for him to face Wiggins next year on his home town court in Toronto.
Don’t miss the All-Star game today when Rocket James Harden will start for the Western Conference.
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