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Jazz forward dunks to victory

ORLANDO — Jazz F Jeremy Evans won the Slam Dunk Contest at the All-Star Saturday night festivities.

The second-year player out of Western Kentucky, who replaced injured Knicks G Iman Shumpert, earned 29 percent of about 3 million text message votes cast by fans. This was the first year fans had total control of voting.

Evans beat out Rockets F Chase Budinger, Pacers G/F Paul George and T'wolves F Derrick Williams.

"It's just amazing to come out here to give the fans what they want," Evans said.

Evans dunked with a camera on his head, dunked two balls while jumping over teammate Gordon Hayward and donned a jersey of ex-Jazz star Karl "The Mailman" Malone while dunking over mailman-dressed comedian Kevin Hart.

Budinger got his loudest cheer when he donned a Cedric Ceballos jersey and imitated his 1992 blindfolded dunk, completing it with a reverse slam.

3-point contest: Timberwolves F Kevin Love defeated Thunder F Kevin Durant 17-14 in the final. Love and Heat G Mario Chalmers tied for the final semifinal berth, but Love won a tiebreaker. Heat G/F James Jones, the defending champ, was eliminated in the semifinals and Magic F Ryan Anderson in the first round.

Skills Competition: Spurs PG Tony Parker won the competition that involves moving through a dribbling circuit, throwing chest passes through a hanging tire and driving for a layup. He beat Celtics PG Rajon Rondo and Nets PG Deron Williams in the final.

Looking good: Union leader Billy Hunter said he's pleased with the state of the league while reserving judgment about the labor deal in the aftermath of the prolonged lockout. "The TV ratings are up. The attendance is up. Merchandising is up. So all the signs are positive," he said.

Hunter said he's not surprised the league has rebounded. "I believed that the electricity was in the air and what was going to happen was the same thing that happened to football," he said. "(There was) just a groundswell of support when the NFLPA and NFL got their deal."

Next commissioner: David Stern endorsed his deputy, Adam Silver, to replace him. As for when that will be, Stern, 69, said only he will retire within five years.

RISING RATINGS: Friday's Rising Stars Challenge on TNT drew 2.7 million viewers, most in the event's history. The previous record was in 2004, when nearly 2.2 million watched a game that included LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Friday's game earned extra attention when Knicks PG Jeremy Lin was a late addition.

Jazz forward dunks to victory 02/25/12 [Last modified: Sunday, February 26, 2012 12:30am]
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