Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Sports

Wall's wizardry wins dunk event

NEW ORLEANS — John Wall soared over his mascot, and the East stomped on the West in the dunk contest.

Wall's sensational slam finished off a clean sweep for the Wizards star, Paul George of the Pacers and Terrence Ross of the Raptors in the contest's new format, helping the East earn a 2-2 tie against the West on All-Star Saturday.

Answering Kings rookie Ben McLemore's dunk in which he leaped over Shaquille O'Neal seated in a king's throne, Wall took the ball from Wizards mascot G-Man, who held it above his head, then brought it down between his legs and slammed down a reverse dunk.

Judges Dominique Wilkins, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving gave Wall the victory, after previously picking George over Harrison Barnes of the Warriors, and defending champion Ross over Damian Lillard of the Blazers.

Lillard was the first player to compete in three All-Star Saturday events

McLemore came out wearing a king's robe and trailed by O'Neal, who unveiled a "Shaq-Lemore" jersey.

He made it over O'Neal's throne on his second attempt, and O'Neal presented him with a crown.

But moments later, Wall was the real king.

"The slam dunk has returned," said Erving.

THREE-POINT CONTEST: Marco Belinelli of the Spurs needed to win a tiebreaker round in the final to beat Bradley Beal of the Wizards. Beal made his final six shots to tie Belinelli's initial final-round score of 19. Belinelli then racked up an event-high score of 24 for the win.

SKILLS CHALLENGE: Lillard and Trey Burke of the Jazz of the West beat Michael Carter-Williams of the 76ers and the Magic's Victor Oladipo of the East in the final round by a tenth of a second.

The skills course consists of dribbling around obstacles, passing to targets, and hitting shots from medium and close range. The winning time was 45.2 seconds.

SHOOTING STARS: Chris Bosh of the Heat hit a halfcourt shot to give his team the victory. Team Bosh, consisting of Bosh, Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and WNBA player Swin Cash, had a final-round time of 31.4 seconds. Team Durant, consisting of the Thunder's Kevin Durant, Hall of Famer Karl Malone and WNBA player Skylar Diggins, opened the final round with a time of 43.6.

SILVER BACKS raising DRAFT age: Adam Silver kept his focus on the game but hinted at some changes to the business during his first press conference as commissioner. He replaced David Stern on Feb. 1.

Silver would like to raise the age limit but isn't sure there's a need to change the lottery that precedes the draft.

Expansion isn't a current priority but lengthening the All-Star break might be considered.

On the draft, Silver said everywhere he goes that "people dislike so-called one and done," referring to the many players who go to college for just one year to meet the league's age minimum of being one year out of high school and 19 years old. He favors pushing the age minimum to 20.

"It is my belief that if players have an opportunity to mature as players and as people, for a longer amount of time before they come into the league, it will lead to a better league," Silver said.

Nevertheless, he said the Competition Committee would examine the lottery system.

Silver said the league is "not close at the moment" on sponsors on jerseys but he believes "ultimately it will happen in the NBA."

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