On a night of close competition, LaVine finishes 4th in 3-point contest
There was an upset, a buzzer-beater and double overtime at All-Star Saturday Night at the United Center, but no championship for the Bulls.
Zach LaVine, the Bulls' lone participant in All-Star Weekend, finished fourth out of eight in the 3-point contest and did not make the finals.
"I'm ticked. I'm mad, because you guys know how I want to go out there and put a show on," LaVine said. "I got off to a hot start. I ended hot as well. It just wasn't enough."
Sacramento's Buddy Hield won the 3-point contest. He trailed Phoenix's Devin Booker by 1 point and nailed the money ball on his final shot attempt to earn a 1-point victory at the buzzer.
"As a shooter, this is on your bucket list," Hield said.
Miami center Bam Adebayo was a surprising winner in the skills challenge. That contest ends when a player completes the obstacle course by hitting a 3-pointer and Adebayo is just 1-for-11 from long range this season. He's made 4 3-pointers over his three-year pro career.
The dunk contest was another thriller. Miami's Derrick Jones Jr. and Orlando's Aaron Gordon needed two extra dunks to break a tie. Gordon lost by 1 point even though he jumped over 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall on his last dunk. Fall nearly fell when Gordon crashed into his head, so maybe that was the difference.
Gordon lost a tightly-contested dunk contest to LaVine in 2016, so this felt like déjà vu for Gordon, who announced his retirement from the event.
"It's a wrap," he said. "I feel like I should have two trophies, you know what I mean? It's over for that. My next goal is going to be trying to win the 3-point contest."
LaVine was seventh player to shoot at the 3-point contest and had a tough score to beat, since Hield, Booker and Washington's Davis Bertans all had 26 points or more.
LaVine started hot, hitting 4 of his first 5 attempts, cooled off on the wings, made just 2 shots from his money rack and missed both 30-footers, a new twist added to the contest. By the time LaVine drained most of his shots from the corner with his final rack, it was too late. He finished with 23 points, which was better than Brooklyn's Joe Harris, Miami's Duncan Robinson, Charlotte's Devonte Graham and Atlanta's Trae Young.
"If I could change it around, I would have put those money balls in the corner," he said. "I would have put them last. My thinking was I start off hot, that's how I was practicing. The middle shots, that can put you over the top. You can mess around and be at 20 points at the middle, then you can coast all the way through. It's just different strategy. At the end of the day, you've just got to make them."
LaVine said he hopes to do the 3-point contest again and continued to insist he has nothing left to prove in the dunk contest, having won it twice when he played for Minnesota. He talked about getting more chances to practice for the contest since he was at home, though it ultimately didn't pay off.
"It's a little more relaxed because it's at home," he said. "Usually the experience is you have a driver and things like that. You don't know your way around the city or know a lot of places. I can go home and sleep in my bed. Between events I drove home. It's cool. I'm the host here a little bit, telling people where to go and things to do.
"Not everybody gets to do this. This is my third now. I'm thankful for every moment, you've got to take it in. One day the ball stops bouncing and you're not going to be able to do these type of things."
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