According to the Associated Press, Phoenix Suns rookie Earl Clark has been sent down to the D-League. Clark was the 14th overall pick in last year’s draft, but hasn’t gotten off to a particularly quick start in the NBA, averaging 2.7 points per game on 35.5% shooting from the field. Clark has appeared in 45 games for the Suns this season, and has managed to score in double figures on three occasions. February was a particularly tough month for Clark, who went 2-13 from the field over the course of the month without getting to the line once.
TORONTO — That. Was. Amazing.
In a dunk contest that will go down with the all-time greats — Jordan vs. Dominique, Dr. J from the free throw line — Minnesota’s Zach LaVine defended his dunk contest title. Barely. Because Orlando’s Aaron Gordon was doing dunks nobody had ever seen before.
And LaVine was bringing it just as hard.
There were four second-round dunks, and four perfect scores of 50. (That was in spite of Shaq, who wanted to give nines for second attempts.)
The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.
So they went to a second-round of overtime, where LaVine put up another 50 and won the contest.
Gordon was close to perfect. Zach LaVine can flat-out fly.
TORONTO — Zach LaVine clearly heard all the talk that Aaron Gordon or Will Barton had a chance to upset him in the Slam Dunk Contest. He came out ready to prove his superiority right off the bat. This behind-the-back slam was his first attempt of the night:
Even better was the reaction, both from Andre Drummond and from LaVine’s Minnesota teammates:
TORONTO — It came down to the Splash Brothers. Because of course it did. Just like last season.
In the final round of the NBA All-Star Saturday Three-Point Shootout, defending champ Stephen Curry hit his first eight shots and set the bar high with 23 points — the best score of the night.
His backcourt teammate Klay Thompson responded by draining his last seven shots, which included the entire money rack, and put up 27 points — tying the event record.
That gave Thompson the upset win and the Three-Point Contest title.
Although, is it an upset if the second best shooter in the game beats the best?
“It was like déjà vu last year,” Thompson said. “Not gonna lie, I got nervous when he hit his first eight, and I didn’t think he was going to miss. But it was exciting, just coming back to Oakland [with the title], you know. Back-to-back years for Splash Brothers, it’s pretty cool.”
So does Thompson have bragging rights?
“(For) about 364 days, and then — but that’s a daily thing we do,” Thompson said. “We love to shoot against each other. You know, I’ve never been on a team with someone who shoots it better than me, so it’s a privilege to work with him every day. He makes me that much better.”
The Final round was two you expected — the Splash Brothers — plus one few did, Suns rookie Devin Booker.
Getting there was not simple. In the first round, Thompson set a high bar going first and putting up 22. Curry got hot in the middle, then hit the last two money balls to reach 21. James Harden and J.J. Redick ( who stayed behind the line this year) scored very solid 20s. Later 19-year-old rookie Booker put up a 20 to tie those two veterans. Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (13 points) Portland’s C.J. McCollum (14) and home-town crowd favorite Raptor Kyle Lowry (15) got bounced. .
That left Harden, Redick, and McCollum in a tiebreaker, and the rookie calmly put up a 12 in 30 seconds to advance.
Booker took a step back in the final round with a 16.
Not that it mattered with the Splash Brothers in the building.