2012 NBA All-Star Game

Monday And-1 links: All-Star Weekend notes edition

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

All weekend Deron Williams got asked about Jeremy Lin again and again — not his favorite topic, as you might guess — but he did reveal this one little nugget: other point guards are gearing up to go at him now. With all the attention, a lot of very prideful players have Lin specifically in their sights.

There are countless events and promotions that come to a city on All-Star Weekend. From my vantage point, with Orlando’s own Dwight Howard an adidas guy and the fact they have the clothing contract with the league, adidas gear seemed to be everywhere.

I was at the Carmelo Anthony party on Saturday — thanks for the hookup Brett — and Andrew Sharp sums it up pretty well.

Amway Center is a really beautiful building inside.

Neverest performed the Canadian national anthem on Sunday. When I asked the guys from The Basketball Jones — who are Canadian and live and work in Toronto — who the band was they had no idea. Never heard of them.

While the expensive suites and lower bowl seats were only lightly filled Friday (and even Sunday there were empty seats there) the upper bowl seats where the regular fans of Orlando sat was pretty much full every night.

TNT got big ratings the first couple nights of All-Star Weekend. The Rising Stars Challege on Friday was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history. The Saturday night events (three-point, dunk contest, etc) was tied for the second-highest rated NBA All-Star Saturday Night all-time (trailing 2009).

Ben & Jerry’s put out a “Taste the Lin-Sanity” ice cream, but had to stop productionwhen there were complaints they put fortune cookies in it.

While everyone else was partying in Orlando, Vince Carter hosted a massive fundraiser for Barack Obama.

Scottie Pippen says the current Bulls remind him of the Bulls teams he was on in the ‘80s.

Shaquille O’Neal is having a little tiff with a Puerto Rican radio station.

Mike D’Antoni is pretty confident the Knicks can figure out how to blend all that talent.

Andrew Bogut is not going to need surgery on his ankle. Which is good. But don’t confuse that with him being back soon.

Joel Przybilla has passed his physical and will be added to the Blazers roster in the next day or two, reports the Oregonian. Someone will have to be cut to make room.

Nets on Monday will sign Gerald Green of the D-Fenders of the D-League.

The Warriors will send Jeremy Tyler to the D-League on Monday.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

Minnesota Timberwolves Zach LaVine slam dunks the ball during the NBA all-star skills competition in Toronto on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (Mark Blinch/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Associated Press
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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.

The two men advanced to the finals — dismissing Will Barton and Andre Drummond, each of whom had good dunks — and that was when it got wild.

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.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon with the over-the-mascot mad dunk

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TORONTO — Aaron Gordon was giving Zach LaVine all he could handle in the Dunk Contest.

He blew the lid off the Air Canada Centre with this dunk in the first round — and it wasn’t even his best dunk of the night. Never seen this before.

This dunk contest was awesome, so much more video to come.

Zach LaVine opens Slam Dunk Contest title defense with spectacular behind-the-back slam (VIDEO)

during the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge 2016 at Air Canada Centre on February 12, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
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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:

Splash Brothers showtime: Klay Thompson beats Stephen Curry to win Three-Point Contest

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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.