Dwight Howard

Tuesday And-1 links: Dwight Howard not that influential. Apparently.

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Here is our regular 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) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Dwight Howard and James Dolan — congratulations! You made GQ’s list of least influential people in sports. Apparently the people at GQ have never heard Dolan’s band play.

Which NBA teams have the most shout-outs in rap songs? You should be able to guess that.

• If you want to hear Kevin Durant’s new hip-hop track, follow the link.

• This is a really fantastic bit of writing by Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com, detailing the Celtics Avery Bradley and what he has had to do to recover from shoulder surgery.

• If you read one thing today, Zach Lowe’s look around the NBA at Grantland should be it.

• Jrue Holiday thinks he deserves All-Star consideration. Holiday is having a fantastic season, the best of his career. But voters (and the coaches picking the reserves) chose not by position but rather two guards, which means he is in a conference with where he has to get picked in front of guards like Deron Williams, Rajon Rondo, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Kyrie Irving (Derrick Rose happens to be out) it just seems unlikely.

• Stephen Curry talks about he changed his game since Monta Ellis was traded.

• In case you missed it, Marco Belinelli got a DNP-Coach’s Decision Monday. He is pretty much out of the Bulls rotation.

• Ricky Rubio is in a new “backyard wrestler” ad for Foot Locker.

• Lamar Odom is averaging 1.4 points per game on 21.4 percent shooting with a PER of 2.7. Yikes. Now Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said Lamar Odom knows he needs to play better and he is working to keep Odom “engaged.” Not good, Clippers fans. Not good at all.

• Better news Clippers fans — here is a Q&A with Chauncey Billups.

Here’s the video of the elbow Matt Barnes threw that got him ejected.

• Want to spend a day with Phil Jackson? TMZ camera crews following you around are not included, but you can ask him to tell you the real story about Jerry Kraus or Jim Buss. Just make a $10 donation through the Web site Omaze.com to the American Indian College Fund and you are entered in the raffle. The winner will receive airfare and accommodation for 2 to Los Angeles in addition to their day with Jackson. Sorry, also Jeannie not part of the package.

Watch it again: Epic dunk contest duel between Zach LaVine, Aaron Gordon

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TORONTO — I am always hesitant to say a player/team/situation is one of the best of ever because the history of the NBA is filled with greats. We tend to overstate how good something current can be.  That said…

That was one of the best dunk contests ever.

Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon put on a show for the ages. Gordon had the best dunks of the night (in my opinion), but LaVine is consistently amazing, every dunk he does is flat out ridiculous.

Officially, LaVine won. In reality, we all won. Enjoy watching it one more time.

Aaron Gordon both legs over the mascot, ball-under-the-legs dunk (VIDEO)

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TORONTO — Zach LaVine won the NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest, but in an epic night for my money this was the single best dunk.

Orlando’s Aaron Gordon broke ground with this one — guys have jumped over mascots and other players before (and a Kia hood), but by splitting their legs apart. Gordon just put both legs over Stuff (that’s the mascot’s name, Stuff the Magic Dragon, I don’t make this up) — and took the ball off the mascot’s head, went under his legs, and threw it down.

Insane.

Gordon deserved a trophy for his performance in this dunk contest.

Zach LaVine edges Aaron Gordon in epic, insane Dunk Contest

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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.)

“I was prepared for four (second round dunks),” LaVine said. “To tell the truth, he came with something that no one else has done. He did two dunks that were just crazy with the mascots, jumping over them. We just kept pushing each other until the last dunk. I’ve got to give it up to my boy Will “The Thrill” Barton. It’s because of him I think I won. Because he said try to go from the free-throw line. I’d never done that before, and I just tried it. So I guess it was a great dunk. I think it was the best one ever.”

The Air Canada Centre crowd was exploding with every dunk. The two men went to a dunk-off — and got two more 50s.

“If I knew it was going to be like that, I would have prepared better and we would have been here dunking all night, going back 50 after 50 after 50 after 50,” Gordon said. “We would have been here all night. I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I was just hoping Zach was going to miss, and it wasn’t going to happen. You could see as my facial expressions when Zach dunks it, it’s like okay, that’s a 50. Like I know we’re going to have to dunk again.”

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.