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NBA: Towns, Toppin and the Cavs in the spotlight


On the eve of the All-Star Game, Obi Toppin won the dunk contest when Karl-Anthony Towns offered himself the three-point shooting contest. A revised Skills Challenge saw Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, united in a “Team Cavs”, prevail.

The day after the Rising Stars Challenge and as an aperitif of the All-Star Game, the contests enlivened the evening this Saturday in Cleveland. Three events were on the program but not everything was a great success. To kick off the festivities, the NBA set up a new formula for the Skills Challenge with three heterogeneous teams who took part in different events. The first was a shooting test during which each player had 30 seconds to score from five points defined in increasing value between one and five points. In this little game, it was the “Team Cavs” of Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley who signed the best score and pocketed 100 points. Passing skills were then assessed with the three players from each team who had to aim for targets. Held in check by “Team Rooks”, “Team Antetokounmpos” made up of the Giannis brothers, Alex and Thanasis went for the 100 points of victory in a decisive round. Rookies Josh Giddey, Scottie Barnes and Cade Cunningham took their revenge in the relay, an event using the principle of the old Skills Challenge formula, and secured their place in the final with 200 points. To decide between the Cavs and the Antetokounmpo brothers, a three-point shooting contest was organized with the first to succeed who qualified. In this little game, Darius Garland took advantage of the failure of Giannis Antetokoumpo to offer the place in the final to “Team Rooks”. A final whose principle was simple.

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Towns makes three-point contest history

Each team had to convert a shot from midfield as quickly as possible. While the Rookies did it in just under ten seconds, the “Team Cavs” managed to do it in just over four to win this Skills Challenge which, by its confusing principle, will not be remembered. After this first event, the more traditional three-point shooting contest caught the attention of the public at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The NBA’s snipers came together to prove who was the most accurate. After a first round which served as skimming to go from eight candidates to three finalists, Luke Kennard was the most accurate with 28 points against 22 units for Karl-Anthony Towns and Trae Young. The latter qualified with one breath, converting his very last shot to validate his place in the final at the expense of Patty Mills, who had concluded his passage against the basket with 21 points. A final launched with great fanfare by Karl-Anthony Towns. The Minnesota Timberwolves center put enormous pressure on his rivals with a total of 29 points, unheard of in a three-point shooting contest final. Trae Young did his best to compete with “KAT” but the Hawks player could not do better than 26 units. Luke Kennard closed the ban but was caught by the pressure. Uncomfortable in this final, he also finished with 26 points. Karl-Anthony Towns thus becomes the first pivot to win this event, he who claims to be the best inside shooter.

Toppin got his revenge in the dunk contest

To conclude this evening, the artists took over the floor for the dunk contest. The first round was marked in particular by the difficulties of Jalen Green to succeed in his trick. It was only on the ninth attempt that he managed to achieve a “windmill” at the end of an alley-oop. A disappointing and insufficient performance to pass Juan Toscano-Anderson, with a “windmill” above Andrew Wiggins on the first attempt, and Obi Toppin who made a “behind-the-back rider” on the third attempt. While Cole Anthony missed his second dunk, Jalen Green tried to catch up with a 360 degree “rider” but his result did not allow him to invite himself to the final. A final round which was decided on the first attempt by each of the two players. While Obi Toppin scored 45 points with a ‘rider’ made with the help of the board, Juan Toscano-Anderson failed to impress with a simple ‘windmill’ earning him a score of 35 points. Aware that he had to recover and Jason Richardson’s jersey on his back, the back or winger of the Golden State Warriors tried everything but ultimately did nothing. Beaten in the final last year by Anfernee Simmons, Obi Toppin validated his victory with a “rider” with support on the board giving him a score of 47 points and victory in this dunk contest which, like the one proposed in 2021, did not offer anything very exciting.

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