It took one dunk to declare a champion, and about 30-40 minutes to declare the NBA's new contest format for the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest a complete dud.
Aside from the fact no one really understood the rules, the contest ended right when it was getting exciting and came crashing with a thud.
John Wall brought the house down, and won the competition for the East team of Paul George, Terrence Ross and Wall, with a leap over Wizards mascot G-Wiz and a stunning reverse dunk. That was followed, of course, by a rendition of the Dougie, Wall's signature dunk.
That ended the night with somewhat of a thud. Wall and McLemore put on the best dunks of the evening in what turned out to be the final battle of the evening. McLemore was brought out in a robe and a squire along with Kings minority owner Shaquille O'Neal and knight "Shaq-lemore" before leaping over O'Neal sitting on a throne.
Before that, the highlight was almost certainly the free style round that featured the three dunkers trying to complete as many dunks as they could in 90 seconds. The East team weaved together some excellent alley oops and lobs to each other. McLemore here had an excellent dunk with a one-handed throwdown off the backboard.
The NBA's marquee event this All-Star Weekend just lacked that buzz though. The freestyle round featured some excellent dunks, but not enough space to digest and enjoy them. The dunk contest was over before it could really get started.
Worse yet, the East dunkers never got to compete against each other. Fans could only want more despite the confusing format.
It could have worked, it just did not. Click after the jump to see highlights from the evening:
The rest of the evening was the typical entertainment for NBA Saturday Night.
The Spurs' Marco Belinelli defeated Kyrie Irving in the finals of the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, making 24 points in an overtime shootout after Bradley Beal made his last six shots to force an extra round. That is the kind of excitement you wanted to see all night.
Similarly, Damian Lillard and Trey Burke defeated Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams by 0.1 seconds in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. And then Chris Bosh drained back-to-back half-court shots to give his team of Bosh, Swin Cash and Dominique Wilkins their second straight Sears Shooting Stars victory.
In all, the teams evenly split $500,000 for their respective charities. They would be the real winners this night.
Yet, somehow, as a basketball fan you wanted a little bit more. Hopefully Sunday's NBA All-Star Game lives up to the hype.
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