For some odd reason, the NBA changed the format on its marquee event of All-Star Saturday.
But Washington’s John Wall was still able to work out the bugs and come out a winner.
Wall put on a show-stopping performance in the newly-formatted dunk contest Saturday night at the Smoothie King Center. His reverse dunk while jumping over the Wizards’ mascot stole the show and — along with Paul George and Terrence Ross — helped the East upend the West in the NBA’s showcase contest.
The East swept the freestyle round and all three of the subsequent battle-round matches. The West, represented by Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard and Ben McLemore, barely put up a fight.
Meanwhile in a vote by fans, Wall was named the best dunker of the night. When asked what won it for him, Wall said: “I think the last dunk. I had never done that one before.”
In the contest Dallas Mavericks guard Jose Calderon mysteriously wasn’t invited to, San Antonio Spurs guard Marco Belinelli won the 3-point shootout.
But it didn’t come easy.
Washington’s Bradley Beal injected some drama into the contest when he hit his last six baskets to score 19 points and force a tiebreaker. However, Belinelli cranked it up a notch and outscored Beal in the tiebreaker session 24-18.
“I was a little bit nervous at the beginning and I think that I shot two air balls,” Belinelli said. “But in the end, I was focused. I really cared about this trophy.
“I think it was important to me to win, to be part of this All-Star Weekend. And I’m just happy to bring this one to San Antonio for me, for my family, my fans, and for sure all the Spurs and my teammates.”
Team Bosh wins
Team Bosh repeated as champions of the Shooting Stars contest.
Consisting of Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash, Team Bosh posted a winning time of 31.4 seconds. That mark was far better than the second-place finish of Team Durant, which comprised Kevin Durant, Skylar Diggins and Karl Malone, who timed in at 43.6 seconds.
Bosh drilled the half-court shot which earned the win for Team Bosh.
“Personally, I was hoping that he made that shot because I was running out of gas, to tell you the truth,” Wilkins said. “But it’s all about kind of getting a little luck, measuring the right shot and you happen to get a chance to knock down two, so he kind of saved us.”
The team of Trey Burke and Damian Lillard defeated Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo in the Skills Challenge by the slimmest of margins.
Burke and Lillard went last and created some drama when they were clocked at 45.2 seconds. That time barely knocked off Oladipo and Carter-Williams, who finished the event in 45.3 seconds.