If the Heat needs a half-court shot to win Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Chris Bosh will be taking it.
Bosh drained both of his half-court shots on the first try to help his team win the Shooting Stars Competition for the second-consecutive year at NBA All-Star Saturday Night in New Orleans. Bosh, Swin Cash of the WNBA and Dominique Wilkins defeated Kevin Durant’s team to win the exhibition contest. The competition consists of a team making a layup, a free throw, a three-pointer and a half-court shot.
Bosh made the three-pointers and the half-court shots for his team.
“Straight luck,” Bosh said of his half-court shots. “Throw it up and you pray. And I did a quick prayer, and they both went in. So, if it wasn’t for Dominique missing two easy ones on purpose — I knew he was trying to do. He was trying to get us in the zone and it worked.”
There were two teams from each conference. Team Durant beat Team Curry — made up of Stephen Curry, Dell Curry and Becky Hammon — in the first round to represent the West. Team Bosh edged Team Hardaway (Tim Hardaway Jr., Tim Hardaway Sr. and Elena Delle Donne) in the first round.
Bosh practiced his half-court shots before the competition without much success. He then changed up his form for the competition, going with his normal jump shot. It made a difference.
“I just decided to switch it up last minute and just shoot my normal regular jump shot, because I have range,” Bosh joked. “I keep asking Coach to let me shoot that shot in the game. He won’t let me do it yet, but I think that today will give him confidence if he was watching.”
San Antonio’s Marco Belinelli needed to win a tiebreaker round in the final to beat Bradley Beal in the 3-point contest. Belinelli had a score of 19 to win the West, beating Damian Lillard’s 18. Beal had a score of 21 to win the East, easily eclipsing defending champ Kyrie Irving’s total of 16.
Earlier, Lillard became a skills-challenge champion for a second straight year, as he and Trey Burke — representing the Western Conference — beat the tandem of Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo of the East by a tenth of a second.
The Eastern Conference trio of Toronto’s Terrence Ross, Indiana’s Paul George and Washington’s John Wall won the slam dunk contest.
Wall capped the triumph by leaping over a Wizards mascot while grabbing the ball from in front of the mascot’s head, then throwing down a double-pump, reverse, two-handed jam. The dunk eliminated Sacramento’s Ben McLemore, the last hope for the Western Conference. Wall was named “dunker of the night.”
For the first time, the dunk contest was a competition between conferences. Lillard and Golden State’s Harrison Barnes also represented the West.
Bosh, Cash and Wilkins’ news conference following the event was the highlight of the night. They joked about their championship and Cash joked about “going for a three-peat” when the All-Star weekend moves to New York next season.
Asked which back-to-back was more satisfying, the Shooting Stars Competition or the NBA championships, Bosh joked along.
“Good question,” Bosh said. “Today’s back-to-back was extremely difficult. They were both hard. It’s tough dealing with expectations, but that’s what champions do. We just find a way.”