Evans soars for Slam Dunk title
ORLANDO, Florida-The Associated Press
Utah Jazz’s Jeremy Evans dunks with two balls. AP photoUtah’s Jeremy Evans won the Slam Dunk Contest at the NBA’s All-Star Saturday night festivities.
Evans, who got into the competition as a replacement for injured New York guard Iman Shumpert, earned 29 percent of 3 million text message votes cast by fans.
“It’s amazing,” Evans said. “I came in and they asked me how long I’ve been practicing and I think I found time maybe Tuesday, Wednesday and that I was really going to be in it. Thursday night, I came in, they gave me 45 minutes on the court. That’s about it.”
This was the first year that fans had total control of voting, a major tweak from past competitions.
Evans earned the win over Houston’s Chase Budinger, Indiana’s Paul George and Minnesota’s Derrick Williams.
Evans dunked with a camera on his head, dunked two basketballs while jumping over a seated assistant and then donned a Karl Malone jersey while dunking over mailman-dressed comedian Kevin Hart.
Meanwhile, Minnesota forward Kevin Love won the 3-point Shootout.
Love was consistent throughout, but had to survive a tiebreaker in the first round and sweat out the last few shots from Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant to pull out the 17-14 victory in the final.
Love tied for third in Round 1 with 18, along with Miami’s Mario Chalmers, but beat him 5-4 in a tiebreaker. Defending champion James Jones led all shooters in the opening round with 22 and Durant was next with 20.
Orlando’s Ryan Anderson just missed eliminating both Love and Chalmers, totaling 17 after missing his final 2-point shot.
Love and Durant both had 16 in Round 2 to advance to the finals, with Jones posting 12.
“When I came out of the draft, I was told that I shouldn’t shoot 3s,” said Love. “It was motivation for me. I always knew I could shoot it and I didn’t think I had to stop, just because of my size or the position I played.”
Meanwhile, San Antonio point guard Tony Parker won the Skills Competition. Parker was the only one of six participants to break 30 seconds in the first round (29.2) and this time of 32.8 in the final run on the obstacle course was better than Boston’s Rajon Rondo (34.6) and New Jersey’s Deron Williams (41.4). Williams won the competition in 2008, which involves participants moving through a dribbling circuit, successfully throwing chest passes through a hanging tire and driving for a layup.
In another event, Team New York, consisting of former Knicks star Allan Houston, current Knicks guard Landry Fields and Cappie Pondexter of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, won the Shooting Stars.