• Rookie LaVine soars to Slam Dunk title

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    Zach LaVine

    Zach LaVine

    NEW YORK: Minnesota’s teenage rookie Zach LaVine came up with some high-flying fireworks on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, part of the league’s All-Star weekend festivities.

    LaVine, 19, scored a perfect 100 in the opening round in which he wowed the crowd at the Brooklyn Nets’ Barclays Center arena with a through-the-legs, one-handed reverse dunk.

    He followed up with a behind-the-back slam off a ball he tossed up himself.

    In the championship round, he defeated the Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo with two more between-the-legs slams that earned 94 points.

    Teammate Andrew Wiggins assisted —holding the ball out for LaVine on the first effort from the right baseline and passing off the basket stanchion on the second.

    LaVine became the second-youngest winner of the competition. Kobe Bryant won it in 1997 at the age of 18.

    LaVine topped Oladipo in a landslide after Oladipo failed to complete his own between-the-legs dunk over teammate Elfrid Payton on his first try of the final round.

    Oladipo had brought fans to their feet in the first round with a flying 360-degree spin on the way to a two-handed reverse finish.

    He and LaVine advanced to the final round as Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo were eliminated in the first round.

    The dunk contest was just one of the events on All-Star Saturday Night.

    The All-Star Game will be held across town at the Knicks’ Madison Square Garden arena in Manhattan on Sunday.

    Stephen Curry defeated Golden State Warriors teammate Klay Thompson and Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving in the final round of the Three-Point Contest with a record score of 27.

    AFP

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