Wall, Belinelli win in All-Star skills

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Eastern Conference All-Star John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards competes in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest 2014 as part of the 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. AFP PHOTO

Eastern Conference All-Star John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards competes in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest 2014 as part of the 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. AFP PHOTO

NEW ORLEANS: Washington’s John Wall won the Slam Dunk Contest and Italy’s Marco Belinelli captured the 3-Point Shootout in skills competitions on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) ahead of the 63rd NBA All-Star Game.

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Before Sunday’s showdown between elite lineups from the Eastern and Western Conference in New Orleans, players competed in a relaxed atmosphere for bragging rights in skills competitions.

Wall won a social media vote of viewers to capture the Slam Dunk individual trophy with an epic reverse slam dunk after leaping over his team’s mascot to grab the ball.

“That dunk had never been done before,” Wall said. “A lot of people had been double pumping before but I saw the opportunity and I was able to do it.”

A revamped Slam Dunk format featured knockout matches with scoring from judges Julius Erving, Magic Johnson and Dominique Wilkins—all retired NBA legends.

Defending champion Terrence Ross of Toronto beat Portland’s Damian Lillard and Indiana’s Paul George downed Golden State’s Harrison Barnes.

Then Wall beat Sacramento’s Ben McLemore to give East players a sweep over their West rivals with a dunk that earned him overall best dunker honors.

McLemore leaped over a seated Shaquille O’Neal for his dunk, but Wall responded by leaping over a standing mascot and making a reverse slam.

“That dunk is one of the best I have seen in a long time,” Wilkins said.

San Antonio Spurs guard Belinelli defeated Washington guard Bardley Beal in a tie-breaker final of the 3-Point Shootout.

Belinelli made seven of his final nine shots for 19 points in the final, then Beal sank his final six shots to equal him on 19 to force a replay tie-breaker.

Belinelli answered with 24 points, the best score in any round, by hitting eight of his last 10 shots from beyond the arc. Beal could only muster 18 points in response.

AFP

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