NBA rumors: Evan Mobley half-court shot wins skills challenge

Evan Mobley brought his first trophy to Cleveland. The rookie’s excellent shooting led a team with Cavaliers teammates Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen to a win in the Skills Challenge in front of their home fans Saturday night. Mobley sealed the victory by hitting a half-court shot on his first try in the final round. A team made up of rookies Josh Giddey, Cade Cunningham and Scottie Barnes finished second.

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Obi Toppin was the top dunker Saturday at NBA All-Star Weekend. The New York Knicks forward went through the legs, tapped the ball off the backboard and finished with a one-handed slam to score a 47 on his final dunk and win the NBA slam dunk contest. "We were talking before the dunk contest and were, like, 'We want to come out here and do things that people have never seen before,'" Toppin said of conversation with Chuck Millan of Team Flight Brothers, a dunk coach he worked with to prepare for the night. "So those dunks, never been done in a dunk contest. I felt good being out there."
Toppin became the third player in Knicks history to win the contest, following Nate Robinson (2006, '09, '10) and Kenny "Sky" Walker (1989). Toppin also won the competition in Cleveland 25 years after a rookie Kobe Bryant won the slam dunk contest in Cleveland, a fact that was not lost on him. "It feels amazing," he said. "There have been a lot of legends that have won the dunk contest, and for my name to be a part of that is something special. I don't take it for granted."

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Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns demanded an answer as he bounded into the interview room following the 3-point contest at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on Saturday night. "Who bet against me?" Towns asked with an ear-to-ear grin. Whoever did, lost. Towns, thanks to a record-setting 29 points in the final round, emerged as the winner of the 2022 3-point contest, edging out Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and LA Clippers guard Luke Kennard, who each put up 26. Towns was 13-1 at Caesars Sportsbook, the longest odds in the field. Towns is the first big man to win the 3-point contest since Kevin Love in 2012. At 6-foot-11, he is the second-tallest winner of the contest; Dirk Nowitzki, who is 7-0, won it in 2006.
"I told Luke Kennard I wanted to go first, so I was glad when they called my name and that I was gonna go first," Towns said. "Just tremendously confident in my shooting ability and wanted to go first. I wanted to keep pressure on everybody, get a high number that makes it feel almost unattainable. Just that feeling of you have to be perfect, and you miss one, it kind of knocks confidence out, so I wanted to set the tone real quick. "But I just felt good. I just felt really good and really confident all day. The energy that I had all day wasn't nervousness or anxious, it was super confident, and I can't wait to show the world what I can do when given this platform and stage."
Jon Krawczynski: Karl-Anthony Towns shouts out @Kevin Love after winning the 3-point title: "Big man hasn't won in 10 years, and, of course, 10 years ago, a decade ago, who won it? The Wolves [Kevin Love]. It's coming back home where it belongs."
NBA: 🚨 Karl-Anthony Towns opens the final round of #MtnDew3PT with 29! 🚨 2 shooters left on TNT. #NBAAllStar #StateFarmSaturday

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Perhaps no player entered a 3-point contest hotter than Luke Kennard. When the LA Clippers sharpshooter arrived in his home state of Ohio on Friday, it was as he came off of his best night shooting 3s since he was a two-time Mr. Basketball at Franklin High School. Kennard made a career-best 8 3-pointers Thursday in a Clippers win against the Rockets. That came one day after Kennard got back in the practice facility at Playa Vista to get himself ready for the event. “I ran through it a few times, a couple days already,” Kennard said after Thursday’s game in LA. “The first time I went through it, I mean, it’s tough. It’s pretty exhausting just getting the timing down and getting a rhythm going. Just where you want to pick the ball up, there’s a lot that goes into it, I didn’t even realize. But all the coaches, some assistant coaches, they were in the gym with me getting me ready, reading the rules. And even they got in it with me, so we went through a whole competition and I came out with a win on both days, so that made me feel a little good. It takes a little bit to get used to, but hopefully I kind of got it going.”
“Credit to KAT — he came out, he said he needed to set the standard, that’s what he got to do,” Kennard said, wishing he could have rolled those opening-round points over to the final round. “(Towns’ 29 points), that’s a good score. I heard it might be like a record or something for the finals, or something like that. So it was fun, man, it was fun.”
Garland, who will play with Allen in Sunday's All-Star Game, put on his own shooting display throughout the competition. He made a clutch 3-pointer to win a tiebreaker over the brothers team of Giannis, Thanasis and Alex Antetokounmpo to reach the championship round. But he was more impressed with his rookie teammate's performance. "He's a unicorn; 7-footer who is 20 years old that can do everything," Garland said. "I'm glad to play with him and have him on my team." Said Allen: "He's one of a kind. Defense, offense and now half court."
NBA: #NBAAllStar@NBAAllStar🏆 The young @cavs trio win the #TacoBellSkills in Cleveland as Evan Mobley comes up CLUTCH knocking down the half-court winner in under 5 seconds! #LetEmKnow @_bigjayy_ @dariusgarland22 @evanmobley

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Dane Moore: Karl-Anthony Towns on 3-pt contest: "I ain’t just showing up to be a smiling face. I’m going to compete. I’m not showing up to Cleveland for anything less. I want to win the All-Star game. I want to win Saturday night. Hell, if I get a chance I’m trying to get that MVP on Sunday"
Keith Pompey: #Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey will replace injured Kings guard Davion Mitchell in the Clorox Clutch Challenge, a team shooting competition that will take place tomorrow during the Rising Stars event at #NBAAllStar weekend.
Gerald Bourguet: “I don’t have the answers for that.” Cam Johnson knew his name wouldn’t be on the list for the 3-Point Contest before it was announced. He said he obviously wanted to do it, but the more important thing is to continue making those 3s in the games pic.twitter.com/9tXFSXrMnl

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Cole Anthony hasn’t forgotten his first dunk. He was in the seventh grade — either 12 or 13 years old — when he threw down a left-handed slam for his first dunk. From there Anthony, who’s known to not lack confidence, proceeded to go for more challenging attempts. “Immediately after that, I was trying to windmill,” he said. “From there, I was just trying to do more and more dunks.”
Anthony will have the opportunity to show off his dunking ambition and creativity in the NBA’s Dunk Contest on Feb. 19 in Cleveland as part of All-Star Weekend. He described the opportunity as “a life-long dream of mine since before I could dunk.” “His creativity, charisma, excitement, passion, joy and love for the game is going to be fantastic,” said coach Jamahl Mosley. “Cole does a wonderful job of being that energy-bringer in so many cases. That’s going to stand out.”
Under the new format for the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge, three teams of three players will participate in a four-round competition that tests shooting, passing and dribbling ability. The teams are as follows: • Antetokounmpos: Giannis will team up with his brothers Thanasis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee and Alex Antetokounmpo of the NBA G League’s Raptors 905. • Cavs: Garland will be joined by Cavaliers teammates Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley, a rookie who was selected to play in the Clorox Rising Stars during NBA All-Star 2022. • Rooks: Rising Stars selections Scottie Barnes of the Toronto Raptors, Cade Cunningham of the Detroit Pistons and Josh Giddey of the Oklahoma City Thunder will form a team with three NBA rookies.
Rob Schafer: Ayo didn’t know he’d been drafted by Gary Payton for Rising Stars until @KCJHoop told him postgame. Payton coached Ayo during a Nike event his senior year of HS “We had a great relationship. I picked his brain already. Now that you told me he drafted me, that means a lot.”

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Jason Quick: Blazers’ guard Anfernee Simons will not defend his Slam Dunk title, telling @The Athletic “I just wanted to focus on the season” while adding that the title was “more of a checklist accomplishment.” Simons is coming off a January when he averaged 23.1 points and 6.7 assists.
Shams Charania: Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony is committing to the NBA Slam Dunk Contest at All-Star Weekend in Cleveland, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. At 6-foot-3, Anthony has had some explosive dunks and is having a breakout sophomore season (18 PPG, 6 RPG, 6 APG).
JD Shaw: The NBA has announced a new All-Star Rising Stars format for this year. Details: pic.twitter.com/4KqNXjLZTu

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Chris Haynes: Sources: @NBAonTNT report on Trae Young’s intentions to participate in the 3-Point Contest if selected as an All-Star and the Atlanta Hawks’ plan to place a bid to host All-Star Weekend. pic.twitter.com/5RJ1ITFbQe
What goals did you have for yourself this season? Any accolades or participating in the three-point contest? Seth Curry: I don’t have any individual goals for statistics. I want to be efficient and shoot the ball at a high clip. You brought up the three-point contest. I feel like I’ve got to add one of those to the mantel to be a part of the (Curry) family. Hopefully, I can get one of those before my career is over. Steph (Curry) already has two of them. If I get the invite, I’m going to go to as many as possible, so I can add one to the trophy case.
Ja Morant tells @taylorrooks that he needs $1 MILLION to do the NBA Dunk Contest
It’s been 10 years since Griffin caught a Baron Davis lob and leaped over the hood of this car in the 2011 dunk contest, but neither the silver Sharpie ink on the horn nor the black ink of Griffin’s signature near the driver’s door has faded. Longa has been driving the car since roughly 2015 and says it’s still in good condition. It has just under 89,000 miles on it and gets about 26 miles per gallon in the city. Longa is sure the value of the car is substantial—a normal 2011 Optima that hasn’t had an NBA player dunk over it could fetch anywhere between $3,000 and $11,000 today. But he is content with never finding out what his is worth. “It’s kind of my dream car,” Longa said. “I’m crazy, I’m still in love with the car.”
Primeaux ultimately paid $35,220 (well above market value) for the car, which was promptly delivered to his dealership. There, he immediately began not just displaying it, but also marketing his business around it. Primeaux made posters and advertisements featuring the car and the dunk. He allowed people to come to the dealership just to see the vehicle and even created giveaways around the car and the legend of the dunk. Everyone wanted to catch a glimpse of the Optima, and the business, he says, more than benefited from it. “This is no BS, I would say it was invaluable,” Primeaux said. “I couldn’t measure it, but I got [the $35,220] 10 times from it.”
Ian Begley: Immanuel Quickley, in part, on not making Rising Stars game: "Yeah I definitely feel like I could have been selected. But it's not ever a reason to (stop) working hard or continue to come with energy every day & be positive for your teammates...Just use it as a motivating factor"
@Spursin9: 6-man Dunk Contest of players in their prime, who would you pick to be in that contest? Blake Griffin: Vince Carter, Michael Jordan, Aaron Gordon, Zach LaVine, Dominique Wilkins, Nate Robinson
Lillard said he told him the windmill dunk felt like a backup-type dunk. “I told him, ‘If you do the kiss dunk — I’ve never seen nobody do that,'” Lillard said. The finishing touches on the kiss dunk were also offered by Lillard. When Simons landed, he blew a kiss up toward the rim. “I have to take credit for that,” Lillard said. “That was my idea to blow a kiss at the rim so people know that’s what he was doing.”
“T-Mac was my hero growing up,” Simons said. “He was the first person I saw, and I fell in love with the game. He and LeBron (James) were the first jerseys I ever had. He was just a big impact on my life, especially him being from Florida as well.” Simons, who is shy by nature, said he still hasn’t met his idol. “I had a chance to meet him a couple times when I was younger, but I was too scared to meet him,” Simons said. “So hopefully one day I get to meet him.”
Scott Agness: Cassius Stanley: “Pretty much everyone around me thought I got a 50. Even someone who I looked up to, Zach LaVine, came out and was like ‘You got a 44 on that?’ "I get to be on the list of people who might’ve gotten robbed for a 50, so that’s a cool thing I guess."
On Sunday, Stephen Curry won the NBA All-Star 3-point contest for the second time, joining Larry Bird, Craig Hodges, Mark Price, Jeff Hornacek, Peja Stojakovic and Jason Kapono as multiple-time winners. Curry scored 28 points in the final round to edge Utah’s Mike Conley, who registered 27 points.
Though he has more 50-point, perfect score dunks (eight) than any player in NBA history – more than Michael Jordan, more than Zach LaVine – Gordon stands alone as the league's best dunker without a crown. “Growing up as a little kid, that’s something I dreamed of – winning the NBA dunk contest trophy,” Gordon says in the opening to the documentary short "Mr. 50" that follows him through the 2020 event during All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
Gordon could be bitter about the results. “I don’t harbor any bad or negative feelings,” he said. He remains a fan of the event and is worried his experience – perfect scores, no trophy – may prevent others from participating. “I have some fears that I ruined the dunk contest, that people aren’t going to want to do it anymore,” Gordon said. “I hope that people see ‘Mr. 50’ and are inspired and continue to elevate that dunk contest because there are still dunks that haven’t been done. I’m not going to do them, but I hope somebody comes in and does them. It’s a great event. It’s beautiful for the game.”
The genesis of the documentary began with the idea to give viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his weekend. “But it turned into something more,” Gordon said. “My friend and filmmaker Aaron Chapman chopped it up in a way that I had never seen before. It was much more artistic, much more poetic and raw. “The message I wanted to get across is to conquer your fears and be satisfied in your actions more than the outcome.”
Tom Orsborn: Pop on Keldon Johnson's selection to Rising Stars roster: "It means a lot to Keldon. I’m happy as hell for him. He deserves it. It really makes him feel good that his efforts have been applauded and rewarded and noticed, so that’s great."
For the first time during his third NBA season, Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons is going to be participating in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. And needless to say, he's looking forward to it. "Super excited. I can't wait man," Simons said of the dunk contest on NBC Sports Northwest's Trail Blazers Courtside.
Derrick Jones Jr. also offered him a key piece of advice when choosing to go with a dunk: Make sure you make it on the first try. And just how many dunks will Simons have in his bag of tricks? He's working on four. And if the contest goes into a dunk-off as it did last year between Aaron Gordon and Jones Jr. did, Simons has a bold plan for how to compete. "Anything extra, and I'm just gonna wing it."
Marc Stein: U.S. Rising Stars roster as the NBA announced via @nba_topshot: LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Tyler Herro, De'Andre Hunter, Keldon Johnson, Ja Morant, Michael Porter Jr., Zion Williamson, James Wiseman.
The league tried to add high-profile names. Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards — who recently had one of the most jaw-dropping dunks you’ll ever witness — turned down the league’s request to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest, league sources told Yahoo Sports. A field with Williamson and Edwards would have certainly made for must-see TV. Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown and Charlotte Hornets high-flyer Miles Bridges declined as well, sources said.
That even goes for Buddy Hield, who has an NBA 3-point shootout title to defend, although he was non-committal about the even. "Do you think I should go defend it?" Hield asked reporters when talking about the event. "I don't know yet, to be honest, I've been having mixed emotions, you know, cover rules and especially I don't have no time with my family. Just trying to see how the COVID rules and the boundaries are set up. No clear cut yes yet, I'll just see in the next couple of days." According to Hield, he received an invitation from the league to join the festivities, but he is still mulling it over.
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July 6, 2022 | 9:14 pm EDT Update
Kevin Huerter: Thank you to @Atlanta Hawks organization and their fans for the past 4 years. Atlanta truly became a 2nd home, the relationships and memories I created here will last a lifetime. The city embraced me as their own, as K’Von, and for that I’m truly thankful. Always love for the ATL❤️

July 6, 2022 | 8:57 pm EDT Update