Just like the new format of the Slam Dunk Contest, Stephen Curry and Harrison Barnes failed to impress in their respective events in the NBA All-Star Saturday festivities in New Orleans.
Curry was the odds-on favorite to win the Three-Point Shootout, but was eliminated in the first round, tied for last among the West shooters with 16 points. Instead, it was former Warrior Marco Belinelli who stole the show with 19 points in the first round, then going off for 24 points in the tie-breaker against the East’s Bradley Beal.
Curry also participated in the Shooting Stars event, and was on a team with his father, Dell, and WNBA star Becky Hammon. The sharp-shooting trio came out flat, however, taking 65 seconds to make four shots, and an eternity to drill the final shot from half-court. They finished fourth in the contest, which was won by the team comprised of Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins, and Swin Cash.
Finally, Barnes was unimpressive as well in the dunk contest, which undertook a format change this year that seemed to make it a whole lot worse. The contest began with a “free-style” round for the East and West, respectively, then the next round matched up a competitor from each side. The dunkers were judged by a three-person panel of Wilkins, Magic Johnson, and Julius Erving.
While the NBA made an effort to bring more excitement to the contest, they clearly failed. The crowd seemed disinterested at times, obviously confused by the new format. Barnes’ performance did not help, as he took three attempts to complete his dunk, a pedestrian windmill slam that was outdone by Paul George’s 360-spin jam:
What’s on Tap
We’ll all be watching on Sunday night, as Curry will be the first Warrior to start an All-Star Game since 1995. Let’s hope he puts on a show on the big stage.