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CHICAGO — Aaron Gordon misplaced one other epic dunk contest. And it was by a few inches — specifically, the highest of Tacko Fall’s head.

Derrick Jones Jr. lastly received his long-awaited dunk contest title as an exclamation level to an scintillating All-Star Saturday Night, each for him and the Miami Heat. Jones and Gordon wanted a dunk-off to resolve a winner, Jones prevailing 48-47 within the one which decided who left with the trophy.

Miami’s Bam Adebayo received the abilities title as nicely, and Sacramento’s Buddy Hield took the 3-point crown. Their wins had been absolute, with out ambiguity: the ball getting in informed the story. But the dunk contest — very like the one between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins in Chicago 32 years earlier — got here all the way down to the judges’ name.

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Gordon brushed towards the again of Fall’s head, and that was sufficient to sway three of the judges — they gave 9s, and that mixed with two 10s added to the ultimate 47. Jones stated he would have settled for an additional dunk-off spherical.

“He clipped Tacko’s head when he did that dunk, so I knew they could not have gave him a 50 for that one,” said Jones, who was in the dunk contest in 2017 as well. “I would have respected it if they gave him another 48, so we can go again.”

Miami Heat's Derrick Jones Jr. heads to the basket during the NBA All-Star slam dunk contest in Chicago, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (Associated Press)

Miami Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr. heads to the basket in the course of the NBA All-Star slam dunk contest in Chicago, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020. (Associated Press)

Thing is, it wasn’t clear if they might have dunked once more had it nonetheless been tied after Gordon’s last try. The NBA was not going to allow co-champions, and there would have been a degree — which they had been presumably at — when judges would have needed to vote and resolve a winner.

Controversy reigned regardless. And very like 2016, when Gordon misplaced to Zach LaVine in probably the greatest dunk contests ever, the Magic ahead — who set a dunk contest report with 5 good scores — left pissed off.

“I really feel like I ought to have two trophies,” Gordon stated.

When Gordon the 7-foot-5 Fall to return out for his final dunk — Fall performed school basketball in Orlando at UCF — it was the last word risk-reward second.

Gordon, who needed to leap over the marginally shorter-than-Fall Shaquille O’Neal but received that invitation declined, wanted a 49 to win. But he didn’t completely clear his very tall prop, and identical to that Jones was the champion.

“Tallest dude within the fitness center.” Gordon stated. “Jumping over any person 7-5 and dunking it, it is no straightforward feat. What’d I get, a 47? Come on, man. What are we doing?”

Jones lauded Gordon for attempting a dunk over Fall.

“If I would have considered it earlier, I’d have did it,” Jones stated.

The first spherical was stuffed with props: Jones — celebrating his 23rd birthday — had a birthday cake and Adebayo on the court docket for his first dunk, Gordon went over Chicago native Chance The Rapper for a slam, Milwaukee’s Pat Connaughton leaped over Bucks teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo and kissed the ball off the glass earlier than his second dunk, and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Dwight Howard introduced again his Superman dunk from 11 years in the past as nicely.

Jones Jr. and Gordon emerged as the 2 finalists. Gordon was good on each dunk till his final one. But ultimately, Jones proved prophetic.

“I stated I would do it,” Jones stated.

Adebayo drew 2018 abilities champion Spencer Dinwiddie of Brooklyn within the first spherical, having no drawback with the correct move into a decent window, layup and 3-pointer that, to win, should be made earlier than an opponent completes the identical course. Same factor within the second spherical, Adebayo completed off Toronto’s Pascal Siakam and not using a miss as soon as once more to earn his spot within the last.

“I told Spencer I’m going to be the champion,” Adebayo stated. “We were walking in, and I told Spencer I was going to be a champion.”

It got here all the way down to large males: Adebayo towards Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis. It took three tries for Adebayo to make his 3-pointer to win, and he nonetheless wound up beating Sabonis to the ultimate make. Sabonis felt he rushed his second shot, and that gave Adebayo a leg up.

Neither Sabonis nor Adebayo was shocked {that a} pair of bigs wound up dueling for the abilities title.

“It’s just showing how the game is changing and how big men and power forwards are basically bringing up the ball, passing the ball,” Sabonis stated.

Adebayo devoted the win to his mom — she’ll be getting the trophy as nicely — and stated he was notably honored to compete with a patch on that paid tribute to Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the opposite seven victims of the helicopter crash that took their lives in Southern California on Jan. 26.

All rivals Saturday wore a patch with the numbers 2 and 24 — for Gianna and Kobe — surrounded by 9 stars, signifying 9 victims.

“When I was in high school, I said if I get to the NBA, I want to meet Kobe,” Adebayo stated. “I felt like this (was) my All-Star to do it. I feel like he’s been more of an impact now than he was back then. Not saying that him living didn’t do anything for me, but it just means more now that I know I can never meet him. I feel like he knows who I am now. So just keep trying to make him proud.”

Adebayo received his trophy with a 3-pointer on the ultimate shot, so maybe it was becoming that Hield received his in the identical method.

The 3-point contest got here all the way down to Hield, Booker and Washington’s Davis Bertans after 5 others — together with defending champion Joe Harris — had been knocked out within the first spherical. Bertans went first within the last spherical, scoring 22. Booker went subsequent, scoring 26.

And that left Hield, who made his final six pictures of the opening spherical and wanted to get scorching once more late within the last.

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No drawback.

His “money ball” rack — the one the place each shot was price two factors — was the ultimate of his 5 full racks, and he received to that nook with 19 factors. That meant he needed to go four for five on the final rack to catch Booker.

First one, make. Second one, make. Third one, make.

Hield then missed the fourth shot earlier than letting the ultimate one fly — dancing for pleasure when it dropped by means of the online, giving him a walkoff victory.

“As a shooter, this is on your bucket list,” Hield stated. “You have to come in and you want to win a 3-point shootout. With a stacked field like that, it makes it even better. Pressure is on, and you’ve got to show up.”

That was the theme of the night time, all the best way to the top.

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