The most anticipated night of NBA All-Star Weekend did not disappoint, but no one expected these winners.
In the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, Spencer Dinwiddle surprised everyone by taking down heavy favorites like 3-point specialist Larui Markkanen and Jamal Murray, who took down heavy favorite Lou Williams.
The Nets brought a glimpse of hope to the future in Brooklyn. Dinwiddle is averaging almost 14 points per game with 6.7 assists per game. He’s already playing just as many games this year as he did in the 2016-17 season, and there are still 24 games to go.
The Skills Challenge didn’t go without controversy however, as Joel Embiid was suspected of cheating against Markkanen. The player is supposed to complete a chest pass inside an indicated target, but Embiid failed to make it and instead proceeded to shoot 3-pointers to keep up with the Chicago Bull. Although, because Markkanen advanced, it didn’t matter that Embiid cheated.
The JBL 3-Point Contest featured some of the best in 3-point shooters. Bradley Beal, defending champion Eric Gordon, Clippers newly acquired shooting guard Tobias Harris, OKC’s Paul George, Raptors franchise 3-point leader Kyle Lowry, and Miami Heat’s Wayne Ellington.
The heavy favorite was 2016 3-Point Contest Champ Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors, but he was taken down by Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker.
Booker set a record 28 points to beat Thompson and to secure the 3-Point Contest Championship.
Booker is just coming off return from a right shoulder injury he suffered in December.
And finally, the most anticipated event of the night, the Verizon Slam Dunk contest.
The dunk contest judges were DJ Khaled, Chris Rock, Mark Whalberg, Lisa Leslie and dunk entrepreneur Julius “Dr.J” Erving.
Heavy favorite Dennis Smith Jr., athletic rookie Donovan Mitchell, dunk contest veteran (the only veteran) Victor Oladipo, and recently traded Cavalier Larry Nance Jr.
Smith scored the first 50 of the night with a 360 between the legs dunk, but it wasn’t enough as the rookie fell just short of the second round.
Nance Jr. paid homage to his father, Larry Nance Sr., who won the NBA’s first ever dunk contest in 1984 with the infamous cradle dunk.
Donovan Mitchell and Larry Nance Jr. advanced to the second round and Mitchell stole the show with a tribute to Vince Carter after Nance double tapped the ball against the glass giving him a 50 but it wasn’t enough.
Donovan Mitchell took home the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest Champion with a 98 score compared to Nance’s 96.
Mitchell, Booker, and Dinwiddle were your All-Star weekend contest champions — who would’ve predicted that?!