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Clippers’ Lou Williams can’t pass test in Skills Challenge

Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets shows off the Skills Challenge winner's trophy at Staples Center.
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)

It was the pass that “doomed” Clippers sixth-man savant Lou Williams in the Skills Challenge on Saturday night.

His inability to pass a basketball through a target slowed him at Staples Center, leading to Williams’ first-round loss, and Spencer Dinwiddie, a Los Angeles native who plays with the Brooklyn Nets, defeated the Chicago Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen to win the title.

“I don’t pass much,” Williams said, jokingly. “I knew that was going to be what I struggled [with] tonight. It doomed me.”

But in actuality, Williams is averaging a career-high 5.3 assists per game, which leads the Clippers.

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For Dinwiddie, winning the event had special meaning because of the road he has taken.

He attended Taft High in Woodland Hills, helping the school win a City Section title, before playing for Colorado, where he earned All-Pac-12 Conference honors his sophomore season.

During his two seasons with the Detroit Pistons, Dinwiddie spent a lot of time playing for the Grand Rapids Drive of the NBA Development League. He also spent time with the Windy City Bulls, Chicago’s D-League team.

Dinwiddie signed with Brooklyn on Dec. 8, 2016, and that has been his basketball home since.

“It’s big for me to even be at All-Star weekend considering the road that’s been my career, very up and down,” Dinwiddie said. “Obviously being in the G League both on assignment and as a G League player, thank you to the Brooklyn Nets for giving me this opportunity to play and be here.”

Williams had reservations about being in the Skills Challenge competition.

His goal was to be selected to be as an All-Star game reserve, but that didn’t happen.

“Like I said, I’d rather have been competing on Sunday,” Williams said. “I think that was what I was putting my energy into. The skills competition was fun, but other than that, I would have taken the days off. But I’m here. I had a good time. It was fun.”

Williams, who was the last player introduced, missed several attempts at trying to pass a basketball through the target.

“I got off to a slow start. I should have got the ball through the hoop the first time,” Williams said. “It came down to the pass. It was a really easy course versus years in the pass. They changed the format of it. But that was it.”

SKILLS CHALLENGE RESULTS

First Round

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia, def. Al Horford, Boston

Lauri Markkanen, Chicago, def. Andre Drummond, Detroit

Spencer Dinwiddie, Brooklyn, def. Buddy Hield, Sacramento

Jamal Murray, Denver, def. Lou Williams, Clippers

Semifinals

Markkanen def. Embiid

Dinwiddie def. Murray

Final

Dinwiddie def. Markkanen


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