Tobias Harris started the Three-Point Contest in grand fashion, knocking down 18 threes in the first round, advancing the Clippers forward to the championship round Saturday night at Staples Center.
But once he arrived in the final, Harris could not overcome the hot shooting of Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, who won the contest with a record-setting round of 28 points.
Golden State guard Klay Thompson, the local product who attended Santa Margarita Catholic High and won the event in 2016, came in second place with 25 points. Harris, the only big man in the contest, came in third with 17 points.
“It was awesome,” Harris said of his debut. “The crowd was feeling it once I got a couple going. I wish I would have won. But it was just a fun experience to be a part of. I thought I surprised a bunch of people. Hey, I gave it my all.”
Booker made 20 of 25 three-pointers in the final to establish a record for points in a round, one more than Stephen Curry had in the 2015 final round and Thompson had in 2016.
“My preparation was none,” said Booker, 21. “My rookie year I stayed in the gym extra, shot off the rack a lot more. This time I got here, practiced right before I went out there and ended up coming out with the win.”
In the first round, Harris scored plus-10 points with the bonus shot, better known as the “money ball.”
But in the championship round, Harris had just plus-four points with the bonus shots.
That was no match for Booker.
“When I hit the money ball rack, I couldn’t really get control,” Harris said. “That basketball is different from the other ones, so I missed a couple. Then at the end rack, I wished the money ball would have went in at the end. It wasn’t fatigue or anything. It was just where the placement was at that time. I needed to make more money balls shots to give myself a chance.”
Harris is 27th in three-point shooting this season, making 40.2% of his shots for the Clippers and Detroit Pistons, who traded him to L.A. on Jan. 29. Though Harris has played just six games with the Clippers, Staples Center is now his home court.
“That was the awesome thing about it was that you could just hear the crowd when I was shooting,” Harris said. “It’s an honor to be a person who reps the team and be a part of it. I look forward to bringing more threes to the games that we play.”
THREE-POINT CONTEST RESULTS
(Top 3 Advance)
Devin Booker, Phoenix, 19
Klay Thompson, Golden State, 19
Tobias Harris, Clippers, 18
Wayne Ellington, Miami, 17
Bradley Beal, Washington, 15
Eric Gordon, Houston, 12
Kyle Lowry, Toronto, 11
Paul George, Oklahoma City, 9
Devin Booker, Phoenix, 28
Klay Thompson, Golden State, 25
Tobias Harris, Clippers, 17