Stephen Curry needs all-or-nothing last shot to win NBA All-Star three-point crown
The All-Star three-point contest was on the line when Golden State’s Stephen Curry, considered by many the best three-point shooter in NBA history, picked up his last ball from a rack in the corner.
As the ball floated through the air, Curry kept his right arm extended, his eyes glued on the flight of the ball as it settled through the net for the title.
Curry kept his hand in the air a little longer, did a pirouette and smiled, his 28 points one better than Conley.
After capturing the three-point contest for the second time — the first was in 2015 — Curry was asked what was on his mind before he took the winning shot.
The best photos from the 2021 NBA All-Star game on Sunday in Atlanta.
“It kind of went blank,” Curry said on TNT’s broadcast. “I could hear, whatever crowd is in here, I could hear the temperature rise a little bit. I just knew I had to knock it down. It was a fun ride.”
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum finished third with 17 points in the championship round. Boston’s Jaylen Brown (17), Chicago’s Zach LaVine (22) and Utah’s Mitchell (22) didn’t get past the first round of the competition that took place before the All-Star game in Atlanta.
Because of the pandemic, the game and the night’s other events, which usually are spread out over a fan-filled weekend of celebration, were condensed into a single night that was part exhibition and part platform to support historically Black colleges and universities and COVID-19 equity efforts. The NBA and players union pledged $2.5 million toward HBCUs and hoped to focus attention and resources on virus relief for the most vulnerable communities.
While not all players were enthusiastic about the All-Star event, Curry called the three-point contest “an awesome competition. I’m just so glad I got it done.”
Curry racked up 31 points in the first round, missing only six shots.
Highlights from the NBA All-Star three-point shooting contest in Atlanta on Sunday.
He was also money when shooting the Mountain Dew ball, which is shot from deeper and worth three points instead of one. Curry made three of the four he took in the two rounds.
Curry was asked how critical it was to make those long shots.
“It’s different because you’re going around the line and you have to step back,” Curry said of the extended distance, which was added last year. “I knew in the final round if I could make those two, that would put me in good position and I needed every bit of it, so I like that addition to the contest.”
Curry also was asked about the difference in shooting three-pointers off the basketball rack versus off the dribble.
“Little bit more pressure off the rack ‘cause the ball is sitting right there,” Curry said. “That’s it. Yeah, just have fun with it.”
In the first competition of the night, it came down to the big men in the skills competition. Indiana’s 6-foot-11 forward Domantas Sabonis defeated Orlando 7-foot center Nikola Vucevic.
Despite some reservations about playing the NBA All-Star game amid the COVID-19 pandemic, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo lead Team LeBron to a 170-150 win.
“Yeah, it was fun,” said Sabonis, a second-time All-Star who was last year’s runner-up in the event. “Just come out and I wanted to make sure I got it done this time.”
The contest included Portland’s Robert Covington, Dallas’ Luka Doncic, Phoenix’s Chris Paul and New York’s Julius Randle.
“Yeah, I’m really excited about it,” Sabonis said of playing in the All-Star game. “I’m just going to come out here and enjoy it with the guys.”
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