The Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker won the three-point contest with a record 28 points in the final round.
The former University of Kentucky star defeated 2016 champion Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors and Tobias Harris of the Los Angeles Clippers.
“It feels really good,” Booker said. “I wanted to go out there and make a name for myself.”
Did he ever. He was sensational in the final round on Saturday, when he missed only five of 25 shots.
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Each player shot five five-ball racks with a one-minute time limit. The final ball of each one was a “money ball” worth two points, and one of the racks, usually the last one, was all money balls. Booker made the money ball shot on his first four racks, and then made four of the five balls on the money ball rack.
“Our season hasn’t been too bright so this is kind of a big deal back home,” Booker told NBA.com. “Hopefully, I can come back and win again. When I came out of college I was just considered a shooter but now I consider myself an elite shooter. I have a lot of respect for what guys like Larry Bird and Craig Hodges did in this contest. I’m just glad my name can be mentioned with those guys.”
Harris, Booker and Thompson advanced from the eight-man field to the finals. Harris scored 17 points before Booker scorched the nets for 28 points. Thompson followed and scored 25 points.
The previous record was 27 points, set by Stephen Curry in 2015 and matched by Thompson the following year.
“Watching @DevinBook make that many shots reminds me of the run he had here,” UK Coach John Calipari tweeted. “As good of a shooter as I’ve ever coached. Congrats, Devin!”
Booker, the 21-year-old sharpshooter in his third season with Phoenix, is averaging 24.2 points per game this season as the NBA’s 12th-leading scorer. Eleven months after the shooting guard dropped 70 points against Boston to become the youngest player in NBA history to score even 60 in a game, Booker added another accolade to his promising career with the 3-Point title.
Thompson beat the buzzer with his final shot of the first round to reach the finals with 19 points. Booker also scored 19 and Harris had 18.
Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets won the skills challenge to kick off NBA All-Star Saturday.
Dinwiddie, who played at Taft High in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, beat Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls in the final round. Dinwiddie defeated former Kentucky star Jamal Murray in the semifinals.
The skills competition consisted of two players going head to head. They dribbled around pylons, passed the ball into a net, dribbled to the other end of the floor for a layup and then dribbled back to the other end to take a pull-up three-pointer.
Eight players started the competition, with Dinwiddie and Markkanen advancing to the finals.
Markkanen struggled passing the ball into the net, giving Dinwiddie a big lead. Dinwiddie dribbled down the floor and missed his first three, but drained the next one to win.