Bucks' Lillard uses late flurry to successfully defend NBA 3-point title

Milwaukee Bucks star Damian Lillard defended his NBA three-point contest title by finishing with 26 points in the final round during all-star Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Curry tops Ionescu in 3-point shootout; McClung repeats as dunk champ

A male basketball player smiles while holding a trophy and posing for a picture on a court.
Damian Lillard of the Milwaukee Bucks poses with the trophy after winning the NBA three-point contest for the second straight year on Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Milwaukee Bucks star Damian Lillard defended his NBA three-point contest title by finishing with 26 points in the final round during all-star Saturday night in Indianapolis.

Lillard, who won with Portland last season, became the eighth player to win at least two three-point crowns and the first since Jason Kapono in 2007 and 2008 to do it in consecutive years.

This one nearly ended without Lillard advancing to the final round. Four players — Lillard, Tre Young of Atlanta, Tyrese Haliburton of Indiana and Karl Anthony-Towns of Minnesota — finished in a tie for the three spots in the last round. Haliburton was eliminated in the tiebreaking round with 12 points.

Then in the final, Young and Towns each put up 24 points, giving Lillard a chance to win it with a late shooting flurry that gave him the title.

Curry vs. Ionescu

Stephen Curry was on a roll — and it was barely enough to beat Sabrina Ionescu.

And fittingly, he won by three.

The Golden State star and NBA's all-time three-point king beat Ionescu 29-26 in the Steph vs. Sabrina competition, the first such him-vs.-her event of its kind at the league's weekend showcase.

Ionescu won the WNBA's three-point shootout at its all-star weekend last year with a record 37 points, smashing Curry's NBA-shootout mark of 31 points. From there, a challenge was thrown down and the plan was concocted for them to meet at All-Star weekend.

"Hopefully, this isn't the last time we do this," Ionescu said.

Given how the fans — and really, everybody from both the NBA and WNBA — seemed to love it, it likely isn't the last time. Curry's prize was a championship belt, with images of goats — as in, GOATs — on either side.

And he's the shooting GOAT, without question. But Ionescu almost gave him more than he could handle.

McClung repeats as dunk champ

G-League player Mac McClung received a perfect 50 on his final dunk Saturday night to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest for the second straight year.

All five judges were impressed with McClung's final effort as he jumped over NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, grabbing the ball from O'Neal's hands and finishing with a reserve slam dunk during All-Star Saturday Night at Indianapolis.

McClung, who plays for the Osceola Magic, defeated Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown in the final round.

McClung is the first repeat winner since Zach LaVine — then of the Minnesota Timberwolves — in 2015-16.

In the final round, Brown received a score of 48.6 on his first attempt, a 360-dunk in which he wore a jersey honouring former Kentucky player Terrence Clarke, who died at age 19 in a car accident in 2021.

McClung followed with a dunk over two people — the lower person squatting somewhat — in which he threw it down with his right hand. He scored a 48.8.

Brown's second and final turn featured Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers serving as the prop. Brown leaped over him and dunked with his left hand to score a 49.2.

McClung then finished the competition in style with his perfect effort to earn another dunk title.

Skills challenge

Two-time all-star Tyrese Haliburton made the tiebreaking half-court shot with 20.5 seconds left in a timed contest Saturday night to give Team Pacers the NBA's Skills Challenge crown over Team All-Stars.

Haliburton, Myles Turner and Montreal's Bennedict Mathurin teamed up to win the night's first two competitions — the team relay and the passing competition — at Lucas Oil Stadium, just a short walk from their home arena.

Team All-Stars' win in the shooting contest tied the score at 200, forcing the tiebreaker.

It took Team All-Stars 58.8 seconds to make its first half-court shot. Haliburton needed just 38.3 seconds for a win that continued a big weekend for the Pacers, who are hosting their first all-star weekend since 1985.

Mathurin was selected MVP of Friday night's Rising Stars game after leading Team Jalen past Team Detlef, a game that pitted two former Pacers players as coaches — Jalen Rose and Detlef Schrempf.

With files from Field Level Media

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