Saturday night’s events concluded with the Slam Dunk Contest and the finale was filled with ups and downs as people reacted to the new format. The East, represented by John Wall, Paul George and Terrence Ross, came out victorious with Wall taking home the Dunker of the Night award as well.
The new rules setup a two round system, the Freestyle Round and the Battle Round. The Freestyle round began with an allotment of 90 seconds for all three members of the team to show off their dunks in hopes of earning rights to choose the order in the Battle Round. The Battle Round consisted of three match-ups between members of each team going head to head, the first team to win three of these match-ups was crowned the champions.
The Freestyle Round started off with the East and the trio began with nothing over the top, however, as their time ticked on the three players began to use each other in the dunks. The East squad’s best dunk was where Terrence Ross tossed the ball at the scoreboard, Wall came and caught the ricochet before tossing the ball off the shot clock, which was followed with Paul George catching the ball and finishing with a dunk off the bounce. The West trio was focused a little more on their own individual dunks when their turn began. Damian Lillard and Ben McLemore headlined their turns with impressive dunks. Lillard managed an impressive between the legs dunk while McLemore showed off his vertical in the final moments of the round. Ultimately, the East’s creativity won the hearts of the judges and swept the voting.
The Battle round followed and the East choose to go second in their match-ups. Damian Lillard and Terrence Ross went head to head first. Lillard took two tries, finishing a left handed 360 slam. Ross followed with an interesting introduction involving Toronto native Drake escorting him out with his Dunk Contest trophy from last year. Ross then positioned Drake near the basket holding the ball out for him. After a few tries, Ross grabbed the ball and put it through his legs in mid-air before finishing with his right hand. Ross’ creativity with the intro may have been enough to put him over the edge as was awarded the winner of the match-up.
Harrison Barnes and Paul George followed the Ross victory. Harrison Barnes went first and had an interesting addition to the dunk contest as he placed a sensor in his pocket that recorded his movements during the dunk so that it may be available in the popular basketball video game NBA 2k14. Barnes proceeded onto his turn that ended up being very underwhelming. After a few missed on complex dunks he finished with a two handed dunk. Paul George came out next and managed to show off what many were expecting from him. After a few tries, George completed a clockwise 360 through the legs with a windmill finish. George breezed through the voting and received all three votes.
Finally what may have been the best match-up of the night began between Ben McLemore and John Wall. McLemore had a interesting introduction, similar to Ross’, as he walked onto the court in the apparel of a King accompanied by Shaq. Shaq then sat in a throne right in front of the basket. Ben proceeded to finishing a right handed dunk over the throne, and moments after the finish Shaq placed a crown on Ben’s head. The final dunk followed with John Wall and the best was truly saved for last as Wall performed what was the best dunk of the night. The Wizard’s mascot was placed under the basket, holding the ball above his head. Wall approached the mascot, jumping over him and grabbing the ball for a double pump, reverse dunk in what looked like a seamless transaction. Wall swept the judges’ vote and clinched the victory for the East, and rightfully earned the Dunker of the Night award in the process.