The Western Conference tandem of Trey Burke and Damian Lillard won the Taco Bell Skills Challenge at the 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend in the closest finish the event will likely ever see. They edged Eastern Conference finalists Victor Oladipo and Michael Carter-Williams by one-tenth of a second, giving Lillard his second Skills Challenge championship in a row. Lillard is the first player to win the event in back-to-back years since Dwyane Wade did so in 2006 and 2007.
Lillard and Burke teamed up in a reformatted Skills Challenge event, which for the first time ever was run as a paired, relay-style competition. The duo from the West ended up with the best time in the obstacle course, which tests passing, shooting and ballhandling abilities.
Lillard and Burke beat the other Western Conference team, Goran Dragic and Reggie Jackson, 40.6 seconds to 42.3 seconds in the first round. On the other side of the bracket, Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo bested Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMar DeRozan 43.3 seconds to 45 seconds to move on to the championship round.
In the final round, a pair of miscues by the Eastern Conference finalists, including many misses into the passing tire, opened the door for Trey Burke and Damian Lillard to win the event 45.2 seconds to 45.3 seconds. Even with a tough loss, it was hard for anyone to be upset after the event, knowing that the winning proceeds were given to charity.
“I had a fun time out there. It was great competing, and I hope to be out there next year,” Carter-Williams said afterwards. “I’m having a great time. Just being here is a blessing.”