The Latest: Zach LaVine takes flight, wins 2nd dunk contest

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Posted: Feb 13, 2016 10:43 PM
The Latest: Zach LaVine takes flight, wins 2nd dunk contest

TORONTO (AP) — The Latest on Saturday's events at the NBA's All-Star Weekend in Toronto (all times local):

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10:35 p.m.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine outlasted Orlando's Aaron Gordon in an epic final round of the dunk contest, posting four straight perfect 50s to win for the second straight year.

LaVine and Gordon matched each other dunk for dunk for the first two tries in the final round. Then needed two rounds of tie-breakers to decide a winner.

Gordon got a 47 with a Harold Miner-style jackknife dunk on his fourth dunk, which opened the door for LaVine in one of the most memorable competitions in years.

He ended it with a between-the-legs dunk from a step inside the free throw line to become just the fourth player to win back-to-back titles.

— Jon Krawczynski

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10:16 p.m.

Defending dunk champion Zach LaVine is in the lead after the preliminary round after getting a perfect 50 on his opening dunk and a 49 on the second one. LaVine's opener came off the bounce, when he wrapped the ball around his back before cupping it with his right hand and throwing it down. He took off from the free throw line and grabbed a lob from teammate Andre Miller on his second one and got a 49.

Orlando's Aaron Gordon jumped over Orlando's mascot Stuff, who was standing on a hoverboard, grabbed the ball and went through his legs before throwing it down for a 49 on his second dunk to give him 94 points.

Detroit's Andre Drummond was third with 75 points and Will Barton was last with 74.

LaVine faces Gordon in the final round.

— Jon Krawczynski

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9:35 p.m.

Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors has beaten teammate Stephen Curry to win the 3-point contest on All-Star Saturday night.

Thompson scored 27 points in the final round, making his last eight shots to beat Curry and Phoenix's Devin Booker. Curry scored 23 points and Booker finished with 16 in the final round.

Curry was the event's defending champion.

Thompson made 19 of his 25 shots in the final round, and that even bettered his 18-for-25 showing in the first round. Combine them, and Thompson shot a staggering 74 percent — 37 for 50 — from long range over the course of the night.

— Tim Reynolds

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9:15 p.m.

Golden State's "Splash Brothers" duo of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, along with Phoenix's Devin Booker are the three finalists in the 3-point contest on All-Star Saturday night.

Booker got his spot after beating Houston's James Harden and J.J. Redick of the Los Angeles Clippers in a tiebreaker round. Those three all finished with 20 points, and then Booker won the tiebreaker with 12 more points over Redick (9) and Harden (8).

Toronto's Kyle Lowry (15), Portland's C.J. McCollum (14), Milwaukee's Khris Middleton (13) were eliminated before the tiebreaker.

Curry is the defending champion.

Thompson made 18 of his 25 3-point shots, and Curry avoided the playoff by making his "money ball" — a shot that counted for two points — on his 25th and final attempt of the first round.

— Tim Reynolds

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8:25 p.m.

Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Karl-Anthony Towns has beaten Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas to win the Skills Challenge at the NBA's All-Star Saturday night.

Towns, the No. 1 overall pick who stands nearly 7 feet tall, won in the first time the competition was opened up to include frontcourt players. Towns weaved through an obstacle course, fed a pass through a target, made a layup and a 3-pointer to win it.

After accepting the trophy, he was joined on the podium by fellow big competitors DeMarcus Cousins, Draymond Green and Anthony Davis.

Towns won after teammate Zach LaVine took home MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night.

___Jon Krawczynski.

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8:17 p.m.

Portland's C.J. McCollum, Boston's Isaiah Thomas, Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns and Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins have advanced out of the first round of the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday night.

McCollum took down Los Angeles Lakers guard Jordan Clarkson and Thomas beat Denver Nuggets rookie Emmanuel Mudiay on the guard side of the bracket.

Towns beat Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and Cousins beat New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis on the big men side of the bracket in the first year that the competition has been open to frontcourt players.

— Jon Krawczynski

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7:20 p.m.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has come out even more strongly against the so-called "Hack-a-Shaq" rule.

Silver has long made it clear that he doesn't like the strategy that calls for the intentional fouling of poor foul shooters, reducing games to free-throw-shooting contests. Silver says he's "beginning to feel a change needs to be made."

Owners could address the issue at their meeting in Toronto on Sunday, but Silver insisted that no change will come this season. What might stop is what the commissioner says is a safety issue is a player jumping on another player's back to get an official's attention. Silver said that could result in a flagrant foul.

Silver says the NBA has data showing that coaches are using the "Hack-a-Shaq' strategy more than five times what the norm has been in the past.

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7:05 p.m.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has offered Oklahoma City assistant coach Monty Williams and his family condolences on the league's behalf.

Ingrid Williams, the coach's wife, died earlier this week from injuries suffered in a car crash. She was only 44, and tributes have poured in from players around the league since her passing.

Silver says "the entire NBA family is grieving."

— Tim Reynolds

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5:40 p.m.

The complete set of Air Jordans — like the gift given to Kobe Bryant by the iconic Jordan Brand as a retirement present — is going to raise an enormous amount of money for charity.

At least $100,000, to be precise.

Bryant got a gift of all 30 pairs in the Jordan collection to commemorate his final All-Star appearance, and a matching set of the shoes in Bryant's size (14) are being auctioned through eBay for charity.

The first bid was $100,000. The auction runs through noon Eastern on Sunday.

The proceeds will go to the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, which tries to improve the lives of kids and their families in a variety of ways.

— Tim Reynolds

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5:05 p.m.

Carmelo Anthony says he has no plans to leave New York and is angry about a report linking him to trade talks.

The Daily News of New York reported Friday that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Boston Celtics had discussed a deal involving Kevin Love and there were "very preliminary discussions" with the Knicks about expanding it to include Anthony, who would end up with LeBron James in Cleveland.

During interviews Saturday for the All-Star Game, Anthony — who has a no-trade clause in his contract — said he's had no conservations with the Knicks or anyone else about leaving the team.

James added that the reports were "false," saying the Cavaliers weren't worried about trade talks.

— Brian Mahoney

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4:25 p.m.

Jimmer Fredette scored 35 points, Jarnell Stokes scored with 37 seconds left to break a tie and put his team up for good, and the Eastern Conference topped the Western Conference 128-124 in Saturday's NBA Development League All-Star Game.

Fredette was the game MVP and says it was "just an honor to be here at the All-Star Game."

He was 13 for 19 from the floor, and made six 3-pointers.

Stokes, who has spent plenty of time with the Miami Heat this season, finished with 17 for the East side. He says he's going back to the Heat after this game.

Vander Blue led the West with 17 points.

— Tim Reynolds

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1:30 p.m.

Heat forward Chris Bosh says he will have more tests on his injured right calf when he returns to Miami after Sunday's All-Star Game.

Bosh revealed Saturday that the calf has been an issue for several days. He is not going to take part in Saturday's 3-point contest or Sunday's game, dropping out Friday out of concern for making the calf worse.

Bosh says he's optimistic that the issue won't turn into a bigger problem, but wants the tests done to make sure.

— Tim Reynolds.

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12:35 p.m.

The Western Conference practice is going on, with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich showing off his dribbling skills and retiring star Kobe Bryant getting huge ovations from the crowd.

Much like the East workout earlier Saturday, it's a very loose mood — as one would expect from an All-Star session.

Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon says she's enjoying being around players in a less-than-competitive environment, and seeing a different side of competitors. Popovich is installing plays such as "5 out" and "3 weave," and encouraging everyone to act like a point guard.

But is it like a Spurs practice? Hammon isn't telling, saying "I can't give away our secrets. We've got a lot of secrets."

— Tim Reynolds

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11:35 a.m.

The Eastern Conference All-Star practice has started.

Injured All-Stars Chris Bosh and Jimmy Butler are with the East team, and both gave interviews that were shown on video screens during the practice. Bosh says he's excited to see Toronto host the All-Star Game — he spent his first seven NBA seasons in the city — and Butler revealed that he's a big Taylor Swift fan.

Suffice to say, it isn't the most competitive practice.

Celebrity chef Guy Fieri is watching from a courtside seat, raving about the quality and variety of culinary options in Toronto. And the Raptors' All-Star duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan addressed the crowd before the practice began.

Last-minute All-Star replacement Al Horford also talked to the crowd, saying he's looking forward to having "fun with the best players in the league."

Up next: The Western Conference practice.

— Tim Reynolds

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11:05 a.m.

Better late than never: Atlanta's Al Horford has arrived at All-Star weekend.

Horford was selected Friday as the replacement for Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh, who pulled out with a strained right calf. Horford was vacationing in the Caribbean when the NBA called, packed up quickly and arrived in Toronto late Friday night.

Here's hoping he had sweaters with him: Temperatures in Toronto are likely to stay below zero all day Saturday, though as NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, "I'm told the game will be played indoors."

Horford will practice with the East squad and take part in team meetings Saturday, then come off the bench in Sunday night's All-Star contest.

— Tim Reynolds

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10:30 a.m.

Kobe Bryant has gotten one impressive retirement gift from Michael Jordan.

The Jordan Brand gave Bryant a full set of the sneakers released so far in the Air Jordan line — 30 pairs in all. The gift was presented early Saturday at the Jordan Brand All-Star party, which Bryant attended.

Jordan Brand President Larry Miller says the gift was presented "to honor one of the game's great players and the legacy that he created."

Bryant is an 18-time All-Star who is retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers when this season ends. He got the Jordan set in white; the company made an alternate full black set in Bryant's size 14, and they're being auctioned off on eBay for charity. The auction starts Saturday at noon Eastern, ending Sunday at the same time.

— Tim Reynolds