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List of Articles by Nicholai R. Roska

NBA All-Star Saturday -- Mitchell wins dunk tilt, Booker is 3-point king

By Nicholai R. Roska
18 Feb 2018

Los Angeles -- ​Utah Jazz rookie ​Mitchell Donovan was crowned slam dunk champion in the signature event of the NBA All-Star Saturday at the Staples Center.​ ​

​The 6-foot-3, 211-pound Donovan beat 6-foot-11 forward Larry Nance Jr of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the final round, 98-96. In his final dunk, which netted 48 from the panel of five judges that included dunk master Julius Erving, Mitchell paid homage to the great Vince Carter by doing a ​360-degree spin dunk.

​"I wanted this so badly. This is one of my favorite events of All-Star weekend. To not only be in it, but to win it, it's crazy," Mitchell told NBA-TV's Dennis Scott during an on-court interview shortly after winning the dunk diadem.​

​Despite losing in the final round, Nance Jr., whose father Larry Nance Sr won the inaugural slam dunk championships in 1984, acquitted himself well with an original double alley-oop dunk that garnered him a perfect mark of 50. His other dunk, however, a windmill slam off the baseline only got a 46.​

Victor Oladipo ​of the Indiana Pacers and ​Dallas Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. were the two other competitors in the slam dunk competition.

In the 3-point shooting contest, Devin Booker ​of the Phoenix Suns took home the hardware by beating 2016 champion Klay Thompson with a record-setting 28 points in the final round. Thompson held the previous record of 27 points two years ago while Stephy Curry also scored 27 in 2015.​

"It feels really good. I wanted to go out there and make a name for myself," said Booker, who scored 70 points against the Boston Celtics last March 2017, doing so as the youngest ever.

​Tobias Harris of the Los Angeles Clippers finished third. Last year's 3-point champion, Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets, did not make the final round. Paul George of the OKC Thunder also did not make the cut.

In the Skills Challenge that opened up Saturday night's hoopla, ​Spencer Dinwiddie​ of the Brooklyn Nets​ defeated rookie Lauri Markannen in the final round to win the title.

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