Knicks' Steve Novak, James White come up short on All-Star Saturday
HOUSTON -- Steve Novak started fast in the three-point contest but cooled off at the worst time. James White was creative in the dunk contest but couldn't finish his dunks.
Both Knicks were considered contenders in their respective events on All-Star Saturday, but neither reached the finals of their two-round contests.
Cleveland's Kyrie Irving beat San Antonio's Matt Bonner in the finals, 23-20, to win the three-point shootout. Toronto rookie Terrence Ross won the dunk contest, dethroning 2012 champ Jeremy Evans in the final.
White, whose nickname is "Flight," came out for his first dunk with the flight crew. He ran past a group of flight attendants and took off from the foul line but missed the one-handed dunk. On his second try, White left from just outside the dotted circle and successfully threw it down with two hands. The judges gave him 45 points.
"I thought the crowd liked it," he said. "I tried to get the crowd involved. It was pretty cool."
On his second attempt, White lost the ball once and missed six dunk tries. He got a score of 32. "I couldn't really grip the ball," he said. "I couldn't get it where I wanted it."
Novak had the same problem. After hitting eight of his first 10 shots, including the two-point money ball on both racks for 10 points, he said he thought he was going to score "26 or 28 points."
But he misfired on 10 of his last 15 and ended up with 17 points, one behind Irving.
"I shot the ball poorly and I don't deserve to win," Novak said. "It's disappointing. It's the lowest round I had in the last two weeks of shooting."
Novak is a much better shooter from the corner and the wing, and when he got to the third rack -- straightaway -- he struggled, going 1-for-5.
On the last two racks, from the wing and the corner, Novak was 2-for-5 and made the money ball on both. Novak's 17 points were fourth best of his round.
No Knick has ever finished higher than fourth in the three-point contest.
"Thank the Lord," Stern said.
Then Stern turned serious and sincere when he discussed his fondest memory from his 29 previous All-Star Games as commissioner: presenting Magic Johnson the MVP trophy in 1992 in Orlando, three months after Johnson retired because he had HIV.
"Giving sweaty Magic Johnson a big hug right after he hit the last three and still being able to hug him, because he's alive every time I see him," Stern said. "That is at the top of the list . . . That one will resonate for the rest of my life."
Stern is retiring Feb. 1, 2014, and will be replaced by deputy commissioner Adam Silver.