TORONTO — It was going to take a sizzling performance for someone to take the shooting title away from Stephen Curry, and Klay Thompson got hot at the perfect time.
Thompson, who has the ability heat up at any moment, made his last eight three-pointers, including 5 of 5 on the money ball rack to beat his Golden State backcourt mate in the finals of Saturday night’s Three-Point Contest at the Air Canada Centre.
Thompson, the other half of the “Splash Brothers” hit eight straight earlier in the round and finished with 27 points. Curry, last year’s champ, totaled 23 points.
Phoenix rookie Devin Booker scored 16 points in the final round to finish third. He won a tie-breaking shootout over the Clippers’ JJ Redick and Houston’s James Harden to reach the Finals.
Minnesota’s Zach LaVine repeated as Slam Dunk champion in one of the more electric contests in recent years.
LaVine beat Orlando’s Aaron Gordon in the finals, and it took three dunk-offs to do it.
After both players scored 50s on their first three dunks of the Finals, Gordon got a 47 on his fourth attempt. He went baseline, jumped, put the ball over his head, brought it back down and then dunked it with his back to the basket.
LaVine scored a 50 on his final attempt. He went nearly the length of the court, left just inside the foul line, put the ball through his legs and then dunked it. He also scored a 50 for throwing down a windmill after leaving from the foul line.
Gordon used the Orlando Mascot three times and twice jumped over him.
Kobe: Fisher had good run
Kobe Bryant didn’t have much of a reaction to his old coach Phil Jackson firing his backcourt mate for five championships, Derek Fisher. But he surprisingly called Fisher’s 136-game stint and 40-96 mark as Knicks coach “a good run.”
“They felt they needed a change so they made a change,” Bryant said. “It’s pretty black and white to me. Derek’s like a brother, always has been. But still it’s hard to be a coach somewhere and last your entire career there. He’s had a good run there and now it’s time for a change.”
Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, who coached Kristaps Porzingis and the World All-Stars in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge, called the Knicks rookie “a unique player” and believes he will be “a great, great player in this league.” Kristaps scored 30 points in the game.
Messina, the legendary Italian coach compared Porzingis to former Bull Toni Kukoc, and said one area he would like to see him improve is being able to “do more things off the dribble.”
He’s got skills
Minnesota rookie big man Karl-Anthony Towns won the Skills Challenge, beating out Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas in the final round. Normally a contest for guards, the NBA opened it up to big men this year. When Towns won, the other three “big” competitors stormed the court and jumped all over him.
Westchester Knicks guard Jimmer Fredette earned D-League All-Star Game MVP after scoring a league-record 35 points in the East’s win.