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All-Stars take back seat in skills, 3-point and dunk competitions

All-Stars take back seat in skills, 3-point and dunk competitions

NEW ORLEANS -- The stars came out for All-Star Saturday Night at Smoothie King Center, but the biggest ones failed to win the skills, three-point or dunk competitions.

John Wall was a first-round exit in the Skills Competition when he failed to get past Gordon Hayward in the skills competition. Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks) made it two years in a row that a big man has won, outdoing All-Stars DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Isaiah Thomas. Nikola Jokic and Devin Booker also participated.

"It's a good feeling that I'm able to showcase my skill with my size and show to the kids that you're capable of doing that even if you're tall and lanky like me," Porzingis, who stands 7-3, said. 

Eric Gordon had to go an extra session to break tie with All-Star Kyrie Irving for the three-point championship. All-Stars Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Nick Young, Wes Matthews, Kyle Lowry, C.J. McCollum 

"I'm used to the rims here. I'd been here for five years," said Gordon, who left the New Orleans Pelicans for the Houston Rockets this summer. "I've always been a pretty good shooter."

The slam-dunk contest had a surprise winner in Glenn Robinson III, who beat out favorite Aaron Gordon, DeAndre Jordon and the little-known Derrick Jones. Gordon was the 2016 runner-up in an epic showdown with Zach LaVine. 

Robinson, who plays with the Indiana Pacers, surprised even himself with his leaping ability. He jumped over two people stacked on top of one another to wow the judges for a perfect score.

"It's crazy. Like I said, I couldn't dunk until my sophomore year in high school, and now not even a decade later, I won an NBA dunk contest," Robinson said. "Going into this, I hadn't really practiced any trick dunks. I hadn't really got time. I focused on playing. I focused on starting and playing to the best of my ability. When they gave me this chance, it took me a week to come up with some things that nobody's ever seen in the NBA dunk contest. It was tough."

[RELATED: DeMarcus Cousins says Wall is NBA's best point guard]

Justin Jackson, North Carolina too much for Virginia

Justin Jackson, North Carolina too much for Virginia

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -- Justin Jackson scored 20 points to help No. 10 North Carolina beat No. 14 Virginia 65-41 on Saturday night, keeping the Tar Heels alone in first in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Kennedy Meeks had all of his 13 points and seven rebounds after halftime for the Tar Heels (23-5, 11-3 Atlantic Coast Conference). They shot 47 percent and led by double figures nearly all night against the ice-cold Cavaliers.

UNC led 34-22 at halftime, never let Virginia closer than nine then ran off 10 straight points to take a 25-point lead and send the Cavaliers to their first three-game skid in a single season in six years.

Marial Shayok scored 13 points to lead Virginia (18-8, 8-6), who went 10 minutes without a basket at one point during the second half and missed its first 17 3-pointers for the game as the Tar Heels turned it into a rout.

Virginia shot 28 percent for the game and finished at 2 for 20 from 3-point range to go with a season-low point output, with every missed shot becoming magnified as the Tar Heels stayed in attack mode.

It was also was the second-lowest point total by an opponent in UNC's Smith Center, just a basket better than Clemson's 39 points here in 1995.

UNC finished with a 44-26 rebounding advantage, with much of that edge coming after halftime behind Meeks.


Virginia: The Cavaliers offered up a worst-case scenario Saturday night. If Virginia's defense can't rattle an opponent, the Cavaliers' limited offensive punch gives them little margin for error.

UNC: This was one of several tough games for UNC coming down the regular-season stretch. Winning this rematch of last year's ACC Tournament championship game by a lopsided margin has to be a boost to an already confident team.


Virginia: The Cavaliers return home Monday night to host Miami.

UNC: The Tar Heels have another big home game, hosting No. 8 Louisville on Wednesday night.