Griffin drives it home

February 20, 2011|By Barry Stavro and Broderick Turner, Tribune Newspapers

LOS ANGELES — Clippers rookie Blake Griffin won the dunk contest Saturday by leaping over a car while catching a pass through the sunroof from teammate Baron Davis and slamming with two hands at Staples Center.

Griffin defeated Wizards forward JaVale McGee, who did a one-handed catch and dunk, in his final attempt. McGee had dunked on two rims placed side-by-side in the first round.

Griffin's final dunk triggered wild applause as he jumped over the car perfectly and converted on his first attempt while the Crenshaw Select Choir sang "I Believe I Can Fly" at midcourt.

Serge Ibaka of the Thunder pulled off a bizarre dunk in the first round by snatching a stuffed toy hanging from the rim with his teeth while doing a reverse slam. But Ibaka was eliminated in the first round of the competition, as was DeMar DeRozan of the Raptors.

From downtown: The Heat's James Jones topped the bigger stars to win the 3-point contest on Saturday.

Jones, who was first to shoot in the final, scored 20 of a possible 30 points. The Celtics' Paul Pierce, the defending champ, finished with 18 and teammate Ray Allen with 15.

Last season's scoring champ, Kevin Durant of the Thunder, missed 20 of 25 shots and was eliminated in the first round.

They've got skills too: The Warriors' Stephen Curry defeated the Thunder's Russell Westbrook in the Skills Challenge. … The Texas team of Dirk Nowitzki, Kenny Smith and Roneeka Hodges won the Shooting Stars contest, toppling Atlanta's team of Al Horford, Steve Smith and Coco Miller.

Familiar tune: It was fitting that Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James sat side-by-side during Saturday's All-Star Game media session, both talking about their drama-filled situations.

James captivated the nation in the summer when he decided to sign with the Heat. Anthony has been embroiled in trade talks all season, similarly dominating the basketball landscape.

"One thing, when I was going through my situation, I was able to hide a little bit because it was the offseason when it got heavy," James said.

Anthony was asked if he still would be playing for the Nuggets when they face the Grizzlies on Tuesday.

"I don't know," he said. "I'm enjoying this weekend. I'm not thinking about that."

bstavro@tribune.com

baturner@tribune.com

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