The Morning Huddle – February 19th, 2017

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This morning is all about the NBA All Star break as we gear up for tonight’s game in New Orleans. But we’ve had plenty of action at the Smoothie King Center already, including the Slam Dunk contest and Skills Challenge.

Dunk Contest

aaron gordon

Aaron Gordon lost the dunk contest last year, even though his performance was the most impressive and arguably the fan favorite. So this year the Orlando Magic small forward had a lot to prove, and to do so, he brought a drone to the dunk contest. He didn’t win the contest, but he won the internet, which both loved and hated it.

The drone isn’t to blame for Gordon’s loss. The small forward couldn’t complete a successful dunk on his first try, and needed four attempts to dunk after the drone dropped the ball. Gordon will reportedly not compete in the 2018 Dunk Contest.

It was Indiana’s Glenn Robinson III who won the contest with two great dunks, beating Derrick Jones Jr in the final round. Robinson jumped over three people, including teammate Paul George, to claim the win. 

But to be fair, and a tad critical, the whole contest was subpar. None of the players really amazed the crowd or pulled off stunts like in the past.

Skills Challenge

kristaps

New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis won the Skills Challenge on Saturday night. The bracket-style challenge, used in the past two years, includes 3-point shooting, agility, passing and dribbling, and pits guards against the big men. Porzingis beat Utah guard Gordon Hayward in the final round to become the second big man in a row to win the competition. Last year, Karl-Anthony Towns won the challenge.

#Sagerstrong

The All Stars honored long time NBA reporter Craig Sager, who passed away in December after a battle with cancer. Players held a somewhat impromptu benefit during Saturday night’s events. Guest players, both past and present, took turns shooting to raise money for the Craig Sager Foundation. Steph Curry was eventually called down to try his luck at a half-court shot that would have been worth $370,000, but after he missed about a dozen shots, Shaq and Sager’s son Ryan were called to the court.

Ryan Sager’s layup (with some help from Shaq) capped the event, which overall raised $500,000 for the Sager Foundation.

Before the event, Sager was named as the 2017 winner of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Media Award for electronic media, given every year to outstanding basketball journalists.

The 66th NBA All Star Game will take place tonight at 8:00 pm EST.

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