SLAM DUNK CONTEST
TORONTO (AP) — Aaron Gordon soared over his mascot, but nobody flies higher than Zach LaVine in the slam dunk contest.
LaVine was perfect just a little longer than Gordon and won a thrilling final event to cap off an entertaining NBA All-Star Saturday. LaVine captured his second straight dunk title — and a second trophy in two nights in Toronto.
"I had to bring my A-plus-plus-plus game," LaVine said.
The night — and the first two nights of this first All-Star weekend held outside the U.S. — ended with a celebration for LaVine, who won the MVP award in Friday's Rising Stars Challenge for rookies and second-year players.
He outlasted Gordon in a duel that needed two overtimes and ended only when there was literally no ball to use. It was batted down to other end of the court as NBA stars, who were as captivated as the fans and celebrities sitting courtside, charged onto the court when LaVine leaped from just inside the foul line, put the ball between his legs in midair and slammed it down.
He and Gordon traded perfect scores of 50 for the previous few rounds after advancing to the final, but the Orlando Magic rookie mustered only a 47 in his last attempt.
But he may have had the most memorable dunks of the night with some help from the Magic's mascot — aptly named Stuff the Magic Dragon.
On one of Stuff's assists, Gordon took the ball with one hand from the mascot, who was spinning around on a hoverboard, and did a 360-degree dunk. He got another assist from Stuff on the next one, leaping high to take the ball, putting it under his legs — nearly in a sitting position in midair — and slamming it down with his left hand.
"Me and him are now like best friends, me and Stuff," Gordon said.
7:20 p.m. Sunday • TNT, TBS
Air Canada Centre, Toronto