NBA All-Star Saturday Night Live: Terrence Ross Defeats Jeremy Evans to Win Slam Dunk Contest

Terrence RossSlam dunk contest: In the end, this year’s dunk contest did not come close to living up to the amount of hype placed on it. There was no iconic, highlight-reel moment to look back on, but Ross was definitely crowned a worthy champion. His Carter tribute was followed by a between-the-legs slam while jumping over a 9-year-old boy, earning him the title with 58 percent of the fan vote.

Though Evans fell short of a repeat victory, his performance for the Western Conference helped clinch the overall championship. The West’s two charities — Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign — will receive a $350,000 donation while the East’s — Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and Make-A-Wish America — will receive $150,000.

Overall, it was an underwhelming evening. But, on the bright side, at least Chuck can go home now.

Slam dunk contest: Now that’s more like it. Ross strolled onto the court sporting an old Vince Carter Raptors jersey and threw down a dunk that would make Vince proud.

Slam dunk contest: Well alright, Evans just dunked over a picture of himself dunking over a picture of himself. The creativity factor was definitely there, but the dunk itself wasn’t anything too spectacular. It was definitely not enough to enthuse Charles Barkley and the rest of the broadcast team, who sound like they are counting the minutes until this night is over.

Slam dunk contest: This competition has yet to see a consistent performer. Those who excited in the first round (notably Green and White), struggled with their next attempt while Faried and Bledsoe atoned for their rather weak first impression with truly impressive slams in Round 2. None of those four will be moving on to the finals. The second dunks thrown down by Ross and Evans were rather pedestrian by dunk contest standards, but were pulled off cleanly enough to clinch bids to the championship round for both.

Slam dunk contest: Gerald Green is known for bringing creativity to this contest, and he did so again tonight. Green cut the net off the rim and attempted to “double-dunk,” putting the ball through the rim twice before hitting the ground. He finally completed it successfully, but the two-minute, 15-second timer ran out, saddling him with a 32-point score as well.

Despite his thunderous opening dunk, Green will now be joining White on the sidelines, as Terrence Ross earns the Eastern Conference’s bid to the finals.

Slam dunk contest: Just like that, White’s night is over. The YouTube sensation failed to capitalize on any of his signature free-throw line dunks and time ran out on him. A score of 32 brings his competition to a close.

Slam dunk contest: Kenneth Faried and Eric Bledsoe were very underwhelming in their turns, both earning scores below 40 for rather generic jams.

Jeremy Evans added a greater “wow factor” to his attempt, leaping over a seated Mark Eaton (who stands 7-foot-4). The reigning champ earned a score of 47, leading his conference, but Green has to be the undisputed leader after one round of dunks.

Slam dunk contest: James “Flight” White is known for soaring from the free-throw line, and he did just that in his first dunk of the night. He narrowly missed on his first attempt but buried his second try, earning a roar from the crowd. The judges were not blown away, however, giving him a score of 45.

The panel was a little more generous to Terrence Ross, who mistimed his first several attempts at an around-the-back slam. The judges must have been impressed with his final product, awarding him a perfect score of 50 that tied him with Green for first place.

Slam dunk contest: Rudy Tomjanovich, Dikembe Mutombo, Yao Ming, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Talk about a star-studded judging panel. This year’s champion will be determined by a combination of judges’ scores, text messages, Twitter votes and online voting through NBA.com.

Former Celtic Gerald Green sets the bar high with his first dunk, taking a ball bounced off the side of the back board and throwing down a ferocious reverse slam. He gets a scores of 50 from the courtside panel.

Three-point contest: Matt “The Red Mamba” Bonner deposited a respectable 20 points in the finals, but Irving put on the show of the night, winning the individual competition with a high score of 23 points. It is now time for the main event, as the dunk contest will be underway after a short musical interlude.

Three-point contest: A rough, 10-point round by the East’s Paul George — who competed in last year’s dunk contest — allows the Western Conference to clinch the overall victory. Kyrie Irving will represent the East against Bonner in the final round.

Irving has been the busiest man in Houston this weekend — playing in last night’s Rising Stars game, competing tonight and suiting up for the East in tomorrow night’s All-Star Game.

Three-point contest: There will be finals for Curry this year, as the West’s ticket to the championship round was punched by New England’s own Matt Bonner. The Concord, N.H., native gained entrance to the competition after an extensive social media campaign and proceeded to top Curry and New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson with a 19-point first round.

Three-point contest: Stephen Curry shakes off a rough start by sinking nine of his final 10 shots, including his last three “money balls.” Curry first rose to fame when his Davidson Wildcats made a miraculous run through the 2008 NCAA tournament. The skills challenge used to be Curry’s forte, having won the event two years ago and place second in 2012, but now he’ll see if his score of 17 will hold up against some of the game’s top three-point snipers.

Skills Challenge: The former Weber State Wildcat takes home the trophy, as Lillard cruises through the finals to salvage 10 points for the West. The Western Conference earned 30 for their overall win in the skills challenge, though and hold a 40-30 lead through two events.

This was Lillard’s second appearance of All-Star weekend, as the Rookie of the Year candidate was the No. 1 pick by Team Shaq for last night’s Rising Stars Challenge. He put up 18 points, but his team was pounded by Charles Barkley’s Team Chuck, losing a 163-135 barnburner.

Skills Challenge: The West looked poised to cruise to a team championship, but Parker could not recreate his magic from a year ago. The Spurs guard posted the second-worst time of all competitors as the East snagged the surprising victory. Holliday and Blazers rookie Damian Lillard, owner of the first round’s top time of 28.8 seconds, will square off in the finals.

Skills Challenge: This is certainly the event that requires the widest skill set, combining dribbling, passing and shooting in a full-court obstacle course. Jeff Teague (49.4 seconds), Brandon Knight (32.2) and Jrue Holliday (29.3) post progressively faster times for the East in the opening round, with Teague enduring some criticism from the commentators for his lackadaisical approach.

Skills Challenge: Now it’s time for the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. The West’s Tony Parker, who won this competition last year, will look to become just the third two-time skills champion in the history of the event.

Shooting Stars Challenge: Even for professional basketball players, the half-court shot is no walk in the park. “Big Shot Bob” Horry and Team Westbrook couldn’t put it in from long range, giving Bosh & Co. the unlikely victory. So that means the West takes 20 points for the overall victory, but Team Bosh’s win in the finals gives 10 points to the East. If you think this scoring system is confusing, you’re not alone. The TNT broadcast team doesn’t seem to have a firm grasp of it either.

Shooting Stars Challenge: Dominique Wilkins dominated many a dunk contest back in his playing days, but his three-point stroke could use some work. Wilkins, Bosh and Tamika Catchings finish with a final time of 50 seconds, but are bailed out when Team Lopez struggles mightily on the final half-court shot, sticking them with the highest finish time in the competition. It’ll be Team Bosh vs. Team Westbrook in the finals.

Shooting Stars Challenge: Russell Westbrook and his team of Maya Moore and Robert Horry upstage Westbrook’s former teammate in his own arena, taking 29.5 seconds to complete the course. That gives the West a total time of 1:07.4, with the Eastern Conference’s Team Bosh next to shoot.

Shooting Stars Challenge: The teams have been introduced and we are ready to get started. Rockets star James Harden knows this court well, and he, Sam Cassell and Tina Thompson open the competition with a time of 37.9 seconds in the opening round.

8 p.m.: I know I’m getting ahead of myself a bit here, but let’s take a look ahead to the night’s final event — the dunk contest — before all the action gets started.

This year’s competition, featuring Gerald Green, Terrence Ross and James White from the East and Eric Bledsoe, Jeremy Evans and Kenneth Faried representing the West, has the potential to be the most exciting in years.

The lack of star power among the slam dunk field of late coupled with judges’ decisions that rewarded style and corporate interest over difficulty (i.e. Blake Griffin winning for jumping over a Kia) have caused the contest to lose the immense appeal it last enjoyed during the early 2000s. Tonight has the potential to break the streak of mediocrity, however. Though you won’t see any household names on the roster, the talent in this year’s slate of dunkers is unquestionable.

Two of the competitors have already won this contest in the past (Green in 2007 and Evans in 2012). Faried is looking to follow up an MVP performance in last night’s Rising Stars game, where he put up 40 points. Bledsoe, the smallest man in the competition, has had his dunking prowess overshadowed by playing alongside Griffin and the rest of his Lob City teammates while Toronto’s Ross has been throwing down in relative obscurity north of the border.

As for White, the NBA dunk contest is a final frontier of sorts, as the 30-year-old has already impressed in competitions in high school, college, the D-League and around the globe. He’s the hot pick by many to take home the hardware tonight.

7 p.m.: With the festivities set to get underway in just about 90 minutes, let’s take a closer look at tonight’s competitors.

The night’s opening event — the Shooting Stars Challenge — will be altered a bit by the new conference-vs.-conference format. While teams used to consist of an NBA player, WNBA player and “NBA legend” from the same city or region — a system I, personally, found to be pretty cool — this year’s edition will be divided between the Eastern Conference and Western Conference.

Here’s what the lineups look like:

East

NBA: Brook Lopez, Chris Bosh
WNBA: Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings
Legends: Muggsy Bogues, Dominique Wilkins

West

NBA: James Harden, Russell Westbrook
WNBA: Maya Moore, Tina Thompson
Legends: Robert Horry, Sam Cassell

Probably the most obscure event you’ll see tonight, the Shooting Stars Challenge calls for players to nail a variety of shots of varying difficulties from predetermined spots around the floor, culminating in a shot from half-court. Make sense? If not, check out these highlights from last year’s event, won by Landry Fields and Team New York.

8 a.m. ET: The NBA season has reached its halfway point, meaning that it’s time for the annual extravaganza that is All-Star weekend.

The league’s best will descend on Houston for the three-day festival, and while the actual All-Star Game won’t tip off until Sunday, the real excitement takes place the night before.

All-Star Saturday Night will feature the same four events — the Shooting Stars competition, skills challenge, three-point contest and, of course, the slam dunk contest — that NBA fans have become accustomed to, but with a new twist thrown in this season.

This year, the participants in the four competitions will be divided by conference and awarded points for each event. At the end of the night, the conference with the most total points will be awarded a $350,000 donation to charities of its choice, while the losing conference will receive a $150,000 donation.

Utah’s Jeremy Evans will be back to defend the dunk contest title he won in Orlando last season, but keep an eye on first-time competitor James White. White is averaging less than seven minutes per game off the bench for the Knicks this season but has become famous on YouTube for his free-throw-line slams, particularly those he threw down during an epic battle with fellow 2013 competitor Gerald Green at a competition in Russia in 2010.

Earlier in the night, 2012 skills competition champion Tony Parker will attempt to protect his crown against the likes of Jeremy Lin and Jeff Teague, young guns Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving will face off in the three-point contest and All-Stars, NBA legends and WNBAers will team up in the Shooting Stars challenge.

Be sure to check back here throughout the day for updates and follow along with the event, which gets underway tonight at 8:30.

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