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NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2014: Full Recap & Highlights

NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore

(Getty)


Terrence Ross was looking to defend the dunk contest crown against an impressive field of high-flying participants in 2014.

In one sense he did, as the East dominated the West in the 2014 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest. However, it was his Eastern Conference brethren John Wall — voted the “Dunker of the Night” — who really stole the show.



NBA legends Dominique Wilkins, Julius Erving and Magic Johnson served as judges for the event, which featured a different set of rules.

Here is a rundown of the changes in 2014, per SB Nation:

In the first round, the Freestyle Round, each dunker will have 90 seconds to do as many dunks as he wants. When that’s over, a panel of judges will then decide the winning conference.”

“The dunkers from that winning conference will get to choose whether to go first or second in the East vs. West dunking matchups that will take place in the second round, the Battle Round. Judges will pick the winner of each battle, with the first team to win three head-to-head matchups declared the winner of the competition. Yes, this means there will be no more 50s, just “winners.”

For a more comprehensive explanation of the rule changes, check out the video below from TYT Sports.



This year’s field of dunkers:


EAST:

John Wall, PG, Washington Wizards

Paul George, F, Indiana Pacers

Terrence Ross, G, Toronto Raptors

WEST:

Ben McLemore, SG, Sacramento Kings

Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trail Blazers

Harrison Barnes, F, Golden State Warriors


Find a complete recap of this year’s dunk contest below, including GIFs, videos and more.

Freestyle Round

NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore

(Getty)


The contest opened up with the freestyle round. The East won unanimously.


East Freestyle Round



All three Eastern Conference representatives got involved for this dunk, which went from Ross to Wall to George.


NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore


West Freestyle Round



Here’s a nice slam by McLemore.


NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore


And another by Lillard.


NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore


The Twitterverse wasn’t impressed with what they saw.




Battle Round

NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore

(Getty)


The East won a clean sweep all the way through, winning the battle round 3-0 over the West.


1. Terrence Ross Defeats Damian Lillard


Ross, who plays for the Toronto Raptors, incorporated Canadian rapper Drake in his battle round dunk — a nice through-the-legs throw down.


NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore


2. Paul George Defeats Harrison Barnes


Check out this pretty 360 through-the-legs jam by George.


NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore


3. John Wall Defeats Ben McLemore


Give Ben McLemore points for creativity, though. The Sacramento guard, donning an impressive-looking crown, leaped over legendary center Shaquille O’Neal — now minority owner of the Kings — sitting in a throne under the basket. The build-up was exciting, but the same can’t be said for the dunk itself.


NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore

John Wall Wins Slam Dunker of the Night

NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore


Washington Wizards point guard John Wall was voted Slam Dunker of the Night. He brought the house down with this crazy double-clutch reverse jam over the team mascot.

Wall’s thunderous jam got the attention of the Twitter world, with some even claiming it saved the dunk contest.

His celebration was just as exciting as the jam itself.


NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore





Watch Wall’s triumph below.



Overall Reaction: Not Good

NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore

Luke Zimmerman. (Twitter)


Although the dunk contest certainly had its thrilling moments, the buzz on social media is decidedly negative. Here are a few of the many disappointed reactions around the Twitterverse.

Samer Kalaf of Deadspin described it as “hot garbage.”



Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson agreed with Deadspin’s assessment.



ESPN college football analyst Desmond Howard called the new format “whack.”



New York Jets running back John Griffin offered a visual depiction of what it was like for him watching the dunk contest.



It’s clear the dunk contest doesn’t have the appeal it once did. In many ways, it parallels the NFL’s Pro Bowl. We saw some format changes benefit pro football’s version of the all-star game last month. The NBA must once again go back to the drawing board and try to re-write the rules to manufacture more excitement.


NBA, Dunk Contest, Damian Lillard, Terrence Ross, John Wall, Paul George, Harrison Barnes, Ben McLemore

(Getty)


Here’s one proposition, from Nick Schwartz of USA Today.



1. Scrap the freestyle entirely.

2. Give each player three dunks per battle.

3. Have fans vote for the best dunker from each conference in the battle stage.

4. Have those players two face off to determine an overall winner.


Here’s another suggestion, from Grantland’s Bill Barnwell.



But the real question is — can the dunk contest really be fixed at all?


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2 comments

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