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Damian Lillard repeats as 3-point champion, then wins NBA All-Star Game MVP

By MICHAEL MAROT - Associated Press | Feb 18, 2024

Darron Cummings, Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks' Damian Lillard watches his shot during the 3-point contest at NBA basketball All-Star weekend Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, in Indianapolis.

INDIANAPOLIS — Damian Lillard added a new title in his first NBA All-Star Game appearance with the Eastern Conference — MVP.

The Milwaukee Bucks guard finished with 39 points, 11 3-pointers, six assists, three rebounds and one steal in a record-breaking 211-186 win over the West.

Lillard was 14 of 26 from the field and 11 of 23 on 3s for a team that broke All-Star Game marks for total points and 3s with 42. Eight players scored in double figures with three — Lillard, Boston guard Jaylen Brown and Indiana guard Tyrese Haliburton all topping 30 points. Karl Anthony-Towns of Minnesota also had 50 points for the West.

The former Weber State star swished two shots from the midcourt line in the second half.

Lillard also defended his NBA 3-point contest title by finishing with 26 points in the final round Saturday night.

Lillard, who won with Portland last season, became the eighth player to win at least two 3-point crowns and the first since Jason Kapono in 2007 and 2008 to do it in consecutive years.

He beat out Trae Young of Atlanta and Karl-Anthony Towns of Minnesota, who both had 24 points in the last round.

“I think last year it was a lower score to win. Like, nobody really shot the ball great,” Lillard said. “This one, I felt like everybody shot at a pretty high clip in the first round, in the tiebreaking round and the final round. Everyone shot well, so this one was, I’d say, a little more fun.”


Mac McClung went back to school to win his second consecutive NBA Slam Dunk Contest.

He asked Shaquille O’Neal to squeeze into McClung’s old high school jersey, then grabbed the ball out of the big man’s hands and leapt right over him to draw five perfect scores on his final attempt Saturday night.

McClung compiled 98.8 points on his last two dunks, while Boston Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown finished with 97.8.

“Shaq was so cool to put that high school jersey on, man, it almost made me emotional that he would do that,” McClung said. “When he put it on, he said, ‘You better not miss it.’ I said, ‘OK, I won’t miss it.'”

Unlike some of his previous attempts, McClung made this dunk on his first try and was rewarded handsomely by the five judges.

As a result, the high-flying, 6-foot-2 guard who plays for Orlando’s G-League affiliate, the Osceola Magic, became the sixth player with two or more Slam Dunk titles and the first to win in back-to-back seasons since Zach LaVine in 2015 and 2016.

Hey Mac, gonna go for an unprecedented third straight title next year?

“I don’t know. We’ll think about it,” said McClung, who won the G League championship with his team last year. “I’m not sure yet.”

The only player with three NBA Slam Dunk crowns is Nate Robinson, but those didn’t come in a row.

McClung jumped over two people on his first dunk in the final round. Brown paid tribute to the late Terrence Clark, a Massachusetts prep star who died in a car crash at age 19 in April 2021.

McClung needed an even higher score after four judges gave Brown a 49 and the other a 50 on his final attempt, a left-handed shot over one person with a Michael Jackson-style sequin glove covering his left hand.

McClung then picked O’Neal out of the crowd, asked him to stand in as the prop and delivered the dunk of the night.

“It was like, ‘OK, you’ve really got to bring something, and I think they want us to make our dunks on the first try, which I completely understand,” McClung said. “So I knew it was time to lock in for the finals.”


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