Kyrie Irving came to the 2014 NBA All-Star Weekend hoping to defend his Three-Point Contest Championship from a year ago. Irving faced some stiff competition as Arron Afflalo, Bradley Beal, Joe, Johnson, Marco Bellinelli, Damian Lillard, Kevin Love, and Stephen Curry made up a prolific field that promised for an exciting competition.
2012 champ Kevin Love started the competition off with sixteen made threes only to be immediately knocked off by Skills Competition co-champion Damian Lillard who sank eighteen from deep. Then came dark horse Marco Bellinelli, who overcame a slow start to knock in nineteen threes and take the lead. Stephen Curry, considered by many to be the favorite in the competition, finished things off for the Western Conference, but only sank sixteen shots from beyond the arc, putting Bellinelli in the finals against the winner of the Eastern Conference Bracket.
Seven-time (I know, right?) All-Star Joe Johnson started things off for the East. Displaying his usual levels of emotion, Johnson finishes with eleven makes and left three balls on the rack. Arron Afflalo was up next and was much quicker than Johnson, but not much better, and finished with thirteen makes from keep. Next up was Bradley Beal. Beal was red hot and made five of his last six shots to become the only player with 21 makes this evening. That set the stage for defending champion Kyrie Irving.
Irving was solid, with 17 makes, but never seemed to quite find his rhythm. The Cavaliers point guard finished second in the Eastern Conference Bracket to Bradley Beal, setting up a finals between Marco Bellinelli and Bradley Beal.
Bellinelli started the finals by shooting nearly exactly the same as he did in the first round, once again overcoming a slow start to finish with nineteen points. Bradley Beal didn’t go down easily however, hitting his last six shots to also score nineteen and force a tie. At this point, it would have been understandable if Bellinelli was somewhat deflated. Instead, the Italian sharpshooter had the best round of the night, hitting twenty-four from deep to hold off Beal, who scored eighteen in the final round of the night. Your 2014 NBA Three Point Contest Champion, Marco Bellinelli.