Log in

NBA All-Star Saturday: Degree Shooting Stars Challenge

Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh Photo Credit: giantbomb.com Miami Heat power forward Chris Bosh

Team Bosh Earns Bragging Rights with its Third Straight Title

The NBA All-Star Weekend is similar to meals at your favorite restaurant.

All-Star Friday is the bread you consume while you mull over the choices on the menu.

All-Star Saturday is the appetizer, nourishing your body, moderately.

And then All-Star Sunday is not only the main course, but it is your favorite entrée.

In a restaurant, you can choose to go straight for the main course, but with the NBA All-Star Weekend, you don't want to skip the appetizer.

First and foremost, the Barclays Center and the NBA presented a visual show. The basketball court became a viewing screen of moving images with intros to each event creating an atmosphere that just screamed entertainment.

In two words, sheer beauty.

Beautiful as it might have been, the fans did not come to Barclays on a brisk Saturday night to watch fireworks.

It was all about the individuals participating in the best ticket in town, four events in one.

Saturday night, billed as the State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, featured: the Degree Shooting Stars Challenge; Taco Bell Skills Challenge; Footlocker Three-Point Contest; and the event of the night, the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.

The Degree Shooting Stars was not the most highly anticipated event, but it registered high on the excitement meter. It involved four teams connecting on shots with varying degrees of difficulty at different parts on the floor. The team taking the least amount of time to advance to the championship round wins.

Team Curry (Sue Bird, Stephen Curry, Dell Curry), Team Westbrook (Russell Westbrook, Penny Hardaway, Tamika Catchings), Team Millsap (Paul Millsap, Scottie Pippen, Elena Delle Donne) and the two-time reigning champs in Team Bosh (Chris Bosh, Dominique Wilkins and Swin Cash) all competed for the bragging rights.

It's a good thing I am not a betting man. I would have lost by betting on Team Curry.

In the first round, Catchings, a nine-time WNBA All-Star, almost cost her team a trip to the championship round missing her first seven field goals (19.0 seconds). But, Westbrook and Hardaway, bailed out Catchings by sinking their first attempts from the top of the key and the elbow three (5.0 seconds).

And on the 4th shot, Hardaway reminded everyone why he was selected to be on Team Westbrook sinking his attempt from half-court. Team Westbrook completed their shot-circuit in 35.2 seconds.

But Team Bosh would have their say.

They've been here before, they knew what to do.

And so they did it.

Team Bosh bested Team Westbrook by connecting on all of their shots in eight attempts to Team Westbrook's 10 in only 30.8 seconds.

Next up, the championship round, and the favorite prevailed once more.

Team Westbrook was on a roll in the championship round during its first three shots.

Catchings learned her lesson and used the backboard, knocking down the first required shot; smart.

Hardaway executed his first attempt successfully and Westbrook missed his first and made his second. Team Westbrook completed its first three shots of the championship round in 13 seconds.

All was well until Team Westbrook ran into the half-court shot, the toughest of all four shots. The team missed 26 consecutive attempts as time expired, which put them in position for an upset.

As for Team Bosh, there was no rush.

Team Bosh took its time and at the 57.6 seconds mark, the legend, Wilkins clinched Team Bosh's third straight title on their seventh attempt from half-court.

"Chemistry," said Wilikins when asked how Team Bosh has been able to defend its title. "We just wanted to repeat what we did last year. We did the same thing last year. We didn't want to change it, for luck."

"I think we don't take it so serious," said Cash answering the same question following the event. "Over the last three years we've seen a lot of just everybody; we're so competitive as athletes. When we come out here, it's really simple. We have a good time. We joke around. We miss the shot; all right, we'll get the half-court shot. We just keep it loose. It's fun. And we strategize."

All records are meant to be broken, even championship streaks. But, Team Bosh has a system that works and next year, at the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend hosted by our neighbors up North in Toronto, Team Bosh may be tough to de-throne.