John Wall‘s final dunk of the night won the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest for the team representing the Eastern Conference, but the drastic format changes to the event, and not any of its dunks, are what will be remembered most from this year’s All-Star Saturday showcase. “I think it was cool,” Wall said of the new format. “It was fun. Brought some excitement to it in the first round. And basically the second round you go toe to toe with the guy from the West, and you got to have a great opportunity to beat those guys.” Judging by the fan responses coming in live over social media channels, he was a member of a very small minority. The event began with a 90-second freestyle round, where each team took turns throwing down dunks with all three of its respective members on the court at the same time. This resulted in a lot of teamwork, and one of the better dunks of the night – Terrence Ross drove and threw it off the backboard, Wall caught it and passed it off the shot clock, and Paul George finished with a thunderous one-handed flush. The West struggled in the freestyle round, missing too many attempts overall. But Lillard saved it with an athletic attempt that saw him catch the ball off the bounce, before putting it through his legs in the air and then throwing it down. After that it was onto the Battle Round, which featured a player from each team going head-to-head in competition. The winer of each round was voted upon by judges Dominique Wilkins, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving, though there was little drama because there was a decisive victor in every single round. The team to win three rounds would be declared the contest’s winner, and the East was able to sweep it. The first battle featured Lillard against Ross, and while Lillard’s pass to himself and finish with a one-handed, 360-slam was impressive, Ross brought more creativity with him to his performance — along with a fellow Canadian, rapper Drake, as a prop. Drake held the ball in an outstretched arm, and Ross ran up, grabbed it and put it through his legs before finishing a one-handed slam. Neither was amazing, but Ross got the 2-1 nod from the judges. The second battle matched up Harrison Barnes against George, and this one was really no contest. Barnes put a device of some kind in his pocket before taking a few attempts to complete an extremely modest dunk by Dunk Contest standards.
Wall, George lead East to 2014 Slam Dunk Contest title
Pro Basketball Talk | Feb 16