(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The host Orlando Magic didn't fare well during All-Star Saturday Night, perhaps illustrating that homecourt advantage isn't all it's cracked up to be. Power forward Ryan Anderson came up short in the Foot Locker Three-Point contest, finishing with 17 points in the first round, coming up just one point shy of advancing to the next round. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love captured victory by outshooting Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, 17-14, in a final tiebreaker round.
"First of all, I'd like to say I apologize to the Orlando community for not bringing home the W," Anderson said. He marvelled at the quality of his competition, noting the exceptionally high first-round scores contributed in part to his defeat.
So too did his airballing his first shot. Teeing off from the right corner, Anderson's first offering sailed over the basket and landed on the left side of the floor. "It might have hit a little rim," Anderson said. "We can do that. We can say that. We'll pretend it did."
Anderson admitted he was nervous and had a lot of thoughts running through his head as he prepared to take part in the first All-Star event of his four-year career. "You're thinking, 'who am I gonna see in the stands? Who's gonna be there?,' you know, 'What's the music gonna be like?' I'm thinking of all this stuff before [the contest].
"Ultimately, it's just a minute long of shooting. That's what it came down to."
On his final rack, Anderson had a chance to punch his ticket to the second round of the competition, but he missed his two final attempts, which ended his night earlier than he would have liked. Prior to the fifth rack, he had made each of his four previous moneyball tries.
During practice, Anderson said he noticed he struggled making the moneyballs, so he entered Saturday's competition focusing on "holding that follow-through a little longer with those [shots]." That strategy paid off, but not on the final--and deciding--moneyball try of Anderson's night.
Anderson said he'll spend the remainder of his weekend taking it easy. "This is the All-Star 'Break,' right?" he said. "I'm just gonna relax and spend some time with my family and just rest-up. We have a lot more games to go."
Anderson did say he'd "try to get some snoggle in" during the break, though.
Team Orlando was the first team eliminated in the Haier Shooting Stars contest, the first event of the evening, finishing the six-shot contest with a time of 1:04.
Magic point guard Jameer Nelson, Phoenix Mercury player Marie Ferdinand-Harris, and former Magic forward Dennis Scott struggled, needing eight attempts to make the halfcourt shot, the worst figure in the competition. Team New York cruised to victory, posting the best times in both rounds of the contest. On both occasions, Allan Houston nailed the halfcourt shot.
San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker emerged from the Taco Bell Skills Challenge victorious, edging Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics by 1.8 seconds in the final round of the point-guard obstacle course. Parker nearly aced the course, nailing every obstacle on his first try with the exception of the bounce pass, on which he needed two attempts. Rondo needed four tries on the bounce pass, but almost topped Parker anyway.