HOUSTON — The Eastern Conference got on the board first at All-Star Saturday Night at the Toyota Center, as Team Bosh (consisting of Miami Heat All-Star Chris Bosh, Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, and Swin Cash of the Chicago Sky) defeated Team Westbrook (made up of Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx and Robert Horry) in the finals of the Sears Shooting Stars showcase, the opening event of the annual All-Star Saturday Night festivities.
In the two-round timed shooting competition, three-person teams made up of a current NBA player, an NBA legend and a WNBA player have to make shots from six different shooting locations. Due to this year's new All-Star Saturday Night format, in which the East and West compete to raise money for charity, each conference fielded two teams, in a break from the previous three-team, city-based construction of years gone by. The fastest team from each conference moved on to the championship round; the slowest team from each round was resigned to generations of shame.
Joining Team Bosh representing the East was Team Lopez, featuring Brooklyn Nets All-Star Brook Lopez, Muggsy Bogues and Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings. Alongside Team Westbrook in the West was Team Harden, made up of Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden, Washington Wizards assistant coach and former NBA player Sam Cassell and all-time WNBA leading scorer Tina Thompson of the Seattle Storm.
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Team Harden opened the competition, finishing the first round in 37.9 seconds after a half-court make by Harden, but Team Westbrook was quite a bit faster, finished the first round in 29.5 seconds. Team Bosh got off to a slow start for the East, as Dominique Wilkins had a tough run of it on a top-of-the-key 3-pointer; he did, however, make the half-court shot to finish in a time of 50 seconds. That seemed like it would make it relatively easy for Team Lopez, but the half-court 3-pointer bedeviled Brook's bunch — after many, many tries, Lopez finally knocked one down at the 1:07 mark, sending Team Bosh on to the face Team Westbrook in the championship round.
In that final round, Team Bosh again had some difficulty, as 'Nique couldn't quite find the range from the top of the arc and many half-court tries went wanting; eventually, though, "The Human Highlight Film" hit his second long ball, wrapping things up in a time of 1:29. That seemed like plenty of time for Team Westbrook, which wrapped up its first five shots in about 30 seconds ... but then couldn't buy a basket from half-court, failing to make a bomb before the 1:29 mark, giving Team Bosh the win.
For Team Bosh's victory, the East is awarded 10 points. However, because the two West teams finished in a total of 1:07.4, while the two East squads combined for a time of 1:57, the West earned 20 points in the evening's overall East vs. West competition. Intrigue!
NBA Cares and State Farm are making a joint donation of $500,000 for charity on All-Star Saturday Night. The winning conference's charity of choice will receive $350,000 while the losing conference's charity gets $150,000 as part of a $500,000 joint donation by NBA Cares and State Farm. Captained by Bosh's Heat teammate Dwyane Wade, the East are playing for Big Brothers Big Sisters and Make-A-Wish America, while the West, led by Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, will compete for Boys & Girls Club of America and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign.
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