NBA 3-Point Contest is still Dame Time

2024 NBA All Star - Starry 3-Point Contest
2024 NBA All Star - Starry 3-Point Contest

INDIANAPOLIS — It was Dame Time in Indiana.

It came down to the final shot, but nobody drains final shots like Damian Lillard. He went last in the final round and had 23 points heading to the final rack of balls in the left corner — he needed just two points to top Trae Young's 23. Lillard missed the first four shots, but you knew he wasn't going to miss the money ball.

"When I got to the final rack, I didn't know my exact score, but when I missed a couple, I heard the crowd just oohing and aahing," Lillard said. "Once they kept doing it over and over, I knew I was still alive because I knew they would have stopped if it had been over for me.

"The next two balls, I missed again, and then I grabbed the next one and I knew I needed that to win."

With that, Damian Lillard is the back-to-back 3-Point Contest winner.

This was a field stacked with good shooters and it showed in the first round when four players scored 26 to tie for first — Lillard, Young, Karl-Anthony Towns and local hero Tyrese Haliburton.

Lauri Markkanen got hot in the second half of the first round but it wasn't enough as he finished with 25. Jalen Brunson needed 26 but finished two points short of the line when he hit just two of the five money-ball shots from the right corner to end his round. Donovan Mitchell scored 21 in a solid first-round but it just didn't make the cut this year. Beasley shot like his Lakers days and had a 20 in the first round and was eliminated.

Rather than have all of the top four advance to the final round (which kind of seemed logical), there was a :30 tiebreaker for the shooters (same rules, just less time) to bring it down to three for the final round. Towns shot well enough to advance with Young and Lillard.

In the final round, Towns put up a good score of 22 on a night. Good was not going to cut it on this night. Young stepped it up with 24 as he got hot late.

That put the pressure on Lillard. And that's where he thrives.