LOS ANGELES (AP) - Golden State’s Stephen Curry beat Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook in the final round to win the Skills Challenge early on All-Star Saturday at Staples Center.
A three-person team from Atlanta won the Shooting Stars competition in the first event at the NBA All-Star weekend’s silly Saturday.
The program was expected to be highlighted by Clippers rookie Blake Griffin’s much-anticipated appearance in the slam dunk contest.
Curry also played in the Rookie Challenge on Friday night. The Warriors’ slick guard twice navigated the basketball obstacle course with ease, beating a field also including Los Angeles-area native Westbrook, Derrick Rose and Rookie Challenge MVP John Wall and New Orleans’ Chris Paul, who missed a layup.
The star-studded crowd at Staples Center filled in well before the main event, expected to be a showcase for the rising hometown superstar. Griffin was the heavy favorite to win his first dunk contest.
Defending champion Paul Pierce and his Boston teammate, Ray Allen, also were due to compete in the 3-point shootout against NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant.
Griffin is in the midst of the busiest All-Star weekend in the NBA’s recent history. He scored 14 points in the Rookie Challenge, and he stayed in the dunk contest even after getting chosen for the West squad in Sunday’s main event.
Griffin is the first rookie All-Star since Yao Ming in 2003 after an impressive debut with the Clippers. The forward from Oklahoma is averaging 22.8 points and 12.6 rebounds, but is best known for his astonishing dunking skills, with the hops of a guard combined with a center’s raw strength.