While the Slam Dunk Contest is always the headline event of NBA All-Star Saturday night, the three-point contest has made up quite a bit of ground in recent years. As usual, there was plenty of attention on the long-range shooters in 2017 and, in the end, it was Eric Gordon outlasting Kyrie Irving in a final tiebreaker round to claim ultimate glory.
Defending champion Klay Thompson bowed out in the opening round, generating only 18 points and Kyle Lowry, Nick Young, Wes Matthews and C.J. McCollum on the sidelines for the final round. Thompson’s early exit, in conjunction with the noticeable absence of the world’s best shooter in Stephen Curry, might have taken a bit of luster off the event, but Eric Gordon’s performance was tremendous in itself.
Kemba Walker put up just 17 points in the final after a 19-point showing in his first run, and he was quickly eliminated in the final round after both Irving, who sparked a bit of news with a certain belief earlier in the day, and Gordon produced 20 points.
From there, it was sudden death and Irving didn’t set the highest bar.
Gordon then finished the job with a big-time performance in an exhilarating overtime round.
Klay Thompson entered as the favorite, Kyrie Irving was the biggest topic of conversation but it was Eric Gordon, in a place where he played for many years, taking home the title. That was strangely fitting and quite awesome in a season in which he is the likely Sixth Man of the Year in a situation that he actually chose via free agency. One day, perhaps the best shooter in the world will defend his crown in this format again, but this night belonged to Gordon when it came to firing from beyond the arc.