Best and worst from NBA All-Star Saturday night

Feb 13, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns reacts as he holds the skills challenge trophy during the NBA All Star Saturday Night at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

NBA All-Star Saturday night was fun for all ages and sizes.

Getting things started, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge 2016 provided some entertaining moments and got the crowd buttered up.

The Foot Locker 3-point Contest 2016 was next, followed by the high-flying action of the Verizon Slam Dunk contest.

These were the best and worst moments from the evening’s entertainment.

Best: Big men don’t need to see to flip out

One of the best things that happened during the Taco Bell Skills Challenge 2016 had nothing to do with the competitors on the floor.

During one of the television commercial breaks, a group of acrobats hit the court to entertain the crowd at Air Canada Centre, one of whom was a bit, shall we say, formidable in the middle.

The big man at one point in the middle of a series of flips, had his shirt go over his eyes until it fell off completely. That didn’t stop him from nailing the landing, though:

Worst: Jordan Clarkson forgets he’s in a competition

Los Angeles Lakers guard Clarkson was matched up against Portand Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum in the first round of the skills competition. It was an even match after both players failed to get the ball through the circle on their “pass” portion of the challenge.

That deserves its own “bad” mention, but what happened next was even worse.

Clarkson played the “after you, good sir” card and let McCollum lay his ball in first, even though the two men arrived at the rim approximately at the same time.

It’s one thing to avoid getting hurt physically on an exhibition matchup, but Clarkson was clearly just not in it to win it.

Best: Karl-Anthony Towns takes down Isaiah Thomas to win 

During the first two rounds, it looked like the skills champ would easily be Thomas, the spark plug point guard of the Boston Celtics, who made the course look ridiculously easy. However, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Towns caught fire in his second-round matchup against Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

The final round was all sorts of fun, with the big man ultimately winning out.

Towns and Thomas both arrived at the layup portion of the run dead even, but rather than give one another some room to breathe they went hard and both got their balls into the bucket almost simultaneously.

Finishing things off at the opposite end of the court, after a couple of missed three-pointers by both men, Towns finally buried his ball into the bottom of the net, barely causing a ripple.

The best part about it was how the two competitors got the crowd on its feet, but it was far from the last time this happened Saturday night.

Best: Draymond Green’s trophy almost as tall as Kevin Hart

This almost went the other way.

Green walked away with a “win,” despite the fact that Hart actually tied him, 12-12, thanks to a spectacular late rally.

But the entire thing was capped off by some rather amusing theater, as Green was awarded a trophy that was almost as tall as Hart, himself.

At least Hart walked away with a participation trophy.

Worst: Draymond Green couldn’t beat Kevin Hart

Green is one of the best basketball players on the planet, yet he couldn’t definitively beat Hart, scoring only 12 measly points.

And given the way the TNT broadcast was so quick to produce the aforementioned skyscraper trophy for Green as the “winner” of the competition, perhaps Hart was actually holding back before going on a tear to close out the match.

Whatever the case, you’d fully expect Green to annihilate Hart, who not only gave up just a few inches to the Warriors’ star forward but who doesn’t get paid millions to play this game.

Best: Klay Thompson takes down Steph Curry

Curry and Thompson comprise the most dynamic backcourt in the NBA, and the Golden State Warriors teammates put on a show in the final round of the three-point contest.

Following up a blazing hot 23-point performance by Curry, Thompson went to work. He had a rough patch between the third and fourth rack, but he filled up his final rack with money balls and sunk them all. In total, he scored 27 points to take down his fellow Splash Brother by four points — an impressive feat.

Most people probably still would take Curry to win any shooting contest, even after Thompson took him down on Saturday night.

However, if you ask our Commander in Chief, President Barack Obama, we should have all seen this coming. After all, he did say earlier in the week that Thompson had a “prettier” shot than Curry does.

Worst: Devin Booker whiffs on the high-five attempt from Steph Curry

Perhaps it was because he’s just 19 years old and was in awe of his situation. Perhaps it was because he ultimately struggled in the final, scoring just 16 points.

Whatever the case may be, Booker was not paying attention to Curry’s attempt at a congratulatory high-five as he walked off the court. The end result was a whiff of epic proportions.

Curry was cracking up after the fact, likely knowing how much grief Booker would receive for his hilarious faux pas.

Best: Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon need Red Bull sponsorships

These kids have some serious wings.

LaVine showed his off in a major way Saturday night on his way to winning the dunk contest two years in a row. He got things lit like a roman candle right from the get-go on his first dunk of the night.

These reactions by Tracy McGrady, Andrew Wiggins, Cousins, Towns and others pretty much summed it up.

Not to be outdone, Gordon flew, and I mean he FLEW over the top of the Orlando Magic mascot, throwing it down after going under his legs.

LaVine was able to conjure up plenty more magic, as well.

Gordon was far from finished, though, and he used his mascot a couple more times to great effect. Our favorite was this one, which showed off ridiculous creativity we’ve never before seen.

In the end, after a phenomenal back-and-forth between the two high-flying phenoms, LaVine pulled out a hard-fought victory in what was the best competition we’ve seen in a couple of decades, thanks to efforts like this one.

In all reality, it should have ended in a tie. Both were amazing, and it’s a shame they couldn’t just share the trophy.

Worst: Multiple failed attempts during dunk contest

Will Barton was no match for the effortless brilliance put on display by Gordon and LaVine.

He tried so hard to come up with something — anything — that could compete with the fire those two spit out of their tailpipes but ultimately failed miserably.


He ultimately gave up and tried something else after flaming out for the umpteenth time, and then he failed on that one as well.

There is no shame in losing, but there really needs to be a three-attempt limit or something, because what happened to Barton was just sad.

Bonus Best: State Farm’s ‘Dropping Dimes’ video

If you stepped out or muted your television during commercial breaks, then you missed out on something pretty special.

State Farm unveiled a commercial Saturday that had us in stitches.


“Kevin, where you get all them dimes?”