spencer dinwiddie

Mitchell-Nance Jr. showdown highlights All-Star Saturday

AP Images

Mitchell-Nance Jr. showdown highlights All-Star Saturday

LOS ANGELES — Rookie Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz put on a show in the slam dunk contest to cap off NBA All-Star Saturday.

Mitchell edged Larry Nance Jr. by two points, sealing his victory with a close approximation of the 360-degree spin dunk that Vince Carter used to win the 2000 contest.

"I wanted this so badly," Mitchell said. "This is one of my favorite events of All-Star weekend. To not only be in it, but to win it, it's crazy."

Before making his winning dunk, Mitchell peeled off his Jazz jersey and wore a vintage Carter jersey from the Toronto Raptors.

Mitchell -- three inches shorter than the 6-foot-6 Carter -- needed a score of 47 to beat Nance, and he got a 48 from the five judges: DJ Khaled, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Rock and Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Lisa Leslie.

Nance, who was trying to win the contest 34 years after his father won it, had earned a perfect 50 with a dunk off a double alley-oop off the glass.

Mitchell advanced to the finals with a creative dunk in the first round that used his sister, Jordan, as well as Kevin Hart and the comedian's son as props. For that dunk, Mitchell wore a Darrell Griffith Jazz jersey. Griffith participated in the first slam dunk contest in 1984.

"I appreciate Kevin Hart coming out there and helping me out," Mitchell said. "He's my favorite comedian."

Booker wins 3-point contest with record final round
Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns won the 3-point contest with a record 28 points in the final round. He beat 2016 champion Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors and Tobias Harris of the Los Angeles Clippers.

"It feels really good," Booker said. "I wanted to go out there and make a name for myself."

Did he ever. He was sensational in the final round on Saturday, when he missed only five of 25 shots.

Each player shot five five-ball racks with a one-minute time limit. The final ball of each one was a "money ball" worth two points, and one of the racks, usually the last one, was all money balls. Booker made the money ball shot on his first four racks, and then made four of the five balls on the money ball rack.

Harris, Booker and Thompson advanced from the eight-man field to the finals. Harris scored 17 points before Booker scorched the nets for 28 points. Thompson followed and scored 25 points.

The previous record was 27 points, set by Stephen Curry in 2015 and matched by Thompson the following year.

Booker, the 21-year-old sharpshooter in his third season with Phoenix, is averaging 24.2 points per game this season as the NBA's 12th-leading scorer. Eleven months after the shooting guard dropped 70 points against Boston to become the youngest player in NBA history to score even 60 in a game, Booker added another accolade to his promising career with the 3-Point title.

Thompson beat the buzzer with his final shot of the first round to reach the finals with 19 points. Booker also scored 19 and Harris had 18.

Dinwiddie tops Markkanen in Skills Challenge final 
Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets won the skills challenge to kick off NBA All-Star Saturday.

Dinwiddie, who played at Taft High in the Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, beat Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls in the final round.

The skills competition consisted of two players going head to head. They dribbled around pylons, passed the ball into a net, dribbled to the other end of the floor for a layup and then dribbled back to the other end to take a pull-up 3-pointer.

Eight players started the competition, with Dinwiddie and Markkanen advancing to the final.

Markkanen struggled passing the ball into the net, giving Dinwiddie a big lead. Dinwiddie dribbled down the floor and missed his first 3, but drained the next one to win.

Sixers forget basic element of basketball in Brooklyn

Sixers forget basic element of basketball in Brooklyn


NEW YORK — Here’s one way to lose a game.

“We forgot how to play defense,” Joel Embiid said.

The Sixers on Wednesday dropped their third straight with a 116-108 loss to the Nets as they wrapped up a four-game road trip at Barclays Center (see observations).

It was a matchup the Sixers should have been able to win against a sub-.500 Nets team that had lost four in a row. Instead, the Sixers gave up 27 points to Spencer Dinwiddie and 22 to D’Angelo Russell as the Nets shot 50.6 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from three.

“Defensively, I think that we were poor,” Brett Brown said. “I think we’re third or fourth in the NBA; I like where we’re trending defensively. But tonight you felt like you were 24th.”

The Sixers viewed the eight-point loss as a significant defeat because of the defensive errors. They recognized mistakes they should not have been committing. Brown pointed to over-helping and leaving corners open. Embiid noted missteps in pick-and-rolls.

“Everybody’s got to help each other and I don’t think we’ve been doing that,” Embiid said. “So I guess we’ve got to go back to the drawing board.”

The Sixers led by four after the first quarter and were outscored each quarter after that. The Nets knocked down eight threes in the first half and shot a staggering 61.1 percent from the field in the third.

“They were just too comfortable,” JJ Redick said in his first game back from a left leg injury. “I don’t think at any point in the game they really felt us. … When a team gets confident, it’s tough to sort of turn that spigot off once the water starts running.”

More than halfway through the season, these are matchups the Sixers need to handle to play beyond Game 82. The Nets were 18-33 entering the night. Now the Sixers are back down to .500 (24-24).

“Maybe we’re too cocky,” Embiid suggested, also saying, “That’s a game we’ve got to win. They’re a pretty good team, but I feel like we’re better than them. They got a win tonight, but that’s the type of game we’ve got to get if we want to be a playoff team. At the end of the day, if we’re going to lose these types of games, we don’t deserve to get to the playoffs.”

The Sixers head back to Philadelphia after four games in six nights, having played in San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee and Brooklyn. They won't accept a travel schedule as the reason for losing a game they could have won, not after doing so in this manner.

"Maybe it does [happen at the end of a road trip], but it just can’t," Brown said. "This is the NBA. We leave disappointed. That’s a poor loss. We didn’t guard.”

Sixers-Nets 5 things: On the road vs. a surprisingly hot 16-win team

Sixers-Nets 5 things: On the road vs. a surprisingly hot 16-win team

The Sixers (27-46) close out their five-game road trip against the Brooklyn Nets (16-57) on Tuesday night at the Barclays Center (7:30 p.m./CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports app).

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. End of the road
This road trip has been a mixed bag of performances for the Sixers.

It started with heartbreak as they blew a lead in the second half of an overtime loss to the Orlando Magic. Then the Sixers were physically dominated in a blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder before rebounding with a double-digit win over the Chicago Bulls. Their most recent game resulted in a cold-shooting defeat at the hands of the Indiana Pacers.

The Sixers cap off the road swing against a surprisingly hot Nets squad. Despite still having the NBA's worst record by far, Brooklyn has won three of its last four games. That includes back-to-back victories last week for the first time all season when the Nets beat the Detroit Pistons and Phoenix Suns.

2. Budding duo
The Nets have enjoyed this late-season resurgence thanks mostly to the duo of Jeremy Lin and Brook Lopez.

While Lopez has been his steady self all season, Lin has been hampered by a hamstring injury that limited him to just 28 games. Since he returned at the end of February, however, the Nets are 7-10.

The duo's capability was on full display in the Nets' most recent game, a 107-92 road win over the Atlanta Hawks. Lopez and Lin combined for 42 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the rout.

3. Saric's response
The Sixers have come to expect solid contributions from Dario Saric on a nightly basis, but that didn't materialize in Sunday's loss to the Pacers.

Saric struggled with just nine points on 3 of 15 shooting. The rookie did add 10 rebounds, but his streak of double-digit scoring games came to a halt at 22.

The Sixers will be expecting Saric to play more like the guy who has averaged 19.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists since the All-Star break on Tuesday night.

4. Injuries
Sergio Rodriguez (hamstring) is questionable. Jahlil Okafor (knee), Gerald Henderson (hip), Joel Embiid (knee), Ben Simmons (foot) and Jerryd Bayless (wrist) are out for the Sixers.

Sean Kilpatrick (hamstring) is a game-time decision. Joe Harris (shoulder) is out for the Nets.

5. This and that
• The Sixers have won two straight and four of the last five against the Nets.

• Lin has averaged 16.5 points during his career vs. the Sixers -- his highest mark against any NBA team. That's in addition to 5.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds.

• Richaun Holmes is averaging 13.1 points on 60.5 percent shooting and 6.8 rebounds in March.