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The Latest: All star teams have light hearted practices in front of Toronto fans


All star teams have light hearted practices in front of Toronto fans

TORONTO _ The Latest on Saturday’s events at the NBA’s All-Star Weekend in Toronto (all times local):

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10:35 p.m.

Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine outlasted Orlando’s Aaron Gordon in an epic final round of the dunk contest, posting four straight perfect 50s to win for the second straight year.

LaVine and Gordon matched each other dunk for dunk for the first two tries in the final round. Then needed two rounds of tie-breakers to decide a winner.

Gordon got a 47 with a Harold Miner-style jackknife dunk on his fourth dunk, which opened the door for LaVine in one of the most memorable competitions in years.

He ended it with a between-the-legs dunk from a step inside the free throw line to become just the fourth player to win back-to-back titles.

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9:35 p.m.

Golden State’s Klay Thompson has dethroned Splash Brother Steph Curry to win the three-point shooting contest at the NBA all-star Saturday night.

Curry made his first seven shots and three of the last four to put up a score of 23. But fellow Warrior Thompson was better, racking up 27 as he hit eight shots in a row in the middle and drained the final rack of money balls as the Air Canada Centre crowd roared.

The other player in the championship round, Phoenix’s Devin Booker, had 16 points.

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9:15 p.m.

Golden State’s “Splash Brothers” duo of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry, along with Phoenix’s Devin Booker are the three finalists in the 3-point contest on All-Star Saturday night.

Booker got his spot after beating Houston’s James Harden and J.J. Redick of the Los Angeles Clippers in a tiebreaker round. Those three all finished with 20 points, and then Booker won the tiebreaker with 12 more points over Redick (9) and Harden (8).

Toronto’s Kyle Lowry (15), Portland’s C.J. McCollum (14), Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton (13) were eliminated before the tiebreaker.

Curry is the defending champion.

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8:35 p.m.

Karl-Anthony Towns showed big men have skills too Saturday night as the seven-footer from the Minnesota Timberwolves beat Boston guard Isaiah Thomas in the NBA skills challenge.

Thomas had the early lead but Towns caught him on their second trip down the court. At the final three-point shot, both men stumbled but Towns made it on his fourth attempt.

The 20-year-old Towns, the first-overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, was mobbed by players after he made the winning shot.

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7:05 p.m.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has offered Oklahoma City assistant coach Monty Williams and his family condolences on the league’s behalf.

Ingrid Williams, the coach’s wife, died earlier this week from injuries suffered in a car crash. She was only 44, and tributes have poured in from players around the league since her passing.

Silver says “the entire NBA family is grieving.”

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6 p.m.

This is CNN… Tower.

NBA TV sportscaster Marv Albert slipped up on Saturday as he incorrectly linked the landmark CN Tower with the Cable News Network headquartered in Atlanta.

“Look at the CNN Tower up here in Toronto” he proclaimed on NBA TV.

The comment sparked a near immediate reaction on social media.

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1 p.m.

Kyle Lowry enlisted teammate DeMar DeRozan’s help for Saturday night’s three-point shootout.

The Toronto Raptors teammates hit the gym at 1 a.m. Saturday, and shot for nearly two hours.

“I was drilling him, make sure he got off all the racks and that did what he had to do, so last night was fun,” DeRozan said after the East team’s practice. “He did well last night, just getting a rhythm, getting a feel for the racks.

“He’s one of the best three-point shooting guards in the league, it’s a credit to his hard work, the way he’s evolved into such a great shooter.”

Lowry, who’s shooting 39 per cent this season from three-point range, said he worked hard on his long-range shooting while playing in Houston.

“When (coach) Rick Adelmann told me I wasn’t going to play if I didn’t shoot the three,” he said, laughing.

Lowry said he was glad for the early-morning practice.

“It’s a lot different, it’s a different mentality, it’s a different type of feel, so it was good for me to get out there and do it,” he said.

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Michael Jordan didn’t attend the “Space Jam” live reading, but he was certainly there in spirit.

Images of a tiny Jordan action figure watching from the audience popped up on social media just as the event got underway at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

The live reading _ which didn’t include the participation of any NBA players _ marked the 20th anniversary of “Space Jam,” which paired Jordan with a cast of Looney Tunes characters on the big screen.

Subbing for the role of Jordan was comedian Hannibal Buress.

“Man, I haven’t seen the movie in a while and there’s some weird stuff in here,” Buress told the audience, according to the TIFF Twitter account.

In the role of Bugs Bunny was former “Bones” actor Joel David Moore, while other parts were played by “Mr. D” actor Mark Little and “Orphan Black” star Kristian Bruun.

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12:25 p.m.

Andre Drummond of the Pistons and Isaiah Thomas of the Celtics opened up during all-star practice Saturday.

Playing a game of Never Have I, the two answered some pretty embarrassing questions, holding up signs that said “I Have” or “I Have Not.”

We can tell you that both have peed in a pool and that the two have had a mani-pedi in the past.

Drummond initially said he had fallen asleep during a team meeting, but thought better of it and flashed the “I Have Not” sign.

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11:15 a.m.

Toronto Raptors Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan took centre court at Ricoh Coliseum before the East team tipped off for practice.

“Have fun,” Lowry told the crowd. “We’re going to put on a little practice for y’all.”

The East went through a light-hearted practice for a packed crowd that included celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri.

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10:40 a.m.

Temperatures in Toronto dropped to -23 degrees Celsius, with windchill making it feel like -35.

The government of Ontario has declared an extreme cold warning for the southern part of the province.

Several reporters noted the cold, with one posting a picture of his frozen glasses to social media.

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10:30 a.m.

Kobe Bryant has gotten one impressive retirement gift from Michael Jordan.

The Jordan Brand gave Bryant a full set of the sneakers released so far in the Air Jordan line _ 30 pairs in all. The gift was presented early Saturday at the Jordan Brand All-Star party, which Bryant attended.

Jordan Brand President Larry Miller says the gift was presented “to honour one of the game’s great players and the legacy that he created.”

Bryant is an 18-time All-Star who is retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers when this season ends. He got the Jordan set in white; the company made an alternate full black set in Bryant’s size 14, and they’re being auctioned off on eBay for charity. The auction starts Saturday at noon Eastern, ending Sunday at the same time.

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A year after Stephen Curry had a record 27 points in the final round of the 3-point contest to beat Golden State Warriors teammate Klay Thompson, the latter is coming in with confidence on All-Star Saturday.

Thompson knows how good Curry is, so he couldn’t have been terribly surprised when he was told during NBA All-Star player interviews that “everyone” thinks Curry is going to win the 3-point contest Saturday night.

It’s not bothering Thompson, though. He says he’s happy to “play the underdog for a night.”

A heavy underdog, at least according to one betting site. Curry was made a 10 to 11 favourite Friday by Bovada, meaning an $11 wager would only pay $10. Kobe Bryant also picked Curry when asked.

The three-point contest takes place between the Skills Challenge and slam dunk contest, but it may be the main event with the Splash Brothers from the NBA champions leading the field.

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1 a.m.

Sunday night’s halftime performer Sting can count Snoop Dogg among his fans.

The West Coast rapper snuck the Police lead singer’s hit song “Roxanne” into an hour-long DJ session early Saturday morning at a bash hosted by Maxim magazine.

He dedicated the track to anyone in the crowd named Roxanne because, he said, there had to be one.

“Where you at Roxanne?” he called out into the crowd.

Nobody claimed the name.

Snoop spun a mix of hip-hop classics from Ginuwine and the Notorious B.I.G. along with some modern hits. Afterwards, former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal took the stage for his own set, performing under the name DJ Diesel.

Among the other celebrities spotted at the event were O’Neal’s cousin and former Def Comedy Jam star Bill Bellamy, Toronto rapper Kardinal Offishall and retired Los Angeles Lakers player Rick Fox.

The Canadian Press

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