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Curry, LaVine top highlights of NBA All-Star break

Kevin Lucena

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Assistant sports editor Kevin Lucena. Photo credit: Trevor Ryan

Stephen Curry’s magical season continued during the NBA All-Star weekend in New York.

Curry put on a record-setting performance en route to winning the NBA three-point shooting contest.

He went up against a field that included top scorers and record-breakers in shootout that turned out to be the highlight of the weekend.

Joining Curry — who went for 23 points in the first round — in the final was fellow Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson and former shootout champion and 2014 All-Star game MVP Kyrie Irving.

Once in the final, Curry caught fire, scoring 27 out of a possible 34 points, including hitting 13 straight — both of which were shootout records.

Irving went first, but he only managed 18 points in the final. Curry’s fellow splash brother Thompson could only manage 14 in his final turn.

If Curry’s performance in the shootout got the crowd rocking, then 19-year-old Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Zach LaVine blew the lid off of Barclays Center with his domination of the slam dunk contest.

After a few mediocre years for the dunk contest, LaVine may have single-handedly brought the contest back to life.

LaVine, whose reaction to being drafted by the Timberwolves on live TV I’ll never forget, was relatively unknown to most fans before the contest.

Yet anyone who had heard of LaVine when he was at UCLA knew he could jump out of the building.

“I just wanted to come out with a bang,” LaVine said, “I tried to get 50 on every dunk.”

The rookie didn’t quite pull off the latter, but he finished with 194 out of a possible 200 points.

He sure as hell nailed the first one.

In a video clip aired prior to the competition, LaVine mentioned Michael Jordan’s movie “Space Jam” and how he was trying to do every dunk in the movie.

Turns out that wasn’t just a story. LaVine came to the court for his first dunk backed by the Quad City DJs, who performed their original theme song from “Space Jam.”

LaVine then ripped off his warmups to reveal a Jordan “Tune Squad” jersey before throwing down an off-the-bounce, between-the-legs, one-handed reverse.

On Sunday, the actual All-Star game was held, which was won by the Western Conference 163-158 over the Eastern.

Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook poured in 41 points, during which he hit his head on the backboard slamming home an alley-oop, before being named the game’s MVP.

If only someone could get Major League Baseball to listen to how unimportant these All-Star games really are.

For the past nine years, baseball has dictated that the winner of the All-Star game determines home field advantage for the World Series.

What a stupid way to decide something so influential about a championship series.

Last year, the Giants and Royals met in the World Series, and Kansas City held home field advantage.

The two teams had combined to send two players to the All-Star game that year, and that’s only because MLB has another random rule that requires each team to send one player.

MLB should take a lesson from the NBA and get the All-Star break back to all about home runs and not the World Series. Give me skills competitions over these non-competitive All-Star games any day.

Kevin Lucena can be reached at [email protected] or @klucena824 on Twitter.

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Curry, LaVine top highlights of NBA All-Star break