With Wesley Matthews set to compete in the Three-Point Contest at the NBA All-Star 2017, it’s as good a time as any to look back on a performance from the contest’s and Mavericks’ past.
In 2006, The Bayou City, or swamp if you prefer, played host to the NBA All-Star Game. As the league’s premier players gathered in Houston, they were joined by two players from the Dallas Mavericks: Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry. Nowitzki was there to play in the All-Star Game on Sunday, but he also took center stage, along with Terry, in the Saturday night Three-Point Contest.
This was the third time Nowitzki competed in the contest. Previously, he took second and third place in 2000 and 2001 respectively, falling short of winners Jeff Hornacek and Ray Allen. But this time would be different.
The rest of the field in ‘06 included Allen, Gilbert Arenas, Chauncey Billups, and Quentin Richardson. It was a who’s who of mid-2000s shooters. In fact, it’s kind of surprising that both Terry and Nowitzki are still in the league. None of that year’s other competitors are.
As the shootout got underway, Terry was knocked out early, connecting on only 13 of a possible 25 three-balls in the first round. Nowitzki didn’t fare much better but advanced by the skin of his teeth with a score of 14, tied with Arenas for second place.
Nowitzki must have used the first round as a warmup because he came out blazing in the second, making eight of his first 10 shots. He finished 15 of 25.
Those 15 made shots equated to 18 points for the Big German. And when everything was said and done, 18 was his lucky number, paving the way to victory over Arenas and Allen who scored 16 and 15 points, respectively.
Finally, Nowitzki was the three-point champion, and a historic one at that: he’s the only seven footer to win the competition.
Dirk competed in the contest two more times, in 2007 and 2008, but never advanced past the first round. Jason Kapono (remember him?) took the crown both of those years.
Matthews will be the first Mavericks player since Nowitzki to compete in the contest. I didn’t get a chance to ask either if they’ve discussed strategy heading into the weekend, but I assume that Nowitzki gave Matthews a few pointers and will be pulling for him Saturday night...that is if the beach he’s on has cable.