John Wall leads Eastern Conference to 2014 Slam Dunk Contest title
NEW ORLEANS -- John Wall, Paul George and Terrence Ross of the Eastern conference won the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest, prevailing over the Western conference at the Smoothie King Center on Saturday. Wall was named "Dunker of the Night" as voted on by fans.
The Wizards' All-Star guard provided the highlight of the night when he jumped over the Wizards' mascot, G-Man, who held a ball over his head. Wall retrieved the ball, double-clutched and then threw down a two-handed reverse dunk that brought the crowd to its feet.
That dunk lifted Wall past Ben McLemore, giving the East a clean 3-0 sweep in the "Battle" round of the contest's new format. Previously, Terrence Ross defeated Damian Lillard with an assist from rapper Drake, while Paul George defeated Harrison Barnes.
George had the night's second best dunk, as he threw down a 360 dunk, spinning clockwise and moving the ball through his legs before finishing a right-handed windmill slam.
The contest was full of props and assistants. In addition to G-Man and Drake, McLemore came out onto the court wearning a king's outfit and was aided by Shaquille O'Neal, who sat on a throne in the paint as McLemore dunked over him.
NBA legends Julius Erving, Magic Johnson and Dominique Wilkins served as judges for the contest, but they did not hand out 1-to-10 grades as in years past. Instead, they voted to determine which conference and player prevailed in each round.
The East also beat the West in the contest's opening "Freestyle" round, as the three players combined on an off-the-backboard, off-the-shot-clock, alley-oop combination that George finished with a thunderous slam.
Unfortunately, under the Dunk Contest's new format, Wall, George and Ross were unable to go head-to-head to crown an individual champion because both were on the Eastern Conference squad. Once Wall's slam knocked out McLemore, the contest came to an abrupt end.