started slowly, but caught fire late to win the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. (Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)
After a rare third round in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, Spurs guard Marco Belinelli bested Wizards guard Bradley Beal to take home the trophy and a second All-Star Saturday event for the Western Conference. Beal gave the contest a touch of drama, though, by hitting his last five shots -- two of which were 'money balls' -- in the second round to match Belinelli's score (19) and force a tiebreaker. From there Beal just couldn't keep up. Belinelli started a bit slow but caught fire late, hitting eight of his last 10 shots to put up a contest-winning 24 points.
That score ties the third-best in three-point contest history, though changes to the rules in this year's contest add an asterisk to any scores produced. Unlike in previous years, 2014 contestants were allowed to replace one of the five standard ball racks with one entirely filled with money balls -- red, gold, and blue balls worth two points instead of one. In total, that allowed participants to score up to four more total points than in previous seasons, making it a bit unfair to compare Belinelli's score to previous records outright.
Belinelli (44.8) and Beal (43.0) had the highest three-point shooting percentages of any of the contest's participants, and with those marks rank as fifth and ninth in the league, respectively. Their collision course in a tiebreaking final was almost upset early, though, as Belinelli airballed two attempts on his first-round run and only managed to secure a place in the next round by hitting three of five on the all-money ball rack. According to Bovada, Belinelli had the second-lowest odds of winning the contest, favorable only to Brooklyn's Joe Johnson.
After the contest, Spurs forward Boris Diaw ribbed his teammate on Twitter:
There is no official word as to whether Belinelli's opponents lost on account of his distracting footwear:
Marco Belinelli took full advantage of the NBA's lax regulation of All-Star footwear. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
In the first round, the competitors scored as follows:
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves - 16
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers - 18
Marco Belinelli, San Antonio Spurs - 19
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors - 16
Joe Johnson, Brooklyn Nets - 11
Arron Afflalo, Orlando Magic - 15
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards - 21
Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers - 17
Belinelli and Beal then tied at 19 apiece in what was supposed to be the final round, before Belinelli won 24-17 in the tiebreaker.