February 16 (Xinhua) Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks upset defending champion Dwight Howard to win the slam dunk competition Saturday at the NBA All-Star weekend.
The five-foot-nine Robinson leapt over the seven-foot Howard, who stood in front of the basket as his rival soared for a dunk that won over the fans whose votes decided the outcome.
‘Dwight was a great sport letting me dunk over him,’ Robinson, who also won the dunk title in 2006, said of the Orlando Magic center.
Howard had a relatively mediocre final round. He pumped in a one-handed jam after ricocheting it off the side of the backboard, and then threw one down from just inside the free-throw line.
Robinson and Howard moved on to the final after eliminating JR Smith of the Denver Nuggets and Spaniard Rudy Fernandez of the Portland Trail Blazers, the first international competitor in the dunk event’s histor In the Three-Point Shootout, unheralded Miami Heat reserve Daequan Cook had the two highest scores, but it was his round in between that helped him upstage two-time defending champion Jason Kapono of Toronto.
A second-year guard shooting 41 per cent from the arc, Cook fired an 18 in the first round, allowing him to go last in the finals. He struggled early and had to make his last four shots to get to 15, tying Orlando Magic All-Star Rashard Lewis and bumping Kapono (14).
Lewis tired in the tie-breaker round, missing his first 11 shots and finishing with seven points. Cook surpassed that total in his first two racks of balls and posted a 19.
Mike Bibby of Atlanta, Roger Mason Jr. of San Antonio and All-Star Danny Granger of Indiana were eliminated in the first round.