NBA 3-Point Contest 2014: Player-by-Player Grades, Reaction and Analysis

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IFebruary 15, 2014

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Marco Belinelli is your three-point-contest champion. 

The San Antonio Spurs sharpshooter took advantage of the new rules that allowed players a single rack of all money balls, hitting at least three of those shots in each round to advance to the final, where he beat Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal for the title.

Afterward, he gave his bold strategy for victory, courtesy of Sports Illustrated's Ben Golliver:

Here's a look at the complete results:

2014 3-Point Contest Results and Grades
PlayerTeam1st RoundFinalFinal TiebreakerGrade
Marco BelinelliSan Antonio Spurs191924A
Bradley BealWashington Wizards201918A-
Damian LillardPortland Trail Blazers18B+
Kyrie IrvingCleveland Cavaliers17B+
Kevin LoveMinnesota Timberwolves16B
Steph CurryGolden State Warriors16B
Arron AfflaloOrlando Magic15B-
Joe JohnsonBrooklyn Nets11C-

In a stacked Western Conference group that featured Stephen Curry—easily the most prolific three-point shooter in the league—the 2012 three-point-contest champion in Kevin Love and the most recent NBA Rookie of the Year, Damian Lillard, it was Belinelli who somewhat surprisingly advanced to the final. 

And he did so despite shooting two airballs in the first three racks. Here's a look at his first:

Credit: Bleacher Report

Your three-point champion, everyone. 

Nevertheless, as Grantland's Netw3rk pointed out—with a little help from Kanye West—Belinelli did much of his damage with his money-ball rack, which he put in the final corner:

Beal, meanwhile, logged the best first-round score of the night with 21 when he drained his final shot at the buzzer. 

Advancing to the final was nice and everything, but the real highlight was probably getting mauled by Nelly, who used to walk Beal to school, afterward:

Credit: Bleacher Report

But at the same time, that led to Yahoo Sports' Dan Devine making all of our heads explode with this somewhat amazing revelation: 

In the final, Belinelli repeated his first-round score with a very solid 19. Similarly to his opening-round performance, he started out extremely slow, hitting just four of his first 10 shots. But he heated up as he went along, knocking down five in the fourth rack and three money balls on the final rack for six points. 

Beal seemed to be dead-to-rights when he wasted his money-ball rack and started out slow during his final round, but with his back against the wall, he calmly buried all six shots on his final rack to force a tiebreaker. 

That thrilling finish forced Robert Griffin III to voice his excitement:

But Bello wouldn't be outdone. He came back with a dead-eye 24 points during the tiebreaker, while Beal was only able to notch 18.