A year after Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry captured long-range glory at All-Star Weekend, teammate Klay Thompson took home the 2016 Three-Point Contest crown with a superb showing from beyond the arc Saturday night at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
After posting the best score of the first round with a mark of 22, the pressure was on Thompson to eclipse Curry's final-round score of 23. However, the other Splash Brother went bonkers and delivered a perfect final rack that consisted of five money balls en route to posting a 27.
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Phoenix Suns rookie Devin Booker emerged from a three-man tiebreaker in the first round that included Los Angeles Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick and Houston Rockets shooting guard James Harden, but he couldn't match the outrageous totals Curry and Thompson posted with the trophy on the line.
|2016 NBA 3-Point Shootout Final|
|Player||Round 1 Score||Final-Round Score|
|Source: TNT Broadcast|
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Thompson and Curry became the first pair of teammates to capture back-to-back three-point crowns in contest history.
And as the NBA's official stats website explained on Twitter, Thompson's prolific showing throughout the regular season made him one of the favorites—even if the buzz centered around Curry leading up to the event:
#KlayThompson leads @NBA in catch + shoot 👌's made this season (142) + per game (2.8)! #FootLockerThree https://t.co/9Zs1auuIGl2016-2-13 20:15:11
CSNChicago.com's Vincent Goodwill noted Thompson needed the win Saturday night to avoid the embarrassment of losing to the league's reigning MVP two years in a row:
Vincent Goodwill @vgoodwill
Bang, bang, bang! Klay was not about to lose to his teammate two years in a row2016-2-14 02:25:23
Following his win, Thompson joined Curry as an occupant of some rare Three-Point Contest air, according to ESPN Stats & Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Most points in a 3-Point Contest round: 27 - 2016 #KlayThompson 27 - 2015 #StephenCurry (money ball rack began in 2014)2016-2-14 02:32:48
But before Thompson ran roughshod over the competition in the final round, he set the pace out of the gate thanks to a late flurry of buckets as the first shooter of the night:
If last year didn't make it clear that the Warriors are the NBA's pre-eminent three-point shooting team, Thompson's performance Saturday evening confirmed it in a big way.
Booker, Harden and Redick put forth solid showings as they attempted to unseat Golden State from its throne atop the long-range efficiency charts, but Thompson was too lethal while wielding the NBA's most aesthetically pleasing stroke.
As long as at least one of the Splash Brothers continues to participate in the flick-of-the-wrist competition, three-point superiority will likely run through the Bay Area.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Rusty Simmons, Saturday may have been Curry's final time competing in the three-point contest:
Rusty Simmons @Rusty_SFChron
Stephen Curry said this was probably his last three-point competition. "Thanks to Klay for knocking me off my perch."2016-2-14 02:38:20
"It is exciting, just coming back to Oakland (with the title)," Thompson said, per Simmons. "Back-to-back years for the "Splash Brothers" is pretty cool."
"We love to shoot against each other," Thompson added, according to the Associated Press (via CSNBayArea.com). "You know, I've never been on a team with someone who shoots it better than me, so it's a privilege to work with him every day. He makes me that much better."