Starry 3-Point Contest Recap: Damian Lillard repeats, but could an OKC Thunder guard have stopped him?

2024 NBA All-Star - State Farm All-Star Saturday Night
2024 NBA All-Star - State Farm All-Star Saturday Night / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The Starry 3-Point Contest has become the most exciting and beloved event during NBA All-Star Saturday night, and the league needs to consider making it the final event of the night. The event is a two-round timed event that gives each shooter 70 seconds to shoot as many of the 27 balls as possible.

There are five racks of balls, four contain four standard NBA game balls and one money ball, and the fifth rack contains five money balls. And, back for the fourth consecutive year the long-range ball is back which is located six feet beyond the traditional 3-point line. This year featured an exciting field, including the defending champion, let's take a look at the contestants below:

2024 Starry 3-Point Contest Participants

  • Trae Young - 2023-24 3-point percentage: 42.7 percent
  • Donovan Mitchell - 36.1 percent
  • Tyrese Haliburton - 40.0 percent
  • Malik Beasley - 44.4 percent
  • Karl-Anthony Towns - 43.7 percent
  • Jalen Brunson - 41.1 percent
  • Lauri Markkanen - 40.3 percent
  • Damian Lillard - 34.1 percent

The first round was exciting and resulted in a four-way tie, that led to a shoot-off to determine the three contestants moving on to the championship round, and the first-round results went like this:

Round-one results

  • Trae Young - 26
  • Donovan Mitchell - 21
  • Tyrese Haliburton - 26
  • Malik Beasley - 20
  • Karl-Anthony Towns - 26
  • Jalen Brunson - 24
  • Lauri Markkanen - 25
  • Damian Lillard - 26

Tiebreaker Results

  • Young - 15
  • Towns - 16
  • Haliburton - 12
  • Lillard - 16

The tiebreaker round was done a bit differently than a traditional round, contestants had only 30 seconds to make as many shots as possible, down from 70 seconds, and ultimately Haliburton was eliminated.

Final Round Results

  • Towns - 24
  • Young - 24
  • Lillard - 26

It all came down to the last shot, literally as Towns and Young tied at 24 points a piece, it was shaping up to be yet another shoot-off, but Lillard placed his money ball rack last and hit one final money ball worth two points to give him the walk-off win, to which he did his signature "Dame Time" celebration after becoming the first back-to-back 3-Point contest winner since 2008.

Could a Thunder player have scored more than Lillard's 26?

The OKC Thunder and the LA Clippers rank first and second in 3-Point percentage in the NBA this season, yet neither team had a representative in the Starry 3-Point contest, which is a shame. The Thunder have only had two 3-point contest participants in franchise history, Kevin Durant in 2011 and Paul George in 2018.

It would have been exciting to see Aaron Wiggins who is shooting 51.9 percent from distance or Jalen Williams who is shooting 45.3 percent from beyond the arc representing the Thunder in the event, as both players possess a higher season average than all participants in the event, or even Isaiah Joe, who is shooting 42.7 percent from 3-point territory.

Perhaps next season Thunder Nation will see the Thunder have their third 3-Point Contest participant and the first since the contest was rebranded as the Starry 3-Point Contest.

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