James Jones falls short of repeating as 3-point champ

The trophy was there for the taking for James Jones.

With a chance to defend his 3-point contest championship Saturday, Jones needed just a score of 17. Instead, Jones fell just short.

He scored 12 points in the final round, eliminating him from the contest. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love then defeated Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant in the finals tiebreaker to capture the title.

It was Love's first time in the event. Durant, a late addition to the competition, finished second. Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans won the slam dunk contest, winning 29 percent of the fan votes.

"The first round I felt good, the shots were falling, the ball was feeling soft, the rim was looking nice and the shots were going down," Jones said. "In the second round, the shots just didn't want to go down."

The competition ended a week of their Heat teammates being torn between who to cheer. Many of them wavered back and forth before just deciding to root for both.

For Jones, it was a chance to become just the sixth player to win consecutive titles. The last player to do so was former Heat swingman Jason Kapono in 2007-08. Others to win the award in back-to-back years were Mark Price, Larry Bird, Jeff Hornacek, Craig Hodges and Peja Stojakovic.
For a while, it looked like Jones was well on the way to earning a second straight trophy. He won last year's event in Los Angeles, and returned to defend despite Chalmers having a breakout season at the 3-point line. They were just second pair of teammates to participate in the event together, joining Paul Pierce and Ray Allen.

Jones wasted little time captivating the audience at Amway Center. He found his stroke in the first round. After a slow start, he caught fire near the middle. Jones hit his final five baskets, tallying a round-high score of 22.

"That was definitely one of the best first rounds I've seen in a long time," Jones said. "It's just a testament to the quality of shooters in this league."
Jones after the round looked across the floor and yelled at Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, who were sitting courtside. The performance was quickly forgotten when Jones struggled in the second round. He was unable to find a good rhythm, with many of the shots coming up short.

"It's one of those competitions where at the end of the night, you're smiling," Jones said earlier in the weekend. "If you win, if you lose, you're happy, you're humbled to be a participant and you're happy for the guy who wins. At the end of the day, it doesn't determine whether or not you make it to the playoffs."

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