Pacer Fans Rejoice: PG's in the Dunk Contest, Not the Three-Point Shootout

We've all heard of the Madden Curse. Some have claimed there's a Home-Run Derby curse. For nearly a century, there was the ubiquitous "Curse of the Bambino," and Cubs fans supposedly suffer from their own curse regarding something about a foul odor and a Billy Goat. But what about the curse of the NBA 3-point shootout? Well, people are talking, and it appears that stats are backing up the idea that long-range bombers during all-star weekend are prime candidates for second-half season shooting slumps. Jared Diamond of the online Wall Street Journal did some digging, and here's part of what he found (this article was written in 2011, so it does not reflect data from last season's winner, James Jones):

Over the past 10 seasons, winning the 3-point shootout has been a harbinger of doom. During that span, the contest champion shot an average of 7.24 percentage points worse from behind the arc after the All-Star break than before it.

The last four winners--Paul Pierce in 2010, Daquean Cook in 2009, and Jason Kapono in 2008 and 2007---saw their 3-point shooting splits fall an averageof 13.13 percentage points after the break.

How is this relevant to the Kingdom of Blue and Gold? Well, for much of the year Paul George was considered a solid candidate for All-Star weekend's shooting extravaganza. He was often seen in the league's top-10 for 3PT%, an impressive stat considering close to half of his field-goal attempts have been from behind the arc. His prospects of 3-point shootout involvement came to a head in Dallas, when he almost singlehandedly beat the defending champs on the road by hitting seven threes. It was the most impressive Pacer 3-point barrage since the days of Reggie.

Then the five-game losing streak happened. Throughout the streak, PG shot a paltry 21% from three, essentially eliminating him as a viable 3-point shootout candidate. If there's one positive aspect of losing five in a row, it just may be the fact that PG no longer has to stare down All-Star weekend's most cursed event, and its potential repercussions. Instead, he gets to focus on outshining a truly bleak cast of dunk-contest participants. Well, I suppose it can only be as bleak as Jeremy Lin's forced involvement will allow, but if one man can smack down on Linning Time, it could be the long-armed, smooth floating athlete representing the Blue and Gold.

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