All-Star Saturday Night started off with a bang as Bam Adebayo edged Domantas Sabonis in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. In the bigs vs. guards format, the guards were all eliminated in the first round, with Adebayo, Pascal Siakam, and Khris Middleton defeating Spencer Dinwiddie, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, and Patrick Beverley en route to the semifinals.
In the final matchup of the first round, the Indiana Pacers big took on defending champion Jayson Tatum. Sabonis succeed on the passing drill over Tatum, but had to make up ground after losing the ball on a dunk. Sabonis recovered, getting off the first three point shot. He missed, as did Tatum. Sabonis hit his second to top Tatum, advancing to the semis to face Middleton.
On the other side of the bracket, Adebayo defeated Siakam to advance to the finals, awaiting the winner of Sabonis and Middleton. Both players completed their first pass, but Middleton lost the handle when dribbling full court, giving Sabonis the advantage at the three point line.
Sabonis missed, so too did Middleton, as they went back and forth. After knocking away each other’s potential game winner, Sabonis’s quick trigger pulled out the W on his fourth attempt, setting up a finals matchup with Adebayo.
With both the Pacers and Miami Heat represented in the final matchup, Dwyane Wade and Reggie Miller set a dinner wager on the outcome of the final. Both players were perfect through the first three segments of the course, but Adebayo raced out to an edge heading into the three point shooting portion.
Both players missed their first two, but on the same release, Adebayo’s three went as Sabonis’s attempt went just right, giving Adebayo the Skills Challenge victory.
Though Sabonis fell short, he showed well, getting Reggie excited for the final matchup, crowning Indiana as the best state in the process (but of course!). Sabonis as well was relishing in the moment, grinning ear to ear throughout the entire competition. Though that’s the end of his night, he’ll be back in action tomorrow night when he and Adebayo make their All-Star debuts in the All-Star Game.