Detroit Wins Shooting Stars
Team Detroit – featuring Pistons All-Star guard Chauncey Billups, Detroit Shock forward Swin Cash and former Pistons center and current Detroit Shock head coach Bill Laimbeer –won the Haier Shooting Stars competition by default Saturday night in Las Vegas when Team Chicago was disqualified for shooting out of order.
Each team features one current NBA player, one current WNBA player and one NBA legend. There are six numbered shooting locations of increasing difficulty, with each team attempting to make all shots in numeric order in the fastest time. Teams have up to two minutes to complete the entire shooting course and the team that completes all six shots in the least amount of time is declared the winner.
Team Chicago – the Bulls’ Ben Gordon, the Sky’s Candice Dupree and Bulls legend Scottie Pippen – had the fastest time in the first round (48.9), followed by Detroit in 1:06.
Detroit went first in the finals, finishing in a much-improved 50.5 seconds. Chicago appeared to have won it when they completed the course around 47 or 48 seconds. Video replay however showed that Gordon shot from his second location on the left side of the court simultaneously with Dupree, who was on the right baseline and had to make her shot before Gordon should have proceeded.
“The controversy was the rule is, like if you're shooting, the next person can't shoot, they can't even touch the ball until the other person makes the shot,” Billups said. “She picked up the ball to shoot and he picked up to shoot at the same time. One of the balls went in, we just don't know which.”
While Pippen said he was preparing to shoot from midcourt and didn’t see it, Gordon admitted on ESPN Radio afterward that had gotten ahead of himself.
“Everybody noticed it. They kept going and playing off,” Cash said. “We were waiting for them to finish so we could state our complaint.”
When Detroit was declared the winner, some of the fans at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas booed – a familiar sound for the former Bad Boy, Laimbeer.
“I'm going to try to figure out how we're in Vegas and getting booed,” Cash said. “And I look to my left and it's all about Bill. Chauncey and I are very likable. But for some reason they just hate Bill. And he has a theory that it's because all the Laker fans are here.”
“It’s true,” Laimbeer said.
The two top teams from the 2006 Shooting Stars competition, defending champion Team San Antonio and runner-up Team Los Angeles, did not make the finals.
Team San Antonio consisted of All-Star Tony Parker, Silver Stars forward Kendra Wecker and Hall of Famer George Gervin. Team Los Angeles was Lakers guard Smush Parker, the Sparks’ Temeka Johnson and five-time NBA champion with the Lakers, Michael Cooper.
The Haier Shooting Stars contest was the opening act of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night presented by EA Sports™, which featured the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, Sprite Slam Dunk and Playstation® Skills Challenge.
Click here to read a recap of each of Saturday's events.