Joe Harris takes 3-point crown, Smith flames out in dunk contest – New York Post

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Another boon for the best basketball team in New York.

Before Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. lost in the Slam-Dunk contest, Nets sharpshooter Joe Harris outdueled Stephen Curry in the final round to become the first Net to ever win Saturday’s All-Star Weekend 3-point shooting contest.

In the championship round, Harris, in his fifth season after taking a roller-coaster ride to a solid role on the Nets, scored a 27, hitting his final seven 3-balls at the stunned Spectrum Center.

Meanwhile, Curry, the hometown kid out of nearby Davidson College whose father starred for Charlotte, got cold down the stretch after sinking his first nine attempts.

Smith made the finals of the dunk contest but lost out to Queens product Hamidou Diallo, missing 9 of 10 dunk attempts in the final round. Smith scored two perfect 50 dunks, including using his famous rapper friend J. Cole to toss a lob. He also used Curry and Dwyane Wade as props.

But in the end, Diallo was better, jumping over Shaquille O’Neal for one beauty and then another rapper Quavo to defeat a tiring Smith.

On the first dunk of the final round, Smith failed badly at a 360, between the legs. He missed all five attempts, essentially costing him the title.

“I wanted to win it yeah – disappointed,’’ Smith told The Post. “I couldn’t get control of the ball. It kept slipping out of my hand.’’

Harris, who beat out a nine-man field, was more impressive than Smith. Harris called Curry’s erratic finale at the end “a stroke of luck’’ for him.

“It’s incredible,’’ Harris said. “Steph is the best 3-point shooter of all time. Again, shooting off the rack for a minute is not indicative of being a better shooter than Curry. I don’t want anybody to get it twisted. He’s won this thing. He’s participated a number of times. For me to come in my first time and to win, it’s a surreal experience.’’

It’s also indicative of the Nets’ rise into a playoff spot as sixth seed while their geographical rival is the sad sack of the league.

Nets point guard D’Angelo Russell will participate in the main event and was on hand cheering on his relatively anonymous role-playing teammate. They chatted before the final round.

“He just dabbed me and said he had my back,’’ Harris said. “He was probably the only one over there who thought I was going to win. He’s the point guard leader of our team and I rely on him a lot to get shots in a game. It was nice for him to see me stand still and shoot off a rack.’’

Regarding his rise this season, Harris said, “Some guys take longer than others.’’

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