Jalen Brunson and Jacob Toppin may not have taken home any hardware but they kept the Knicks well-represented at the All-Star Weekend.

The 2024 All-Star weekend was full of fun, anticipation and excitement. Considering that this was Jalen Brunson’s first appearance as an All-Star, New York Knicks fans had a lot to look forward to. It was also Jacob Toppin’s first participation in the All-Star weekend. He was one of four participants in the dunk contest.

Brunson and the Three-Point Contest

Brunson participated in this year’s three-point contest alongside Malik Beasley, Tyrese Haliburton, Damian Lillard, Lauri Markkanen, Donovan Mitchell, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Trae Young.

In the first round, the four participants who advanced to the second round all tied for 26 points. Unfortunately, Brunson was not one of them, getting eliminated early after scoring 24 points in the first round. Other players who were also eliminated in the first round included: Markkanen (25 points), Mitchell (21 points), and Beasley (20 points) as Haliburton, Lillard, KAT, and Young advanced.

In the second round, three players tied at 16 points, advancing them to the final round: Lillard, KAT, and Young, with Haliburton eliminated.

In the final round, both KAT and Young tied for 24 points. That’s where Dame Time came in, dominating the contest with 26 points in the last round. Lillard became a repeat champion in the three-point contest after also winning last year’s competition.

Although Brunson was not able to advance far in the three-point contest, it was clear that he was having a lot of fun out there. 

Toppin and the Dunk Contest

The dunk contest consisted of three other players aside from Toppin: Jaylen Brown, Jaime Jaquez Jr., and G-League legend Mac McClung (2023 Dunk Contest reigning champion).

In the first round, participants’ first dunks were laid out as such. Jaime impressively jumped over Shaq (who was standing at seven-foot-one) for a one-handed slam dunk with a score of 47.4. After Jaime, Jacob was up next. Jacob brought his brother and former Knick, Obi Toppin, on the court for his first dunk. He went ahead and jumped over Obi for a behind-the-head two-handed slam dunk. His first dunk earned him 48.0 points from the judges.

Brown was called up next, receiving 48.8 points for a two-handed wind-mill dunk coupled with a right-handed slam at the end. The last player to dunk was of course McClung, who jumped over an individual, tossed it to himself mid-air, and dunked it all at once. McClung was rated at 48.0 points for his first dunk.

As for the participants’ second dunks, Jaime started it out by throwing himself a 180-degree, two-handed alley-oop while rocking a backward hat. This landed him at 46.8 points. As for Toppin, he went ahead and performed a very difficult, but successful and admirable dunk. His dunk consisted of a 360-degree between-the-legs, two-handed dunk.

This only earned him 47.2 points, which was put up for incredible debate all over social media. Many, including Knicks teammate Brunson, disputed the fact that he deserved a much higher score. McClung then stepped up and performed a windmill mid-air, which was followed by a behind-the-head dunk after twisting his body to the side. McClung received 49.4 points for his second dunk. Brown was last, jumping over a sitting Youtuber, Kai Cenat, who was only sitting at five-foot-three. Brown caught the ball with both his hands then slammed it with his right, only being able to close his eyes once he finished the dunk and covered his face with his left arm. This brought him to 47.6 points. Some would call this the heist of the century.

Overall, in the first round, McClung earned himself first place with a total of 97.4 points. Brown was placed second with a total of 96.4 points. Toppin, who was good for third place, earned a total of 95.0 points. And Jaime fell in last place with a total of 94.2 points.

Unfortunately, this meant that Toppin was unable to advance to the last round. Nonetheless, many argued that Toppin was much more deserving of the final round rather than Brown’s dunks. However, having a Knicks player participating in an All-Star event is always a pleasant thing to see in the eyes of Knicks fans.

McClung and Brown headed to the final round against each other. In the end, McClung received a total of 98.8 points for both his dunks, and Brown, just short of McClung, lost with a total of 97.8 points. And so, with this, McClung became a back-to-back champion of the dunk contest once again in 2024.

Brunson and the All-Star game

The East and West went head-to-head last night with the final score of 211-186, the East dominating the West and posting the first-ever game where a team surpassed 200 points.

In the first quarter, Brunson checked in with over three minutes remaining. He missed his first two attempted threes, but this was only the start of him warming up. The East led the first quarter 53-47 over the West.

In the second quarter, JB knocked down his first three with three minutes in. He also picked up three assists and three rebounds here before checking out. The East led 104-89 over the West before halftime.

In the third quarter, although the West were careless with their defense, the East led by 24 points (160-136).

In the final quarter, JB checked back in right at the start of the fourth and showed out the most here. With ten minutes remaining in regulation, he banked back-to-back shots, one inside the key and the other during a fast-break situation. With eight minutes remaining, JB entered with double-figures in the game by connecting on a corner catch-and-shoot three-point bucket. Halfway into the fourth, JB gets up high and hangs onto the rim after an emphatic slam dunk. Brunson added nine points more, two assists, and one rebound before checking out for the last time in this year’s ASG, ending the night with 12 points, five assists and four boards.

Damian Lillard was named this year’s winner of the Kobe Bryant MVP award. He posted a total of 39 points, six assists, and three rebounds, the second-highest points total of the night behind Karl-Anthony Towns’ 50-point explosion off the bench.

All in all, I would say this was a pretty successful and fun first All-Star experience for both Jalen Brunson and Jacob Toppin. Hopefully next year the Knicks will be even better represented.

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