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NBA All-Star Weekend: CJ McCollum Comes Up Short in Skills Competition

McCollum made it to the Skills Challenge semi-finals, but lost to Isaiah Thomas in a clumsy showing.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

CJ McCollum's all-star weekend debut ended prematurely as he was ousted in the second round of the Skills Competition by eventual runner-up Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics. McCollum won his opening round matchup against combo guard Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers. The deciding factor after neither player was able to gain an edge in the chest pass drill (think ski-ball but with a chest pass) was running 96 feet to finish a lay up.

McCollum went up without hesitating while Clarkson pulled up short, unsure of what to do. Instead of playing knockout rules Clarkson treated it like a pre-game lay up line, letting McCollum finish first. This gave McCollum the only edge he needed. He was able to get out, run down court, pull up from the three point line and hit to win the heat.

The second round, featuring McCollum and Thomas, was decided in the first 45 feet.

McCollum turned into a YMCA hooper and forgot how to use his left hand while going through the first obstacle, the slalom. He lost control of the ball and had to recover against Thomas who was clearly out to win it. McCollum struggled for the second time in a row on the chest pass obstacle, using all three attempts before being able to get out on the lay up drill. Thomas, with a large lead, was able to hit his 3-pointer before McCollum was able to hit his lay up.

Minnesota Timberwolves rookie center Karl Anthony-Towns ultimately won the competition, hitting a clutch three to beat Thomas.


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