Ryan Anderson was on pace to advance to the final round of the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest. He was flinging and swishing 3-pointers like he is used to in the Amway Center.
His last rack though was just a bit short.
Anderson hit just two shots on the final rack from the corner and that final shot, his last money ball was the only one he missed.
"I knew I needed that one," Anderson said. "That was the make or break one."
The shot hit off the side of the rim from the left corner, and Anderson fell a point short from reaching the tiebreaker with Mario Chalmers and Kevin Love for a spot in the final round of the Three-Point Contest.
Kevin Love went on to win the contest, needing a tiebreaker against Kevin Durant in the final. A power forward won the contest... just not the one everyone expected.
"First of all, I'd like to say I apologize to the Orlando community for not bringing home the W," Anderson said with tongue firmly planted in cheek. "But have scores ever been that high in the first round. everybody was draining them. Great shooters. The competition was a lot of fun, I just had a lot of fun. I hope everyone had fun watching."
Anderson said he spent some time practicing and preparing and scored 24 in a test run in warmup. Of course, there he did not hit any of his money-ball shots. In the real thing, Anderson could not miss the money ball but could not string together enough shots or get into a rhythm enough to pull ahead.
In the end, as Anderson said, "It was the money ball that killed" him.
Still, Anderson had a lot of points to make up. Mario Chalmers opened the competition up with a solid 18, usually enough to get to the second round. Saturday, it barely got him there as he was eliminated in a tiebreaker with Kevin Love (the eventual champion). As they say, you have to make shots to win... and sometimes you just are not making shots.
For Anderson, it was a lot of worry for such a short time. And it was a lot of fun, as Anderson was happy to "pretend" his first attempt did not fly the rim. I am willing to say it grazed the rim.
"It was honestly the longest minute of my life I think," Anderson said. "It was funny just so much preparation and so much thought into just a minute. I'm glad I did it, I'm glad I know what it's like. You're thinking and guessing in your head what's something is like. And ultimately it was just a minute long of just shooting. That's what it came down to. It was just a fun thing."
Anderson said he would gladly do it again and go through the "surreal" experience again and soak it up on the sidelines.
Of course, Anderson was not the only Magic player competing.
All-Star Saturday Night got off to a rough start for the hosts. WNBA star (not really, sorry) Marie Ferdinand-Harris struggled to hit her mid-range jumper, needed three attempts to finally put the ball through. Jameer Nelson and Dennis Scott could not make up the time as Nelson struggled to his his top of the key 3-pointer.
There was no luck for Jameer, Dennis and Marie on the halfcourt shot. Team Orlando finished in last place with a time of 1:04 and were eliminated in the first round.
"We're out there shoting, having fun, out competing. Just one thing is out there meeting people you have never met before and be around them and see how they really are as people. We did well shooting shots, we just have to make our half-court shot better. It's tough."
Nelson said, he was going to shoot underhand if he had another one. Luckily he made the shot after that eighth attempt from half court.
The Shooting Stars competition, in case you did not know, is a contest that has one WNBA player, one current NBA player and one NBA legend shooting from various locations on the floor, ending with that half-court shot.
Orlando, quite simply, did not make the shots. You lose shooting competitions when you don't make shots. Team New York did, hitting four of its first five shots on the six-spot competition. Team New York defeated Team Houston -- Chandler Parsons, Kenny Smith and Sophia Young -- in the finals with a time of 37.3 seconds.
Ryan Anderson is next up in the 3-point shootout later tonight.