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Steph Curry won his bet — no mediator needed — but he didn’t win NBA 3-point contest

The stakes are high for one Curry following Saturday’s 3-pt competition

Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry and his brother, Seth Curry of the Portland Trail Blazers have a side wager to which will win or do best in the NBA's 3-point competition on Saturday, February 16, 2019. The stakes could be high for the loser.
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Golden State Warriors Stephen Curry and his brother, Seth Curry of the Portland Trail Blazers have a side wager to which will win or do best in the NBA's 3-point competition on Saturday, February 16, 2019. The stakes could be high for the loser.

Steph Curry won the family bet but lost the three-point shooting contest during NBA All-Star Weekend Saturday night in Charlotte.

Curry did make the cut from 10 players down to the three-man final, but was bested there by Brooklyn’s Joe Harris and finished second to the general disappointment of the hometown crowd at the Spectrum Center.

“I would have loved to win,” Curry said. “It came down to one shot that went in and out on the final rack.”

Curry did beat his younger brother Seth, however, who was eliminated in the first round (as was the Charlotte Hornets’ Kemba Walker). Steph and Seth Curry had made a pre-contest bet — the loser would have to buy tickets for their family members every time the two of them played against each other in NBA games from now on.

Steph Curry wasn’t sure if he actually won the bet at first, however.

“I don’t know if there’s a qualifier if the person had to win the entire thing,” he said. “Might have to get a mediator in there.”

No need, said Seth: “A wager’s a wager. I gotta do what I gotta do.”

Before either Curry brother shot, their father Dell Curry entertained the crowd by running through the shooting contest himself. Dell Curry, who ranked as the Charlotte Hornets’ leading scorer when he retired, shot two of the racks. He also recruited three former NBA all-stars — Ray Allen, Mark Price and Glen Rice — to shoot one rack apiece. Dell Curry went 2-for-10 in his attempts in what was a charity fundraiser for Classroom Central.

Dell Curry also said publicly in the pregame that he was rooting for Seth to beat Steph in the contest.

“He’s already won one,” Dell said, pointing at older brother Steph. “I’m trying to get the young fella on the board.”

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Brooklyn’s Joe Harris holds the championship trophy after winning the three-point contest during NBA All-Star Weekend Saturday night. Harris said he practiced a little at the Charlotte 49ers’ facilities due to Ron Sanchez, Charlotte’s head coach and his former assistant coach at Virginia. Chuck Burton AP

Neither Curry would end up winning, however, thanks to Harris’s hot streak. Harris used to be a three-point specialist at Virginia, where one of his assistant coaches was Ron Sanchez. Sanchez is now the Charlotte 49ers’ head coach, so Harris called in a favor.

“He let me come in and practice a little bit,” Harris said of Sanchez.

Out of a potential 34 points — contestants took 16 one-point shots and nine two-point “moneyball shots” in each round — Harris scored 26 points in the final round. He made all five “moneyball” shots from the right corner on his final rack (and did the same thing in the initial round, too, the lesson being you don’t ever want to leave Harris alone in the right corner).

Curry, who had scored a first-round high of 27 points in his initial series of attempts, began his final series of 25 shots knowing that Harris had already posted a score of 26.

Curry started by sinking his first nine shots in a row from the left side during the final round as the crowd roared.

“In the second round, the crowd got going, thinking I was going to run the table,” Curry said. “I did, too.”

Golden State’s Stephen Curry celebrated a streak of six straight made three-pointers during the first round of the NBA’s three-point contest Saturday night. Curry ultimately finished second to Brooklyn’s Joe Harris. Gerry Broome AP

Curry then missed six of his next eight, however.

“If you miss a couple, you start to think a little bit,” Curry said.

Curry ended up needing to go 5-for-5 from the right corner to tie Harris. He went 4-for-5 instead and finished second. Sacramento’s Buddy Hield finished third.

“It’s a tough way to end it, but Joe (Harris) shot the lights out,” Curry said. “It was a great show.”

Walker had an off night, finishing ninth out of 10 competitors in the first round. He gets another chance on Sunday, when he will start in the NBA’s All-Star Game, which caps the weekend.

Harris was almost apologetic about beating Curry in the town where Steph grew up.

“Steph is the greatest shooter of all time,” Harris said. “Shooting off the rack for a minute is not indicative of being a better shooter than Steph Curry. I don’t want anybody to get it twisted at all.”

Sports columnist Scott Fowler has written for the Charlotte Observer since 1994. He has authored or co-authored eight books, including four about the Carolina Panthers. In 2018, Fowler won the Thomas Wolfe award for outstanding newspaper writing. He also is the host of the Observer’s hit podcast “Carruth.”