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King Felix
01-27-2007, 03:15 PM
January 26, 2007
NEW YORK (TICKER) -- Nate Robinson, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade will defend their NBA crowns in Las Vegas.

The three will highlight the All-Star Saturday card at the Thomas & Mack Center on February 17.

The NBA All-Star game will be played in Las Vegas for the first time on February 18.

Robinson, the 5-9 guard of the New York Knicks, won the Slam Dunk Contest as a rookie last season.

Nowitzki, the 7-foot All-Star forward of the Dallas Mavericks, became the tallest winner of the Shootout and Dwyane Wade, the All-Star guard of the Miami Heat, won the Skills Challenge last year in Houston.

Robinson got some help from 5-7 Spud Webb, who 26 years ago stunned the basketball world by winning the Slam Dunk Contest. Standing in the lane, Webb bounced a pass to a charging Robinson, who soared over Webb and put down a one-handed hammer for a perfect score of 50.

Robinson and Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala totaled 94 points in the final round and went to a one-dunk tiebreaker. Robinson required a dozen tosses that included three missed dunks before finally putting home a dunk that began at halfcourt with an underhand toss off the backboard and ended with him putting the ball through his legs before the slam.

Needing a 47 to tie, Iguodala tried a between-the-legs reverse along the baseline, missing one before converting. He came up one point short.

Participants in the 2007 Slam Dunk competition will be announced on February 5.

The last player to win back-to-back Slam Dunk titles was guard Jason Richardson of the Golden State Warriors in 2002 and 2003.

Last year, Nowitzki joined Larry Bird, Glen Rice and Peja Stojakovic as the only forwards to win in the 21-year history of the Shootout. Nowitzki finished with 18 points in the final round, two points better than Gilbert Arenas of Washington and three better than Ray Allen of Seattle.

Wade unseated two-time MVP Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns and defeated LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year's Skills Challenge.

Wade completed the obstacle course in 26.1 seconds, besting James' 33.7-second time. Nash and guard Chris Paul of New Orleans were eliminated in the first round.

The 2007 participants will be announced on Monday.http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=allstarsaturday&prov=st&type=lgns