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Suns’ Goran Dragic knocked out of All-Star Skills Challenge in Round 1

Goran Dragic always plays with intensity. Even when he’s featured in a for-fun skills exhibition, apparently.

On Saturday, the Phoenix Suns guard participated in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge in New Orleans, La., as part of the NBA’s All-Star Weekend and, despite his best efforts, he was knocked out of the competition in the first round.

The challenge was set up to feature two teams from the Eastern Conference and two from the Western Conference, with one from each conference advancing to the final.

The East paired rookies Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo with one another along with Giannis Antetokounmpo and DeMar DeRozan as its second tandem.

The West, meanwhile, put defending skills challenge champion Damian Lillard with Trey Burke and Dragic with Reggie Jackson.

The competition spans the entire court, with both members of the team having to score a lay-in bucket, dribble through three obstacles, chest-pass a ball through a tire and hit a three-point shot at the top of the key.

Dragic’s team went third in the competition and logged the best time of the event to that point, but they were ultimately outdone by Lillard and Burke. Dragic and Jackson logged a time of 42.3 seconds while Lillard and Burke finished at 40.5 in the first round.

Both Dragic and Jackson missed their first three-point attempts, but the Oklahoma City guard’s seemingly lackadaisical effort proved the most costly, as pointed out by television analyst Reggie Miller. Dragic showed no such lack of urgency, putting forth his signature hustle throughout the competition.

Lillard and Burke won the final round of the event, as well, with a time of 45.2 seconds.