Now that he has officially announced that he’ll be defending his slam dunk title at NBA All Star Weekend, it’s time for Zach LaVine to get down to business and prepare some new, flashy moves.

LaVine blew away the competition last year while winning the event as a rookie. He said he thought twice about defending his title, for a couple reasons. First, people will expect even more of him this time around. And, he said, he doesn’t want to be known for just dunking.

Still, the lure to compete in the event was strong.

“It’s going to be hard to up yourself,” he said. “People will expect you to do better. I’ll have to think about some new stuff. It takes a lot of work. You have to do a lot of jumping. There’s not a lot of time.’’

LaVine said he will scout his opposition for sure; he’ll be going up against Denver’s Will Barton, Orlando’s Aaron Gordon and Detroit’s Andre Drummond.

“I’m going to do my homework,” he said. “You can’t go in there blind. You have to get a feel for what everybody brings to the table.’’

Once he has come up with the dunks he plans to use – he said he still has some tricks up his sleeve – he has to decide what order to do them in during the four-dunk event.

“I go with a knockout punch in the first round,” he said. “That’s what I did last year, and that’s what I’m going to do this year also. So I’ll come our hard.’’

Last year LaVine opened the contest that way. Wearing Michael Jordan’s jersey from Space Jam, LaVine opened with a between-the-legs reverse dunk.


--Interim coach Sam Mitchell said Kevin Garnett (knee), Kevin Martin (wrist) and Nikola Pekovic (foot) all missed practice today. Martin is officially listed as questionable, Martin and Garnett doubtful.