NBA HORSE Challenge results: Chris Paul upset; Chauncey Billups, Mike Conley, Zach LaVine all reach semis

Without actual games to look forward to for the foreseeable future, the NBA has turned to alternate forms of competition during the coronavirus quarantine. After putting together an NBA 2K players-only tournament, the next event was a HORSE Challenge consisting of current and former NBA and WNBA players, which tipped off on Sunday evening. 

Chauncey Billups came back from an H-O-R deficit to defeat Trae Young in the first game, then Mike Conley -- shooting inside a pro-style gym -- easily cruised past Tamika Catchings. Up next, Zach LaVine used his athleticism and trickery to take down Paul Pierce, while Allie Quigley scored an upset over Chris Paul. 

Each player took their shots from their own respective and isolated homecourts. While holding the contest remotely was necessary, it may have prevented some star players from participating. Giannis Antetokounmpo, for example, said recently he doesn't have access to a hoop at his house. 

Kudos to the NBA for continuing to try to bring entertainment to the masses during what is an extremely tough time. Obviously everyone would rather be watching real games right now, but that's simply not possible. Putting together an actual athletic competition involving players is the next-best thing, and will serve as a solid distraction for the millions of people forced to remain in their homes in order to help curb the spread of COVID-19. 

The HORSE Challenge will help more than sports-starved fans as State Farm plans to donate more than $200,000 on behalf of the participants to charities focused on coronavirus response efforts. Here are some key takeaways from Sunday's action:

Competition, at last

It's now been over a month since the NBA suspended the season, and that's a long time to go without any new form of competition, especially when it's supposed to playoff time. Now obviously a HORSE tournament isn't the same as real games, but it's definitely better than nothing. 

The process was a bit strange to get used to, but it was nice to watch a live contest between some of the best athletes in the world and to get to do it collectively. One of the best aspects of live sports is that everyone is enjoying it in real-time, and it creates a connection between friends, family and even strangers online. 

Getting a little taste of that back in our lives was a nice change from the normal day-to-day dread of a deadly pandemic. 

Conley gets an unfair advantage

Everyone who loves basketball grew up playing HORSE, or some variation of this classic game. But no matter the word you ended up choosing to spell out, or where you played, be it the park, the driveway or the street, one constant was that you were outside. HORSE is an outdoor game, and it always has been.

So it was a bit of a shock when they moved to the second game of the night, and there's Mike Conley standing in a beautiful, state of the art, pro-style gym, which was apparently attached to his house. Now, obviously that's sick, and everyone wishes they could have that kind of setup too, but that's not where you're supposed to play HORSE. 

There needs to be fences and garages getting in the way, cracked concrete creating spots for shots, wind blowing around and sun in your eyes. It's just not a real HORSE game if those elements aren't part of the deal. Unfortunately for Tamika Catchings, she was playing by those rules on her freezing driveway in Indianapolis and was quickly eliminated. 

Conley might cruise to the title if he gets to keep playing inside his cozy gym while everyone else is outside.

CP3 makes the shot of the night but loses in an upset

One of the disappointing aspects of the competition, at least in some of the early games, is that there weren't a lot of HORSE style shots going on. The whole point of the game is to try and trip up your opponent with weird shots you would never take in a game, but instead, there were a lot of pretty generic jumpers or runners getting thrown up. 

In game No. 3, Zach LaVine started upping the ante, and Paul Pierce paid the price, but Chris Paul really brought out the tricks in the shot of the night. Heading to the free throw line, he turned his back to the basket and balanced on one leg. Then he reached back and grabbed his other leg as if to stretch his quad. From there, he turned and shot it with one hand. Nothing but net. 

Allie Quigley didn't even come close on that tricky one, but she did score the major upset, taking down the 10-time NBA All-Star. Quigley had the second-worst odds to take home the title coming into the competition, but her pure shooting helped her advance to the semis and set up an all-Chicago matchup against Zach LaVine. 


Here's how to watch the semis and final, including a list of the matchups and the competition rules.  

NBA HORSE Challenge Semifinal, Final

  • When: Thursday, April 16, 9 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN | Live Stream: ESPN app

Semifinal matchups

  • Chauncey Billups vs. Mike Conley
  • Zach LaVine vs. Allie Quigley

Final

  • TBD

Opening-round results

  • Chauncey Billups defeated Trae Young 
  • Mike Conley defeated Tamika Catchings
  • Zach LaVine defeated Paul Pierce
  • Allie Quigley defeated Chris Paul
Live updates
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Well that's all for tonight.

Chauncey Billups defeats Trae Young
Mike Conley defeats Tamika Catchings Zach LaVine defeats Paul Pierce Allie Quigley defeats Chris Paul

April 13, 2020, 1:01 AM
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Quigley chooses a free throw banker and easily makes it. CP3 needs this or it's over...........it rims out! Quigley is moving on. Great game

April 13, 2020, 12:57 AM
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Now CP3 goes for an underhand flip shot but it's short

April 13, 2020, 12:56 AM
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Quigley calls out a bank shot from the right wing and it bounces out. CP3 in control now. He says a one-hand, right leg free throw and its nothing but net. So is Quigley as she matches him

April 13, 2020, 12:56 AM
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Quigley takes things out to the 3 point line and drains one from the wing. Chris to stay alive........... cash. He's been clutch

April 13, 2020, 12:54 AM
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CP3's son gives him a suggestion but it doesn't work. Now Quigley has a chance to close it out. She chooses a behind the backboard shot. Chris needs this to stay alive........... clutch!

April 13, 2020, 12:53 AM
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Chris with a little runner all net and Quigley can't match it. She has R now

April 13, 2020, 12:53 AM
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CP3 goes back behind the backboard and finally makes that one. Quigley has no problem though and matches him

April 13, 2020, 12:52 AM
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CP3 getting crafty now. He turns his back to the basket. Reaches back and grabs one leg, then turns around and makes it with one hand! One of the shots of the day so far. Quigley can't match and she's on O

April 13, 2020, 12:52 AM
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Next up, Quigley heads to the free throw line for a banker and misses it

April 13, 2020, 12:50 AM
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Quigley hits a little runner off the glass and CP3 has to match to stay alive....... he does it!

April 13, 2020, 12:49 AM
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Quigley heads to the elbow and calmly banks in a little set shot. Oh wow CP3 tosses up a brick from his sweet spot and he's down to his last letter

April 13, 2020, 12:48 AM
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Quigley is money with her attempt. A one-dribble step back. Oof, CP3's attempt spins around and out. He's got R now

April 13, 2020, 12:48 AM
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Okay we're back and CP3 is going behind the backboard but doesn't even get it over

April 13, 2020, 12:47 AM
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Quigley goes to the left wing for a 3 but it's a surprising miss. Now CP3 has a chance to take control. He gets simple and knocks down a classic free throw. Wow, Quigley rims out and picks up an H

April 13, 2020, 12:40 AM
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Quigley takes a seat and banks one in from the ground! Chris can't get that one to go either and now he's at H-O

April 13, 2020, 12:39 AM
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This has been some great shotmaking so far. Quigley gets simple and knocks down a corner 3. CP3 can't match and he picks up the first letter

April 13, 2020, 12:38 AM
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CP3 goes behind the backboard and doesn't come close. Quigley takes some inspiration and goes for a jumper from behind the backboard but deeper towards the corner. CP3 easily matches that too

April 13, 2020, 12:37 AM
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And now Quigley goes for the same shot from the other side but misses. CP3 gets to the basics with a short little banker that Quigley easily matches.

April 13, 2020, 12:36 AM
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Quigley goes to the elbow and hops to the left off her left foot and swishes it. So does CP3!

April 13, 2020, 12:35 AM
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Quigley calls out a bank shot free throw to start and knocks it down. CP3 matches

April 13, 2020, 12:34 AM
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Okay and we're on to the final first round matchup. It's WNBA All-Star Allie Quigley against Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul

April 13, 2020, 12:33 AM
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LaVine brought out all sorts of creativity, and Pierce was apparently playing through the rain. That ended up being a shutout but it was the most entertaining game for sure. Pierce is a great personality for these kind of events

April 13, 2020, 12:26 AM
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LaVine goes way deep in the left corner and it's all net! Pierce is going to have to go into the grass to match him..... rims out! And that's the game. Pierce is done

April 13, 2020, 12:25 AM
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LaVine calls out a lefty layup all net. After claiming he touched the rim, Pierce doesn't even make his layup. That wasn't a dunk but it might as well have been. Pierce has S now

April 13, 2020, 12:23 AM
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Pierce goes to a one leg spinner and he can't make it. It's now LaVine's turn. But first it's apparently time for a break

April 13, 2020, 12:17 AM
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LaVine bricks a turnaround and Pierce has control now. The vet calls out a bank 3 from the top of the key.... money. LaVine matches!

April 13, 2020, 12:16 AM
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LaVine says throw it off the side of the backboard, catch it and make a jumper. Pierce matches! This has been the most fun matchup by far

April 13, 2020, 12:14 AM
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Pierce goes to the old man game with a rolling sky hook. LaVine easily matches. Pierce tries a lefty mid range and misses

April 13, 2020, 12:13 AM
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LaVine tries a step back from the wing and misses. Pierce now in control

April 13, 2020, 12:13 AM
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