The NBA All-Star weekend officially started with the Rising Star Challenge game, between Team USA and Team World.
Team USA Rallies to Win the Contest
A strong third sequence in which hosts outscored colleagues from abroad 44-24 was decisive for the final result of this event. In one moment, Team World was leading 12 points, 98-86, mostly due to the fantastic performance of Knicks’ RJ Barrett, who had a period of domination on the floor.
However, the Americans started pounding, making a 29-7 series, which completely turned the result. Team USA led 115-105 coming into the fourth, and although that wasn’t some big lead, the momentum was on their side. Zion and the boys continued to play in the same rhythm, eventually winning this period with 36-26.
The MVP of the game was Charlotte’s Miles Bridges, who scored 20 points, had 5 boards and assists. He stated after the game, that he and his teammates from the Hornets (Devonte Graham and PJ Washington) wanted to make their team proud.
“We wanted to come out and play hard in the Rising Stars and show what Charlotte is about — me, Devonte’ [Graham] and PJ [Washington],” said Bridges.
He also added that coming from Michale Jordan’s team presented a huge responsibility, because MJ created his legacy in Chicago, where the game took place.
The top scorer among the American players was Golden State’s Eric Paschall, who had 23 points and was 10-for-13 from the field. Collin Sexton added 21, and interestingly, all these three guys came off the bench.
Zion scored 14 points, Trae Young 18 and Ja Morant 10. Kendrick Nunn had 16, Jarren Jackosn 12, with Graham, 9, and Washington 8 being the only ones without double-digit scoring productivity.
On the other side, Barrett led the way with 27 points and 6 boards, Brandon Clarke had 22 nad 8 rebounds, while Luka Doncic prepared himself for the All-Star game, scoring just 16 buckets. Shai Gilgeous Alexander had the same, as well as Mo Wagner. Wizard’s Rui Hachimura added 14.
Youngsters Puttin On a Show
Zion Was punishing the hoop each time he had a chance. He forced the maintenance service to show up at the halftime and repair the rim after a few of his powerful dunks.
It appears that the No.1 pick from this year’s draft bend it a bit, which is why the basket needed to be aligned once again.
Throughout the game, he and Ja Morant were setting the tone for Team USA. The two youngsters know one another back from high-school when they were teammates at AAU in South Carolina.
On the other side, Luka Doncic was looking relaxed, and the Slovenian’s three from half of the court was one of the highlights of the entire event. To make it more interesting, he made the shot besides Trae Young, and the two shared a joyful moment once the ball went into the basket.
Both guys will be participating at the NBA All-Star Game set for Sunday. The tip-off is at 8 pm ET, and the venue, of course, the United Center in Chicago, Il.