All-Star weekend began last night, in my home of the 6ix. Shortly after the Celebrity game ended at Ricoh Coliseum, the Rising Stars Challenge started, and it was an entertaining Game, showcasing the future of the association.
Team USA defeated Team World by a score of 157-154, with Zach LaVine who had 30 points, 7 boards, and 7 assists taking home MVP, stealing it from last year’s winner and fellow teammate, Canadian Andrew Wiggins. Though LaVine stole the show, it was still Andrew’s night, who was playing in his hometown in front of family and friends. He surely did not disappoint. The Vaughan Ontario native, had 29 points, and a field goal percentage of 86%, and was a highlight reel machine pulling off a ton of dunks. In my opinion, better than those two, is fellow Timberwolve, Karl-Anthony Towns also had a great game, having 18 points. The future is looking bright in Minnesota.
LaVine and Towns were not alone in the victory, as many contributed to the win. The future of the Lakers, took stage and it looks like their backcourt will be set for a very long time. Jordan Clarkson, played stellar and had 25 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals. The other Laker Guard D’Angelo Russell was just as good, showcasing his court vision with a game-high 7 dimes, and added 22 points. Devin Booker (who I think will win the three-point contest), replaced Nerlens Noel last minute, who is battling knee tendonitis, had 23 points, foreshadowing what he’ll be doing tonight, hitting five three’s. I hope he can pull an upset and win the three-point contest.
Though Team World did take the L, they still played great, and they all looked good out there. Wiggins was the show, but New York Knicks star forward, 7’3 Kristaps Porzingis who started at small forward, played awesome, scoring 30 points with 5 triples, 5 boards, 4 assists and a block. Orlando Magic guard, Mario Hezonja has struggled in his first season in North America, he looked nothing like that last night. The Croatian had 19 points, 10 boards, 7 dimes, and 4 steals. Hopefully, this is a stepping stone to a better second half. Emmanuel Mudiay has also not had the year he hoped for, but was solid scoring 30 out there.