The Mountain Dew Rising Stars Challenge brought together some of the finest young talent the league has yet offered, and the locals took care of business against a game squad of internationals.
- I hope you enjoyed seeing Ray Allen miss a free throw to cost his team a chance to tie or win the... Celebrity All Star Game???? It’s also worth noting that Danny Green was an in-game analyst tonight.
- USA Head Coach Darvin Ham was best known for a dunk during his playing days called the “Ham Slamwich.” The team’s uniforms owe their inspiration to the ABA’s Carolina Cougars.
- In the first quarter, Kyle Kuzma (USA) and Ben Simmons (World) got off to blazing starts with 6-7 FG for 14 and 12 points respectively. Just as the analysts were mentioning how Jarrett Allen credited Herbal Essence for the full bodied-ness of his afro, he recorded the first block of the game. In the dunk category, USA bested its World counterparts 9-4, while the World shooters missed often from distance, and it was a 40-30 lead at the end of the stanza. It may come as a shock to no one that there were ZERO fouls called.
- Seeing Marvin Bagley III, DeAaron Fox, and Bogdan Bogdanovic appear in this game must be a welcome sight for long-beleaguered Sacramento Kings fans in comparison to the paucity of quality picks produced in the late 00’s and early 10’s.
- It’s worth wondering aloud whether Toronto would be able to withstand a Kawhi Leonard departure during the offseason. It seems as if they could be in good hands with the contributions of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby.
- In the second quarter, both teams made their runs, starting with the World improving its transition offense and outside shooting. However, what stood out was John Collins, on three increasingly impressive occasions, practicing his dunks for tomorrow night. At the end of this breakneck-paced period, the USA extended their lead to 83-71.
- Trae Young recorded the game’s first dribble nutmeg on Josh Okogie partway through the third as both teams traded an flurry of baskets. Okogie responded with a soaring tip-jam moments later. The first double-team occurred by World against Jayson Tatum near the halfcourt, yielding an easy layup at the rim for USA, which maintained a six point advantage going into the fourth.
- It didn’t occur to me until midway through the fourth quarter that the honeycomb shapes on the court provided the players easier spot-up opportunities in transition and in the half-court ‘offense.’ Young performed another nutmeg on a drive past Ayton late in the fourth. It is an exhibition game after all.
- Here is how the game ended: three consecutive botched in-between the legs dunks followed mercifully by Bagley’s 360 to close out scoring 161-144 in favor of USA.
- Derrick White would have been a welcome presence in this game for his generosity and selflessness with the ball.
Because this is also a San Antonio Spurs community, I’ve listed the Rising Stars participants below and identified a present or past Spur player that they resemble based on early career returns.
Jarrett Allen #31 - Naval Academy David Robinson
Marvin Bagley #35 - Wake Forest Tim Duncan
John Collins #20 - Rookie David Robinson
De’Aaron Fox #5 - Rookie Tony Parker
Jaren Jackson, Jr. #13 - You thought I would say his father, right? Late-career Tiago Splitter
Kevin Knox #20 - Memphis-era Rudy Gay
Kyle Kuzma #0 - Rookie Sean Elliott
Donovan Mitchell #45 - 2001 Derek Anderson
Jayson Tatum #0 - Prime Sean Elliott
Trae Young #11 - 2012 Patty Mills
OG Anunoby #3 - Danny Green with world class athleticism
Deandre Ayton #22 - early LaMarcus Aldridge
Bogdan Bogdanovic #8 - Brent Barry
Luka Doncic #77 - Manu Ginobili forced to play entirely at point guard
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 - DeJounte Murray
Rodions Kurucs #0 - 1999 Steve Kerr
Lauri Markkanen #24 - current-day Davis Bertans
Josh Okogie #20 - Bruce Bowen with 20 pounds of muscle
Cedi Osman #16 - raw Hedo Turkoglu
Ben Simmons #25 - Boris Diaw as a world class athlete
The 2019 All-Star Weekend returns to the Spectrum Center tomorrow evening with the Skills Challenge, 3-Point Contest (missing a certain #LatvianLaser), and Dunk Contest, with the festivities beginning at 7:00 PM CDT.