The 2018 NBA Rising Stars Challenge was an amalgam of athleticism, insane dunks, and very little defense being played. And you know what, it was ton of fun as it usually is.
Instead of me boring you with my take on the entire game, let’s just hum the SportsCenter intro music to ourselves and get to the highlights of the most notable performances of the game.
The World was led by the Sacramento Kings’, Bogdan Bogdanovic, who took home MVP honors by knocking down seven three-pointers, to finish with 26 points and six assists. He even tried to play a little defense, much to the dismay of the crowd.
Despite his Team USA losing, the Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown looked to be the best player on the court all game long. Brown put on a display scoring game-high 35 points to go along with 10 rebounds. Jaylen was in rare form and was quite the highlight machine, whether it was knocking down three-pointers, or throwing down monstrous dunks, his performance was one of the most enjoyable things about the entire game.
Sacramento Kings’ very own, Buddy Hield, came out firing from three-point land putting up 14 triples in 25 minutes. While he only hit on five of them, he was 7-8 from inside the arc and scored a team-high 29 points for The World.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ rookie phenom, Ben Simmons, whose six triple-doubles this season are one shy of Magic Johnson‘s rookie record, did his best to add another one Friday night. Despite his efforts, Simmons finished with 11 points, 13 assists, and six rebounds.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ most talented rookie (sorry Lonzo fans), Kyle Kuzma, did not disappoint Friday evening. While he ran a bit hot-and-cold, he did finish the night shooting 50 percent from the floor, and when he was hot, he was insanely hot! With the crowd chanting “Kuuuz”, Kuzma went into NBA Jam Fire Mode, scoring 13 straight points over a 2:12 stretch for Team USA. Kumza finished the game with a respectable 20 points, seven rebounds, 2 assists, and a handful of highlight plays.
As last year’s MVP, the Denver Nuggets’, Jamal Murray, had a lot to live up to, and answered the challenge. Murray kept his foot to the peddle and put a well-rounded performance with 21 points, 7 assists, 6 rebounds, three three-pointers, and of course, a few “Blue Arrow” flexes thrown in.
And now, the dunks!