CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Team USA came out on top in the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge with a 161-144 victory over Team World Friday night in Charlotte during NBA All-Star Weekend.
The game was filled with highlights from ferocious dunks from guys like Ben Simmons, Josh Okogie, John Collins and Marvin Bagley III to silky crossover moves from guys like Trae Young.
It was a spectacular scoring night for Team USA as Rising Stars MVP scored 35 points, Jayson Tatum scored 30 points, Donovan Mitchell scored 20 points and Trae Young scored 25 points along with 10 assists and 7 rebounds.
“I think that’s really cool that we are playing pickup basketball in front of millions of people, which is pretty special and a blessing,” Mitchell said about the game.
Tatum got to team with Marvin Bagley III. Both young stars played for Duke University. “That was great. Any time Duke guys get to play with each other it’s always a lot of fun,” Tatum said about teaming with Bagley.
His honorary coach, Kyrie Irving, also went to Duke. “First coaching gig and he got a win. Not too bad.,” Tatum said about Irving coaching the game.
For Team World, All-Star Ben Simmons finished with 28 points, Lauri Markkanen had 21 points and rookie favorite Luka Doncic had 13 points.
“I think it’s just more of a fun thing. I had a lot of fun, met a few people that I haven’t really talked to in a while,” Simmons said after the game.
“I think these kinds of things are about the fans. I thought it was great. I had a lot of fun," Doncic said.
Kyle Kuzma was named the MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge as he got off to hot start scoring 23 points in the first half ad finishing with a game-high 35 points.
“Last year I didn’t really play that hard. This year I just came out, one, I wanted to get some conditioning, and, two, why not MVP? You’re in the game. So might as well just try,” Kuzma said.
The guy who stole the show however was Wake Forest’s own John Collins, who busted out some crazy dunks, giving us a preview of what he might do in Saturday night’s Slam Dunk Contest.
He threw one of the backboard to himself and caught a 360 alley oop, along with other spectacular dunks from the night.
Some of these young players, like Tatum and Collins, will be participating in All-Star Saturday night.