World beats U.S. in Rising Stars Challenge to start NBA All-Star events
Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points, Rudy Gobert added 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocked shots, and the World team beat the U.S., 121-112, on Friday night in the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star weekend.
Wiggins, the No. 1 pick from Canada who plays for Minnesota, was chosen as the game’s MVP.
Brooklyn’s Bojan Bogdanovic of Croatia, playing on his home court, the Barclays Center, and Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic from Montenegro each added 16 points for the World.
“It was competitive, but it was fun, too,” Wiggins said.
Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and Zach LaVine of Minnesota each scored 22 points for the U.S. team in the game featuring rookies and second-year players.
“It was fun, a fun experience,” Oladipo said. “I had a great time. I think I did a pretty good job representing us.”
It was another new format for the opening game of All-Star weekend, which originated as a contest between teams of rookies, later turned into rookies against second-year players, and this year changed to the world against U.S. players.
It looked like all the other versions, with lots of one-on-one play and little defense beyond Gobert, the French center who impressively stuffed Nets center Mason Plumlee late in the game with the World protecting a narrow lead.
Some of the dunks were impressive — all four contestants in Saturday’s slam dunk contest were in Friday’s game — but the play was spotty.
Oladipo shot eight for 21 and the teams combined for 51 turnovers.
Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng of Senegal finished with 14 points and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the World.
Antetokounmpo is set to be in the dunk contest Saturday along with LaVine, Oladipo and Plumlee.
Utah’s Trey Burke scored 17 points for the U.S. and Plumlee had 13 points and nine rebounds.
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