Team USA Gets Smoked by Team World in High-Scoring Bout
By Kohl Rast
Team USA stood little chance in the Rising Stars game as Team World jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. The international youngsters put a beating on Team USA 155-120 behind MVP, Bogdan Bogdanovic.
As is the expectation with All-Star weekend, the NBA Rising Stars game was full of lots of three-pointers (106 total), showtime dunks (Jaylen Brown with the between-the-legs jam), and of course, no defense (James Harden would be proud). Despite the high-flying, high-scoring match, the game was not close really at any point.
Team USA managed to shoot an amazing 11-40 from three-point for a 27.5% clip. For being some of the best young shooters in the league, that is not a good thing. Team World went 23-56 from behind the arc, which ended up being the big difference in the game. Everyone of the players was able to score in their 20ish minutes each.
For Team USA, Jaylen Brown led the team and all scorers with 35 points on 14-21 shooting. Kyle Kuzma scored 20, Jayson Tatum had 15, John Collins with 11, Kris Dunn with 9, Brandon Ingram and Taurean Prince with 8 apiece, Dennis Smith Jr. and Donovan Mitchell each with 7, and De’Aaron Fox with 4.
For Team World, Buddy Hield led the way with 29 points, followed by the sharpshooting MVP Bogdanovic with 26, thanks to 7-13 from three-point land. Jamal Murray was next with 21, followed by Dario Saric with 18, Lauri Markkanen with 15, Domantas Sabonis with 13, Ben Simmons and Dillon Brooks with 11 apiece, Frank Ntilikina with 6 and Joel Embiid with 5 on only 9 minutes.
It was clear that some of these players were taking it easy on the court, even more than others. Dennis Smith Jr. and Donovan Mitchell were both playing it slow preparing for the dunk contest tomorrow and Joel Embiid benched himself early as he has a much bigger game come Sunday. He will also be a part of the Skills Challenge tomorrow, along with Lauri Markkanen, Jamal Murray, and Buddy Hield.
The game had a lot of entertaining moments, including some highlight dunks from the two in the dunk contest tomorrow, but Bogdanovic stole the show, stepping further and further back while continuing to drain three after three. The youngster from Croatia was impressive and efficient.
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Dennis Smith may not have made the impact in the game that Mavs fans were hoping for, but he will be ready to be the real star tomorrow above the rim.