Saturday, February 15th, 2014 at 11:14 am  |  14 responses

Dion Waiters and Tim Hardaway Jr Shine in Rising Stars Challenge


by Brian Boyles

On the first night of festivities, the Rising Stars Challenge made up in humor what it lacked in effort. Team Hill topped Team Webber, 142-136, in a game dominated by lilting alley-oops, long three-pointers, and a late duel between two young guards.

Detroit’s Andre Drummond grabbed 30 points and 25 rebounds to take home the MVP trophy—which fell apart as the BBVA CEO handed it to the center—but Cleveland’s Dion Waiters and New York’s Tim Hardaway Jr engaged in a shootout that brought the crowd to its feet, All-Stars Kevin Durant and James Harden included. Three-pointer after three-pointer, the shooters traded blows and shoulder shimmys as the rest of the players stood back and watched. They even exchanged five in the middle of the skirmish. That brief flash of competitiveness was proof that, maybe, some tweaks to this game could give us all a better product. Enough young, dynamic players want to prove themselves, and one-on-no one dunks aren’t the best way to market them. Unselfishness and team play aren’t realistic goals, so how to stoke the battles that, though friendly, can showcase new stars?

From the New Orleans perspective, fans now have another reason to hate their rivals in Atlanta: Hawks in-game organist Sir Foster, who is amazing and should be cloned for every franchise. And yes, it was Valentine’s Day, so we got strange mascot-on-human romance skits and clips of Prince’s “Kiss” played three times. Craig Sager was rosy and pink.

Other highlights: Anthony Davis’ first half dunks firing up his hometown crowd; Drummond dominating just on put backs and limp alley oops; the Plumlee Brothers being together and stuff; Mason Plumlee delivering a hard foul on Drummond that laid the big man out; Jared Sullinger’s nine three point attempts; nice back and forth between Damian Lillard and Michael Carter-William. We didn’t get nearly enough of the Greek Freak, but had the honor of closing out the game with a gangly reverse dunk.

On the court after the game, I stopped to watch Commissioner Adam Silver converse with a league official. All of this belongs to the new guy now, who stood in the semi-afterglow with a serious look on his face. It was a change from the comfort Stern exuded regardless of his circumstances.

In the interview room, Waiters beamed as he admitted to screaming “this is my city.” His interview was reminder that these are the youngest guys in the league, not yet used to press room Q&As. Hardaway Jr was raised in the League and has the same voice as his (2014 Hall of Fame nominated) father, but he’s also a young player. “We wanted to do something to get the fans involved. It was kinda dead in there,” he said. Fortunately he and Waiters took into their own hands. Let’s see if a new commissioner helps them along in future games.  

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    I love how Tim Hardaway Jr. didn’t let the crossover affect him. He just got right back up, defended, then went down the other end to throw another triple in his face. He’s a valuable player. He just needs to keep his confidence up.

  • Jeremy de Sa

    This further confirms my belief that the skills comp needs to be replaced by a One v One contest. First up, Nick Young vs. ___________ (whoever)

  • brothasdontsurf

    I couldn’t stop watching Andre Drummond. It seemed like he grabbed everything around the rim, and was able to just as easily score around the basket. If Detroit was smart they would just build around him.

  • Grasshoper Funk

    How about Nick Young vs JR Smith?

  • Redd

    He got his ankles annihilated LOL.

  • underdog

    I have to say, only for that 5-6 minute long span, it did worth to watch this otherwise sub par game. (Yeah, the rookie game is always kind of sub par.)

  • spit hot fiyah
  • bringbackthesonics

    great back n forth between the two. i wish they played burke and sullinger together, it wouldve been good to see their chemistry on the court

  • DJ_BobbyPeru

    Jamal Crawford vs the winner.

  • TV63

    Waiters told him to get up. There was a reason he waited for him. It wasn’t because he wanted to be nice. LOL Let’s see if you figured it out.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperfadeaway nbk
  • pposse

    still remember back in the day when Isaiah Rider did the same thing. His exact words to the guy was “get up fool!” then he took the shot

  • Student Athlete Mexico

    Monta Ellis against Jamal would be amazing!

  • trista niap

    Aunty Julia got silver Volkswagen Beetle Convertible by working parttime off of
    a home computer… Look At This F­i­s­c­a­l­P­o­s­t­.­ℂ­o­m