Cleveland Cavaliers Represents By Taking the NBA All-Star Skills Challenge

It looks like the Cleveland Cavaliers are not satisfied with just being the NBA team hosting the NBA All-Star festivities. Some of the players participating in the events leading up to the All-Star game were making some noise on All-Star Saturday Night.

Three players from the Cleveland Cavaliers teamed up to participate in the All-Star Skills Challenge. First-time All-Stars, Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen teamed up with rookie Evan Mobley, whose star shined brightly in the NBA Rising Stars tournament, took on the Antetokounmpo brothers (Giannis, Thanasis, and Alex) and a team of rookies that consisted of Cade Cunningham, Josh Giddey and Scottie Barnes.

The Skills Challenge received a new look as the NBA revamped All-Star Weekend. The format featured the three teams participating in a competition broken down into three rounds of shooting, passing, and dribbling ability.

Round One (Shooting):

Team Cavs should thank their lucky stars they dominated this part of the competition because the next two rounds were not as kind. The Cavaliers trio played strategically, placing Jarrett Allen first and downsizing to Evan Mobley then Darius Garland. Garland dropped 24 points, outscoring the Antetokounmpos brothers by himself, followed by Mobley with 18.

Round Two (Passing):

At this point of the competition, it looked like it was a two-team race between Team Cavs and Team Antetokounmpo despite the smooth execution of the weave to pile up the points by Team Cavs.

The Greek Freak turned on the competitive drive that captured him two MVP awards, and his brothers tied Team Rooks at the end of round two. However, Team Antetokounmpo won the tiebreaker to collect 100 points from the passing competition for a tie leading into the skills competition that counted 200 points.

Round Three (Skills competition) and tiebreaker:

The idea of giving 200 points to the winner of the third round made this competition much more exciting. At this point, Team Rooks looked dead in the water when they put up a time of 1:18.5. That time presumably wasn’t fast enough to win the round.

In the end, poor shooting by Team Giannis and slow times by Team Cavs bailed the rookies out, and they took the 200 points to go to the final round. That left Team Giannis and Team Cavs with one shot for a chance to take on the rookies in the final round.

In a surprise to some, Giannis did not take the shot, and Thanasis missed to the right. On the other hand, Garland hit his attempt to win the tiebreaker and a trip to the finals.

Final Round (Half-court shot):

The rules were simple, whichever team could make a half-court shot the fastest would be declared the winner of the Skills Challenge. Cade Cunningham knocked down the half-court shot for the rookies to set the bar at 9.9 seconds.

It didn’t take long for Evan Mobley to close the deal for the hometown Cavaliers. The moment became a classic after legendary sharpshooter Reggie Miller screamed, “Cleveland, this is for you!” over the airwaves as the competition concluded.