USA tops World at Rising Stars Game
Friday night at the Air Canada Centre did not disappoint, unless you were cheering for a World Team win on home court.
With the NBA’s biggest and best prospects taking to the hardwood stage for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge in Toronto, it marked the first and possibly the last time the World Team would have home court advantage.
But it was the Timberwolves rivalry that defined the game and the 157-154 win for USA that featured Zach LaVine winning game MVP with 30 points and 7 rebounds.
When NPH caught up with LaVine earlier in the day he said he had big plans for the Rising Stars game, namely to show up his Minnesota teammate Andrew Wiggins in his own city.
“Yeah, 100%. I want MVP because he got it last year,” LaVine said of Wiggins. “That’s the main thing, you know, to go out here and have a good time. But at the end of the day our competitive nature is going to take over. Him and me are both competitive and we play each other every day in practice. We’re on the same team. It’s not like a real game we have to play against each other. So we’re definitely going to have some fun.”
Wiggins finished with a game-high 10 dunks and 29 points for Team World, just a point behind Latvian rookie sensation Kristaps Porzingis and Emmanuel Mudiay with 30 points apiece. Another Timberwolf, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 18.
“It felt great,” Wiggins said of the hometown event. “I got to play in front of a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time. My family and friends got to watch it. It’s great being back home and playing for my hometown.”
He also said it meant something special to him to be involved in Kobe Bryant’s last All-Star game, “He did a lot for my game. I watch him a lot of times when I was younger, and I got older too. I would love to work out with him. To be honest, to watch him work out and see what his work ethic is, and see what he’s working on.”
Out with the old, in with the new!