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NBA All-Star 2012: Rookie/Sophomore Game Recap

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving led Team Chuck to a wire-to-wire victory over Team Shaq in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night, scoring 34 points on 12-of-13 shooting to go with nine assists in a 146-133 rout. Irving earned MVP honors, but he was hardly the only Team Chuck player to impress: DeMarcus Cousins (18 points, 11 boards) and Evan Turner (16 points, 11 rebounds) tallied double-doubles, while John Wall came off the bench and flirted with a triple-double (17 points, six boards, and eight assists). Nine of Team Shaq's 10 players scored in double-figures, led by Tristan Thompson's 20 points in 27 minutes, but Team Shaq's offensive balance wasn't enough to counter Team Chuck's three-point barrage.

Or, to be more precise, Irving's three-point barrage. The former Duke Blue Devil went 8-of-8 from beyond the arc, including three of them in a 78-second span early in the second half to put Team Chuck up 19 points. Overall, Team Chuck named 11 threes to Team Shaq's 12, but the real difference came in terms of accuracy: Team Shaq hoisted 41 triples to Team Chuck's 20. Brandon Knight was the worst offender, going 2-of-9 from deep for Team Shaq.

Team Pace Efficiency eFG% FT Rate OReb% TO Rate
Tm. Shaq 106.6 124.8 63.4% 5.0 24.4 15.0
Tm. Chuck 106.6 137.0 70.4% 16.1 38.7 16.9
Green denotes a stat better than the NBA season average;
red denotes a stat worse than the NBA season average.

As one might expect, given the final score and some of the numbers above, the game featured very little defense; a majority of the 25 combined steals the teams tallied came by accident. The most notable exception, however, came near the end of the game, during a time when both teams elected to kill the clock by trading dunks. Wall threw an alley-oop to himself by spiking the ball ahead of him on the floor, only to watch Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe step in and snare the ball; has video of Monroe's steal from Wall. Monroe threw ahead to Thompson, who put in a dunk of his own as boos rained down from the fans who remained to the end of a sloppy, silly, and overall fun game.

Indiana Pacers swingman Paul George offered a preview of what he might be capable of doing in the Sprite Slam Dunk contest on All-Star Saturday Night when he threw down a one-handed jam and then hung on the rim by the crook of his elbow.

Though Team Shaq boasted great depth at guard, Team Chuck had a more balanced roster, one with too many shooters and facilitators for Team Shaq to account for.

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