MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Kyle Kuzma pumped in a game-high 35 points to lead Team USA to a 161-144 drubbing of Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge of the NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte on Friday, February 15 (Saturday, February 16, Manila time).
The Los Angeles hotshot bagged the MVP honors while also breaking Kobe Bryant’s Lakers record of 31 points in the exhibition match for the league’s young guns.
Kuzma, who also grabbed 6 rebounds, scored 14 of Team USA’s 20 points in the first 4 minutes of the game.
Jayson Tatum drilled 30 points for Team USA, which lost to Team World last year.
“Last year, the World team kicked our butts,” Kuzma said. “They came in here and beat us by 30. A lot of us kind of remembered that.”
Slam dunks and three pointers were the order of the day and defense disappeared completely in the game where both teams combined for 37 three-pointers, 55 dunks and shot a total of just 12 free throws.
Give & go from Kuzma and Jarrett Allen!#MTNDEWICERisingStars on @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/gg3emM8NHM— NBA (@NBA) February 16, 2019
Trae Young fired 25 points off the bench built on a 6-of-11 shooting clip from three-point range, while Donovan Mitchell (20 points) and Marvin Bagley (14 points) also chipped in for Team USA.
Australian Ben Simmons got off to a strong start for Team World, but Team USA’s second unit held sway.
Simmons finished with 28 points on an efficient 14-of-17 clip from the field and also had 6 assists and 5 rebounds.
“As you can see, not much defense. Guys just want to get up and play,” Simmons said.
“It’s good to get out there and just get up and down with guys you don’t normally go up and down with.”
Lauri Markkanen added 21 points, while Deandre Ayton, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 each for Team World.
This was the fifth year of the Americans against World format and the World now leads the all-time series 3-2.
The look-off and the oop from Luka to Lauri! #PhantomCam #MTNDEWICERisingStars pic.twitter.com/hrfwLQBS8c— NBA (@NBA) February 16, 2019
– With a report from Agence France-Presse
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