All Star

2015 NBA All-Star Friday Recap  

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The 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend kicked off on Friday evening with the Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge.

In case you missed the action on All-Star Friday, here is a recap:

BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge

This year, the NBA introduced a new format for the Rising Stars Challenge. Rather than pitting the rookies against the sophomores, the teams were split between U.S. born players and international players.

In the first quarter, Giannis Antetokounmpo did a little bit of everything, registering plenty of points, rebounds and assists early on. He also received some light-hearted flak from Alvin Gentry, coach of the U.S. team, for trying to block Mason Plumlee on a breakaway dunk attempt.

Early on, Rudy Gobert, Cody Zeller and Nerlens Noel all took turns running the floor and finishing at the rim with big dunks, showing off their size, skill and athleticism.

Andrew Wiggins had his share of impressive first half dunks, including a half court lob from Dennis Schröder toward the end of the first half.

Trey Burke had a nice ball fake on Jazz teammate Dante Exum for an easy layup in transition. Exum was faked out again, this time by Zach LaVine, who threw down an impressive dunk through traffic. Teammate Shabazz Muhammad followed up LaVine’s dunk with an impressive jam of his own.

Around the 7:30 mark of the first half, Mason Plumlee and Gorgui Dieng traded big-time dunks on consecutive possessions. After some more big dunks, both teams started taking turns shooting from beyond-the-arc.

At the end of the first half, the World led the USA team, 69-67. The World shot 63 percent from the field, seven-of-14 on three-pointers and tallied 20 points in transitions, 40 points in the paint and 11 dunks. The U.S. team shot 57 percent from the field, five-of-16 from beyond-the-arc and tallied 20 points in transition, 42 points in the paint and 12 dunks.

Plumlee kicked off the second half with a quick steal and his fifth dunk of the night. Then, five minutes into the first half, Exum found teammate Gobert at the rim for a nice lob, which the big man finished with authority. A few minutes later, Noel tried to throw down a dunk over Gobert, but Gobert rejected him at the rim. Gobert then ran the floor and received a nice pass for an uncontested tomahawk dunk in transition. Gobert continued his impressive play by blocking a Victor Oladipo layup attempt with his elbows. The block led to a Matthew Dellavedova layup on the other end, which put the World team up 96-90 with a little over 10 minutes to go in the game. Plumlee decided to join the block party at the 4:30 mark by emphatically swatting a Schröder attempt at the rim.

It was a tight game down the final stretch. The World held a 112-109 lead with just over a minute and a half to go when Wiggins finished through contact at the rim and hit the free-throw to put the World up 115-109. Then, Gobert rejected Plumlee at the rim, which led to a monster jam in transition by Schröder, putting the World ahead 117-111. Gobert then grabbed an offensive rebound off of a Nikola Mirotic missed three-pointer and slammed it home, giving the World a seven point lead with 41.3 seconds left in the game.

The World eventually won by a score of 121-112

LaVine and Oladipo led the way for the U.S. team, scoring 22 points each.

For the World, Gobert posted an impressive 18 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks in almost 21 minutes of action. However, the MVP went to Wiggins, who finished with 22 points, four assists and six rebounds.

Sprint Celebrity All-Star Game

Kevin Hart entered Friday’s Celebrity All-Star Game looking to defend his three consecutive MVP awards.

The West, behind some nice passing from Chris Mullin, and balanced scoring would pull away in the second half, winning by a final score of 57-51.

Skylar Diggins and Grizzlies owner Robert Pera scored 13 points each, while Mullin, Jesse Williams and Win Butler chipped in eight points each.

Hart’s team fell, but he still managed to earn MVP honors and finished with 15 points in 29 minutes of action.

After notching his fourth MVP award in a row, Hart announced his retirement from the annual Celebrity All-Star Game.