ORLANDO, Fla. – Cleveland rookie Kyrie Irving made eight 3-pointers and finished with 34 points, helping Team Chuck beat Team Shaq 146-133 in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday.
Indiana's Paul George added 23 points but the night belonged to Irving, who picked up where another rookie point guard left off in the NBA's showcase game for its first- and second-year players. Wizards point guard John Wall earned MVP honors last season when he was a rookie.
Cleveland's Tristan Thompson scored 20 points to lead Team Shaq. New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin only had two points.
This year's Rising Stars Challenge had a different format, with the rookie and second-year players mixed together on teams for the first time. The league also inserted a little more name recognition with former stars Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley serving as general managers and drafting the teams.
While the teams had a different look, there was once again no real defensive effort and plenty of fan-pleasing fast breaks and flashy play.
Irving opened the game with an alley-oop to George, and Minnesota rookie Ricky Rubio turned routine passes to his Shaq teammates into behind-the-back and between-the-leg looks.
It was part of an acrobatic early tone that was fast-paced and allowed the next generation of stars to showcase open-court and aerial skills that have already made many of them fan favorites on their respective teams.
Lin had a relatively quiet night. His biggest highlight came early in the second half when he took a pass from Rubio and drove it underneath for a reverse layup.
He played just nine minutes before heading to the bench midway in the second half, and instead mostly yielded to the more high-flying players on his team. He took just four shots.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin had several highlights while playing for Team Shaq, catching several alley oops and even throwing his own pass off the glass and catching it for a dunk.