Friday, February 24, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Rising Stars Challenge
By Jared Zwerling
RECAP: While Team Shaq's Jeremy Lin of the Knicks received the loudest ovation during pregame player introductions, his squad, which also featured his teammate Landry Fields, didn't have a roaring performance. They got blown out by Team Chuck, which included the Nets' MarShon Brooks, 146-133 in the Rising Stars Challenge on Friday night as part of the NBA's All-Star Weekend.
Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving was named the game's MVP, after only missing one shot -- yes, one shot -- the entire game. He finished 12-for-13 from the field (8-for-8 from 3), en route to a game-high 34 points.
HIGHLIGHTS: As Fields has become an alley-oop threat with the Knicks, thanks to Lin's playmaking off the pick-and-roll, he showed off those same skills tonight. In the second half alone, Fields (16 points) had three alley-oop dunks and clearly outshined Lin, who didn't even hit double digits in minutes. Someone needs to talk to his head coach, Shaquille O'Neal.
Whatever the case, Lin (two points) had his moments, while limited. He had a nice reverse layup in traffic and threw a picture-perfect pass to the Clippers' Blake Griffin for the alley-oop. While Lin to Fields and Tyson Chandler has been fun to watch, imagine Lin to Griffin, who many players call the best current in-game dunker.
As for Brooks (eight points), he delivered on something he's been excelling at lately: hitting 3-pointers. In his past two NBA games, he's gone 6-for-12 from downtown, and tonight he had two 3's, wearing the brightest orange sneakers you'll ever see in your life.
FUNNIEST MOMENT: The arena showed Lin's parents, Shirley and Gie-Ming, on the jumbotron during a "Kiss Cam" segment, and they didn't even realize it. They were both separately texting on their cell phones, and Lin's older brother, Josh, was sitting behind them. Finally, after the arena DJ said something about it, Lin's parents looked up and smiled. Lin and Fields, who were both sitting on the bench at the time, laughed together.
SHUMPERT MISSING, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: While Lin and the Heat's Norris Cole were late additions to the Rising Stars, and deservedly so, Iman Shumpert was robbed of a roster spot. Shumpert let fans know how he felt about it on Twitter, saying "Seeing the personnel in this rookie challenge... #coldgame bro smfh." J.R. Smith gave him a shout-out right after, tweeting, "Watching the chuck an Shaq challenge an @I_Am_Iman isn't in it! #koldGame!"
WHAT'S NEXT: Lin and Fields' Knicks host the Cavaliers on Wednesday night and Brooks' Nets travel to Dallas on Tuesday to take on the Mavericks.
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