World tops US in Rising Stars game

021018-JoelEmbiid-USAToday

Buddy Hield has been one of the best 3-point shooters in the National Basketball Association this season. The World team absolutely crushed the US team, 155-124 and led by as much as 39 points in the fourth quarter.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 26 points and was selected as MVP and fellow Sacramento Kings rookie guard Buddy Hield had 29 as Team World defeated Team USA, 155-124, Friday evening in the Rising Stars Challenge at Staples Center.

With Joel Embiid being the only member of the Philadelphia 76ers participating in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Brett Brown fortunate enough to see three of his young stars, including Embiid, participate in Friday night's Rising Stars Challenge.

"I mean I'm here for a reason and obviously Philly chose me for a reason, and I've spoken to Brett (Brown) a lot when I was hurt and he wanted me to run the team and be the point guard", the Australian said.

"I'm nowhere near anywhere to close to where I wanna get, but now I'm here, it's sweeter being an All-Star starter for the first time", Embiid shared. "We got a real good chance".

Whether the competitive nature of the showcase game changes, especially on defense, remains to be seen as the NBA's best now dedicate themselves to either Team LeBron or Team Stephen - instead of conference.

Team World made 23 3-point baskets to 11 for Team USA.

"Our objective was to win and to come out and dominate them", Simmons said.

Canada's Jamal Murray, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, delivered 21 points and seven assists and Dario Saric, of Croatia, scored 18 and made four-of-seven three pointers.

To Hield's detriment, however, is the roster of 3-point shooters the National Basketball Association had to choose from, ranging from former champions (Klay Thompson, Eric Gordon) to multiple-time All-Stars (Paul George, Kyle Lowry) to burgeoning young starting guards (Bradley Beal, Devin Booker). Simmons put up 11 points, 13 assists, six rebounds and four steals with several highlight-reel plays throughout the contest.

"I approach every single game the same way, try to compete, to be the best version of myself that day", a smiling Bogdanovic said after the game. "You never know when it's going to happen", the 25-year-old Serbian said. "I told them whenever they get the ball to shoot", he said.

The biggest cheers at Staples Center went to Lakers youngsters Kuzma and Brandon Ingram on the US team.

The World team also had the services of Joel Embiid, who was unable to play in this game previous year because of a knee injury. The previous three games were each decided by fewer than 10 points. But they are the struggling marquee franchise's only representatives at the latest All-Star weekend in its hometown.

The Los Angeles Lakers were supposed to have a competitor in the dunk contest, but they traded Larry Nance Jr.to the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 8.

Rogers said he even had to do some in-game coaching because he didn't want it to turn into a slam-dunk contest at the end like several of these all-star games have in the past. Following him in the scoring column was Kyle Kuzma (20) and Jayson Tatum (15), who also got in on the dunk fest when he threw down an extraordinary fastbreak windmill.

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