Kuzma and friends blast Doncic, pals

February 16, 2019
Kyle Kuzma
Kyle Kuzma #0 of the U.S. Team receives the MVP award after the 2019 Mtn Dew ICE Rising Stars Game on February 15, 2019 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. /Kent Smith / NBAE / Getty Images / AFP

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Slam dunks and three pointers were the order of the day and defense disappeared completely as Team USA outgunned Team World 161-144 in the NBA Rising Stars game on Friday night.

Los Angeles Lakers player Kyle Kuzma scored a game-high 35 points and was named MVP of the contest which features the league’s top first and second-year players and opens the NBA all-star festivities in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Kuzma went 15-of-27 from the field and also had six rebounds, while Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum added 30 points for Team USA.

The teams combined for 37 three-pointers, 55 dunks and shot a total of just 12 free throws.

“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.”

Atlanta’s Trae Young finished with 25 points and 10 assists, Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox had 15 assists and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell added 20 points and nine assists.

Ben Simmons, of the Philadelphia 76ers, led the World team with 28 points. Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen had 21 points and Dallas’s Luka Doncic had 13 points and nine assists for the World Team, whose players came from 10 different nations.

“As you can see, not much defense. Guys just want to get up and play,” World guard 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.”

Rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, of Canada, scored 15 points.

This was the fifth year of the Americans against World format and the World now leads the all-time series 3-2.