LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Team USA outgunned Team World 151-131 in the NBA’s Rising Stars event on Friday in a game that lacked little semblance of defense even before it deteriorated into an unofficial dunk contest.
As Team USA put the contest out of reach in the fourth quarter, the players stepped aside to let the impromptu dunking take place, featuring Team USA’s Zion Williamson.
The forward even bent the basket with one of his rim-shaking dunks earlier in the game.
Golden State Warriors player Eric Paschall led Team USA with 23 points, and Canadian RJ Barrett of the New York Knicks had a game-high 27 points for Team World at the United Center arena in Chicago.
Williamson, who plays for the New Orleans Pelicans, finished with 14 points.
Miles Bridges of Team USA was named MVP of the game after scoring 20 points.
“We wanted to come out and play hard in the Rising Stars and show what Charlotte is about — me, Devonte’ (Graham) and P.J. (Washington),” Bridges said. “I didn’t have any extra motivation, really, I wouldn’t say that. But MJ (Michael Jordan) putting Chicago on the map, it definitely plays a big part, though.”
Team USA seized command in the third quarter when they showed their offensive prowess by outscoring Team World 44-24.
Bridges connected on three-pointers in back-to-back possessions to cut a 12-point lead in half with five-minutes left in the third quarter.
Three minutes later, Charlotte’s Devonte’ Graham made a pair of threes to put Team USA ahead 104-103. It was their first lead since the opening minutes of the game.
Team World led 81-71 at the half after Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic sank a shot from half-court with two seconds remaining in the second quarter.
The game was part of the weekend festivities leading up to the All-Star Game on Sunday night.