Team USA defeated Team World Friday evening in the Rising Stars Challenge, 151-131. Miles Bridges led USA and won MVP honors with 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. RJ Barrett led World in defeat with 27 points. Luka Doncic scored 16, dished out 5 assists and had 2 rebounds in the contest.
Luka Doncic got the start for Team World, along with Brandon Clarke of the Grizzlies, Rui Hachimura of the Wizards, RJ Barrett of the Knicks, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Thunder. With everyone getting a feel for the game, early compitition wasn’t to be found. Luka did try a few ally-oops to Clarke before finally finding Hachimura with an awesome oop from half court. He also buried a pretty awesome step back from the left wing and found Barrett for a score. He exited the game with just under four minutes in the quarter.
With the other unit getting most of the playing time in the second quarter, Doncic and the other starters returned with under four minutes to play. For Luka specifically, it ended up being eventful, to say the least. After finding Nickeil Alexander-Walker for a cool bucket off the glass, Doncic missed a pair of threes before finally connecting from distance again. Then, he ended up on the wrong end of a Ja Morant-Zion Williamson oop.
And then there's Ja between the legs before the oop to Zion pic.twitter.com/bC8i8bObii— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) February 15, 2020
But despite the Morant-Williamson show in the quarter, Luka wouldn’t be outdone. With time ticking down, Doncic launched a half court shot which, of course, went in off the glass.
Luka Doncic from half court! pic.twitter.com/K3lCufvY6Z— Isaac Harris (@IsaacLHarris) February 15, 2020
Former Mavs Moneyball Editor-in-Chief Tim Cato said it best:
luka hits the dumbest shots more consistently than any basketball player i've ever seen— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) February 15, 2020
Here’s one more angle in case you didn’t get enough:
The World team took a 10 point lead into the half.
In the third, Doncic didn’t play much, getting one nice lay up over Jaren Jackson Jr. He also didn’t see the ball in the frame, running three point line to three point line at most, with whoever guarded him shadowing really far away from the basket. This allowed the rest of the World team free lanes to the hoop. When the units switched, though, the World team took a beating, giving up a 27-5 run in the final few minutes.
The final frame opened up with Doncic on the bench but he did get interviewed by Myles Turner and Donovan Mitchell who were doing commentary for the game. Turner asked him what he did in his free time in Dallas and Luka jokingly responded that he went to eat at Nick and Sam’s (which just had a feature in the Athletic a few weeks back). Mitchell asked him some questions about his interactions with Kobe Bryant in a game earlier this season.
He eventually entered the game well after it was out of reach. The World team tried to make a run but with USA ahead by 20 points, the World team was unable to make much of a dent. Doncic attempted three more threes, connecting on just one, and had what many considered the most athletic dunk of the evening.
Luka Doncic had to get in on the Rising Stars Dunk Contest action pic.twitter.com/3cXOsRey4w— Nick Angstadt (@NickVanExit) February 15, 2020
Team World fell to Team USA, 151-131.
Now, some stuff beyond the Luka Doncic-centric recap:
The presentation of this game was excellent
Though the contest featured questionable basketball at times, it was a delightful game to experience. Between the excellent uniforms (Team World’s were much better, I got to get me one of those Doncic jerseys), the outstanding court with the Chicago Skyline, and the announcers in Myles Turner and Donovan Mitchell, I can’t say I remember enjoying an exhibition match up that much in a long time.
Announcers who enjoy basketball are great
Speaking of Turner and Mitchell, talk about a pair of natural talents. Games like these can and often do go off the rails in terms of competitive balance. That results in a lot of space to fill since the game isn’t always that interesting. Both current players brought information about the guys on the court as well as a sense of joy about basketball. That’s not a thing I can say about most national NBA commentating crews. Those guys could learn a thing or two from this pair.
Luka Doncic’s Jordans were INCREDIBLE
I’ve never been a Jordan guy when it comes to sneakers. It’s not that I dislike them, but there hasn’t been a pair I actively wanted. That may change if this XXX4 colorway is somehow available to purchase. Just look at these things:
And if you can buy them somewhere, someone let me know!
Here’s the postgame podcast, Mavs Moneyball After Dark. If you can’t see the embed below “More from Mavs Moneyball”, click here. And if you haven’t yet, subscribe by searching “Mavs Moneyball podcast” into your favorite podcast app.