30-point contributions from both Kristaps Porzingis and Emmanuel Mundiay could not lead the World to a victory over USA at tonight's Rising Stars Challenge game at NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto.
USA emerged victorious by a score of 157-154 against the World with starting guard Zach LaVine of the Minnesota Timberwolves earning game MVP honors with 30 points, seven assists and four rebounds in the winning effort.
Air Canada Centre in downtown Toronto hosted the game, which featured the top rookie and sophomore players from around the league.
It was a closely contested matchup throughout. The game was divided into two 20-minute halves. World led 50-46 midway through the first, only to see USA rally to take 86-78 halftime lead. They never looked back after that
Mundiay, of the Denver Nuggets, and USA guard Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers traded multiple 3-point shots early in the game. LaVine and Norman Powell, among others, provided a number of highlight-reel buckets.
The overwhelming majority of the crowd unsurprisingly rooted on the World, which had three Canadian-born players on its roster. One of the largest ovations of the night didn't go to a Canadian at all, though.
New York Knicks rookie sensation Porzingis received high praise with each touch and basket. He helped push the World back into the game when he exploded in the second half, but it still wasn't enough.
The game ultimately came down to the wire. The World was able to close the score to within three points on multiple occasions, but costly misses and turnovers never allowed the team to get over the hump to tie or take the lead.
LaVine's performance in the game could be the start of a big weekend for the 20-year-old. His next challenge will be defending his Verizon Slam Dunk Contest crown on Saturday night.
He said after the Rising Stars Challenge MVP trophy presentation that he's more than ready to leave Toronto with two trophies in his possession.
"I'm going to get it," he said.
Zach Lavine Leads- USA Over Kristaps Porzingis and World in Rising Stars Challenge
4/ 5Oleh Indira Tanisyah