The Friday night 2022 All-Star Weekend in the NBA began, first with a game of Celebrity and then with the Rising Stars Challenge. Barry’s team won this year’s event, being the first overall winner Kid Cunningham subordinate Detroit Pistons His name was MVP.
There was a whole new format this time around. Unlike in previous years, which featured a regular match between the Team Rookies and Sophomores, or Team USA versus Team World, this year’s event was a mini-tournament between four different teams. NBA legends Rick Barry, Isaiah Thomas, Gary Payton and James Worthy have drafted and coached the seven-player squad. Juniors, sophomores, and even G League Ignite players are included.
Moreover, instead of playing until the last bell, the teams played to the goal. In the first round, Team Isiah defeated Team Worthy, 50-49, while Team Barry defeated Team Payton, 50-48. Then, in the title match, Barry’s team took the trophy with a 25-20 victory over Ischia.
Here are the three main meals of the night:
1. Cunningham leads Barry’s team to victory, named MVP
Cade Cunningham was the first overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft less than a year ago, and the Detroit Pistons earned their first title and MVP. Well, it’s just a challenge to the rising stars, but it’s always fun to win, and Cunningham led Barry’s team to victory on Friday night, taking the MVP in the process.
He finished the game with five points, two rebounds and three assists in the championship game, which aren’t particularly great numbers until you consider they were only playing until 25. So not only did he directly contribute to a third of his team’s points, but also scored his last four points, Including the match-winning free throw.
“[Our goal was] Cunningham said, “I feel like we had the team to do that, and we had to go out and prove ourselves and get on the ship. I’m glad we did.”
With Cunningham in charge, Barry’s team went out and played a more structured form of basketball than we usually see at this event. They were doing real plays and sitting in real situations on the defensive end. The strategy, clearly articulated by the team’s general manager and coach, Rick Barry, paid off.
“I tried to get some diversification, get some size, get some guys who can shoot the ball and play basketball well,” Barry said. “I’m proud of these guys, because every one of them did a good job. It was great to see them play basketball. They really came out and played the way a game should be played.”
2. A successful new look
No competition in the All-Star Weekend has seen as many changes as the Rising Stars Challenge. In recent years it was Team USA against Team World, before that it was the captain position with TNT announcers serving as General Managers and even earlier it was Team Rookies vs. Sophomores.
This time they came out of the box with a mini tournament format featuring four different teams, all coached by different NBA legends: Isiah Thomas, James Worthy, Gary Payton and Ricky Barry. Each team had seven players, split between novices, sophomores, and, in a new twist, G League Ignite odds.
If that wasn’t enough, the league has also completely renewed matches. Instead of playing a normal four-quarter match, teams played to the target score. In the first round, both teams played to 50 points, and in the championship match they played to 25 points. The idea, obviously, was to make the event more significant and add some incentive for players to try hard.
So far it worked. This was by no means a playoff, but there was more defense and seriousness than we usually get in a Rising Stars Challenge – at least towards the end of the games. In general, it was not who – which Exciting – finishing the tournament with a free throw was a problem – but it was definitely more fun than usual.
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3. Barnes and Maxi ‘steal’ the show
Between the first round and the Championship Series, a new event emerged: the Clutch Challenge. The players formed teams of two and had to make shots from five different positions on the field, each representing a different snapshot of NBA history.
Here were the five shots:
- Magic Johnson’s Baby Sky Hook from the 1987 Finals
- The end of Charles Barkley’s playoff streak in 1993
- 1998 Reggie Miller Qualifier Winner
- 3 indicators for Ray Allen in the 2013 finals
- Damian Lillard series-ender in playoffs 2019
They didn’t have to recreate the plays, but simply make the shots from those locations as quickly as possible. In theory, the Magic Baby Sky Hook located a few meters away should have been the easiest part of the entire competition, but that wasn’t the case for Scotty Barnes And the Therese Maxi.
Young stars remained lost, missing and missing. Tell everyone they went 0 for 6 from this place and eventually ran out of time. It was by far the most memorable moment of the night and saw everyone crack up on the field.
“I’m in disbelief,” Barnes said then, shaking his head.
“Total coffee junkie. Tv ninja. Unapologetic problem solver. Beer expert.”