Skip to content

Kyrie Irving scores 34 points, named MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge

Feb 24, 2012, 11:55 PM EST

BBVA Rising Stars Challenge Getty Images

Kyrie Irving was the number one overall pick in last year’s NBA draft, but he was largely selected there for his ability to create for his teammates first, with his scoring being an afterthought. In the Rising Stars Challenge, which kicked off All-Star weekend on Friday, he showcased what’s possible for him offensively, scoring 34 points on just 13 shots to take home the event’s MVP trophy, while leading his team to an easy 146-133 victory at the Amway Center in Orlando.

Irving finished the night 12-for-13 from the field, while making all eight of his three-point attempts. It was a great performance, but one that he wish had occurred in a game that actually counted in the standings.

“It’s never occurred in my career,” he said of his shooting. “It’s kind of unfortunate that it comes in an All-Star game, but at the end of the day, it was fun to get out there with those talented guys. It was a great experience.”

While Irving’s shooting display was fantastic, overall the game was lacking in any real interest. The players largely played at half-speed or worse for the majority of the night, and the highlights — even when they were spectacular, as Ricky Rubio was in going through the legs of DeMarcus Cousins with the dribble before finding Blake Griffin for the alley-oop slam — weren’t frequent enough to keep the crowd from breaking its silence for most of the night.

This event has historically been a game which had stars of the Rookie and Sophomore classes playing against one another, but the league tried to infuse some life into it this year by having Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley mix the two classes, and draft the teams ahead of time playground-style. It may have generated additional interest in the days leading up to the event, but ultimately, with nothing on the line and with the fans in the building having no loyalty except to individual players, there was little-to-no effort made by either team to actually compete.

As usual, the game devolved into a slam dunk show in the final couple of minutes, with most players standing around while players took turns attempting ridiculous dunks. Last year’s MVP, John Wall, converted the best of the bunch, going behind his back with the ball while in mid-air before throwing it down one-handed — a dunk he said he’s converted only two times previously.

“I tried it once before in the Chris Paul All-Star game,” Wall said. “I just wanted to try it again, and luckily I made it. It was only my third time ever doing it, so I was shocked.”

Wall also had one of his dunk attempts thwarted by Greg Monroe, who surprised everyone by intercepting Wall’s bounce pass of the floor to himself while everyone else stood and watched.

There were other highlights, of course, but none as consistently satisfying as Irving’s stellar shooting. He knew it was a special night even while it was happening, doing the Jordan shrug a few times after knocking down three-pointer number eight.

“In the first half, when I hit four threes in a row, I just kept telling ‘em, I’m feeling it,” Irving said. “I’m proud of them for actually having confidence in me.

“It’s fun getting hot, especially in an All-Star game where millions of people are watching. It was an enjoyable game.”

Latest Posts
  1. Kendrick Perkins ready to play enforcer for LeBron James. He’s looking at you, Jonas Valanciunas.

    Mar 6, 2015, 4:50 PM EST

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptm2n2zjzda4nzewmdi2odvizmm0mdc3nzjkyzfjogi1 AP

    It’s starting to feel like the playoffs are coming, play is getting chippy.

  2. Royce White says he’s not done playing basketball

    Mar 6, 2015, 3:12 PM EST

    Royce White AP

    It would be a long road back for White, but there is a road.

  3. Kyle Lowry returning from injuries after ‘trash’ self-assessment

    Mar 6, 2015, 2:37 PM EST

    The Toronto Raptors took on the Golden State Warriors at the ACC Getty Images

    Raptors need their All-Star point guard to get on track

  4. Wesley Matthews’ injury will test Trail Blazers’ spacing

    Mar 6, 2015, 10:34 AM EST

    Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Robin Lopez, Nicolas Batum AP

    Portland can overcome loss of shooting guard, but it won’t be easy

  5. Larry Bird talks trash about Dominique Wilkins’ statue

    Mar 6, 2015, 9:07 AM EST

    Dominique Wilkins Statue Unveiling Ceremony Getty Images

    Former Celtics star continues what he began Wilkins’ rookie year

  6. Nuggets’ Wilson Chandler on lack of ‘grownups’ on Denver roster: ‘It’s probably true’

    Mar 5, 2015, 11:00 PM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets Getty Images

    Pacers’ David West made the assertion after Denver fired head coach Brian Shaw.

Featured video

Is Derrick Rose the next Penny Hardaway?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. R. Westbrook (8827)
  2. K. Durant (7798)
  3. D. Rose (6588)
  4. A. Davis (6572)
  5. K. Lowry (6522)
  1. D. Howard (6439)
  2. P. George (6220)
  3. D. Cousins (6122)
  4. L. James (5715)
  5. J. Butler (5696)