Rodions Kurucs had the better individual night of the 2 Brooklyn Nets in the Rising Stars Challenge Friday, but Jarrett Allen and Team USA got the win.
The meeting at the rim between Brooklyn Nets teammates Jarrett Allen and Rodions Kurucs never materialized Friday night during the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, but while Kurucs had the better numbers, it was Allen and Team USA that got the victory.
Kurucs finished with 10 points, five assists and four rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench for Team World, while Allen played 14 minutes and logged two points, five rebounds and two blocks for Team USA.
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But Team USA, behind 35 points from MVP Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers, took down Team World 161-144, snapping a two-year losing streak for the U.S. squad in the game.
Kurucs was 4-for-9 shooting and knocked down 2-of-6 from deep in a game nearly devoid of defense (a shocking development for All-Star Weekend, beyond a doubt).
Allen missed his only two shot attempts, including a very deep 3-pointer in the first half, but knocked down a pair of free throws.
Allen entered the game with 3:03 left in the first quarter, replacing Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics, and got two quick rebounds.
He missed a 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds left, an airball that landed in the hands of Sacramento Kings rookie Marvin Bagley III for a dunk, putting Team USA up 40-30 at the quarter break.
Allen left with 6:40 to go in the first half in favor of Sacramento point guard De’Aaron Fox.
Kurucs also entered in the first quarter, stepping in for reigning MVP Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Kings with 4:37 left in the period. Shortly after coming in, Kurucs got an offensive rebound and felt Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves for a layup.
He missed his first two shots, both from deep, before knocking down his first long-range bomb with 1:07 left in the quarter.
Kurucs later got his second assists, setting up Cleveland Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman for a layup and knocked down his second 3 of the night with 7:19 left in the first half before feeding Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers on an alley-oop with 6:40 remaining that got Team World back to within two points at 52-50.
He left the game in favor of Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic just after the assist to Simmons.
Allen started the second half for Team USA and got the first of his two blocks when he snuffed out a reverse layup attempt by Okogie before getting another of his signature blocks of a dunk when he rejected Simmons at the rim.
Allen checked out in favor of Tatum with 4:58 left in the third and returned with 7:22 remaining in the fourth quarter when he subbed in for Bagley. He got to the foul line with 6:04 left after getting hacked by Simmons and made both attempts to put Team USA up 137-129.
He picked up an assist with 5:09 to go when he hit a cutting Kuzma for a dunk and sat down with 3:48 on the clock when Fox re-entered the game.
Kurucs returned to the game to replace Okogie with 4:58 left in the third quarter, getting assists on a 3-pointer by LA Clippers rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a dunk by OG Anunoby of the Toronto Raptors.
Gilgeous-Alexander returned the favor late in the third quarter, feeding Kurucs for a dunk.
Kurucs hit double figures with 9:09 to go in the game, scoring a layup off a Doncic pass. He was replaced by Simmons with 7:22 left and did not return.
Defense was a bit of a myth in this one. Team USA got 30 points and a team-high nine rebounds from Tatum, 25 points and 10 assists from Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young and 20 points and five steals from Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.
Fox had 16 assists and five steals for Team USA.
Simmons paced Team World with 28 points and Lauri Markkanen of the Chicago Bulls added 21. Phoenix Suns rookie Deandre Ayton had eight rebounds to go with 15 points, while Doncic finished with nine assists and 13 points.
All-Star Saturday Night will feature the Skills Competition, Three-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest, with Joe Harris representing the Brooklyn Nets in the Three-Point competition. The festivities begin at 7 p.m. Eastern.