Team Barry’s Victory, First Edition Validates Premium Clutch Concept!

As usual, the All-Star Game begins with the Teen Show: The Rising Stars Challenge. You have to set your alarm for 3 am to see all the nuggets of the league gathered on the same floor. Spoiler alert, we really liked it!

Forget games between rookies and sophomores, or even Team USA vs. Team World, the Rising Stars Challenge was revamped this year. So instead of a conference, we’re entitled to a mini-tournament of four teams, each coached by an NBA legend. The principle is simple: there is no timer, except the clock at 24, the first pass to 50 goes to the final, which is at 25. So to the court, we had a clash between James’ team Worthy and Isiah Thomas’ team. Unsurprisingly, the little guys don’t get too wet on defense, but alternate between long runs and a few dunks to please the public. Zeke’s team managed well, but thanks to the Jalen brothers (Green and Suggs) they caught up. When we got past 40, the game finally got a little intense, and we even had a horror-worthy ending. Jalen Suggs nearly killed the game, but he choked on the pitch. Saddiq Bey connected the basket to Green’s big counter, then Desmond Bane picked up the fault for Suggs, who sent him to the free throw line. Ja Morant’s second-in-command didn’t break down for Cole Anthony’s antics and qualified the Isiah team for the final.

With no time to catch our breath, we continued on our way with the disciples of Rick Barry and Gary Payton. It was a pleasant surprise, because we started a duel that was significantly more serious than the first. We kept the rhythm, but we ended up with a little bit of goodwill on the defensive side, and we didn’t start shooting for yes or no. It’s finally getting serious. Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley showed the connection between Detroit and Cleveland as LaMelo Ball let Jaden McDaniels and Bones Hyland do the heavy lifting while little man Scottie Barnes gradually stepped out of his box. The two teams confronted each other, only to end the suspense. The final word eventually came to Jae’Sean Tate, who closed the shop with a big southpaw in traffic to give Barry the win. We’re celebrating here in Houston!

So we came to this famous final and the question was whether we would have a scene from the first meeting or a scene from the next meeting. Suffice to say we cross our fingers for the second option. The youngsters did not let us down, they had a tough game and good things from both sides. As in the semifinals, Team Isiah got off to the best start with the help of a fiery Precious Achiuwa, but the Detroit legend once again eased up to allow their opponents to come back to victory. Rick Barry’s men didn’t ask for much, and they’ll simply pull back at 13-2 to finish with Franz Wagner. The team that makes the best impression tonight wins.

Team Barry has won the Rising Stars Challenge! We don’t really know what to expect with this new format, and we’re pleasantly surprised by the more engaged players and the suspenseful ending. See if Adam Silver leaves the same concept next year, but we obviously won’t say no.

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