Cleveland Cavaliers rookie Kyrie Irving scored 34 points to lead Team Chuck to a 146-133 win against Team Shaq and the New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin in the National Basketball Association’s Rising Stars Challenge during All-Star weekend.
Lin, who has averaged 22.6 points and 8.7 assists in 12 games since taking over as the Knicks’ point guard, was held to two points on 1-for-4 shooting last night at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida.
“Just to be here and to see the company and all the players that are here,” Lin said in a pregame news conference. “It’s just been unbelievable, and I’m just trying to take it all in and embrace it and enjoy it every step of the way.”
Lin and the Miami Heat’s Norris Cole were added to the pool of “rising stars” at the last minute by honorary commissioner Kenny Smith.
Two days before general managers Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal drafted their teams, Harvard University graduate Lin had become the only player to score more than 20 points and win each of his first five starts since the NBA merged with the American Basketball Association in 1976.
Barkley passed on Lin in favor of Irving, although he conceded the Knicks’ player had had “a fantastic week.”
“It wasn’t very difficult to be honest,” Barkley said after he put together his team. “Irving is terrific.”
Irving hit all eight of his 3-point shots and 12 of 13 field goal attempts. The Indiana Pacers’ Paul George scored 23 points and the Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points for Team Chuck, which had a 77-65 halftime advantage.
Cavaliers rookie Tristan Thompson scored 20 points, hitting 10 of 11 field goal attempts, for Team Shaq, and the Detroit Pistons’ Greg Monroe had 19 points.
Two mixed teams of NBA rookies and sophomores participated in the game, which started the three-day weekend that culminates with the All-Star Game tomorrow night.