Photo by Beacon Journal
By Miles Johnson, Sports Editor
CLEVELAND – The new and improved NBA Skills Challenge did not disappoint. There were three teams including The Rooks, The Cavs, and The Antetokounmpos. The Cavs, including standout rookie Evan Mobley, and first time All-Stars Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland took home the crown.
The new Skills Challenge has four rounds: team shooting, team passing, team relay and the half-court shot. The first two rounds are 100 points each and the third is 200 points.
The Cavs won the first round after Garland got crazy hot from the 3-point line. But the Cavs lost the next two rounds after The Antetokounmpo brothers – Giannis, Alex and Kostas – won the passing round and The Rooks – including Josh Giddey, Cade Cunningham and Scottie Barnes – won the third round.
Since The Rooks won the third, they automatically advanced to the final round. To settle the tie between The Cavs and The Antetokounmpos, they picked the best shooter on each team and the first to hit a 3-pointer advanced. Thanasis faced off against Garland and the Cavs All-Star point guard continued his hot shooting streak by immediately sinking a 3 to advance.
In the final round, The Cavs and The Rooks faced off in a half-court shootout. The team that hit the half-court shot the fastest won.
It seemed as if The Rooks were going to run away with the trophy and spoil the hometown team’s win after Cunningham hit a half-court shot in just 9.9 seconds. But Cavs rookie Evan Mobley had other plans.
On his first attempt, Mobley sank a half-court shot in 5.5 seconds to win the Skills Challenge to go along with his team’s victory Friday night in the Rising Stars game.