Rising Stars Peaking at All-Star Weekend
Photos By Christopher Doomes
By Zoria McClerklin, Sports Producer
SALT LAKE CITY – Although Jose Alvarado came away with the MVP trophy, Quentin Grimes made sure to put the rest of the league on notice with his play. The second-year guard from the New York Knicks left the game with an efficient 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting but Team Joakim fell to Team Pau 25-20.
Similar to last year, the Rising Stars Challenge followed the four-team, three-game mini-tournament format. This week the NBA’s All-Star festivities are taking place at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City from Friday through Sunday, Feb. 17-19.
Teams were named after the former NBA stars who coached them. Prior to the game, former Bulls center Joakim Noah was asked about his expectations for his team.
“I want to see defensive slides, help side defense, and a lot of communication. It’s time to go get it,” Noah said.
But the team coached by Hall of Fame nominee Pau Gasol got the championship.
Like his blazing shooting performance in Game 2 of the semi-finals, Grimes came in hot once more as he hit a nice catch and shot a 3-pointer from the left wing. After a few trips down the court, he came down again, sinking a deep hesitation three from the right wing to tie the game at 16 apiece.
As the game progressed, both teams picked up their defensive intensity. Trailing in crunch time, Scottie Barnes used his muscular physique to back down Evan Mosley for a short hook shot, placing Team Pau in the lead 20-18.
Team Joakim responded with two major free throws by Jalen Williams. Unfortunately for Team Joakim fans, those were their last points.
While much can be said about Alvarado’s pestiness on the defensive end, his offense stole the show. With 10 seconds left on the shot clock, Alvarado sprinted across the 3-point line to sink a fade-away game-winner, sealing the Jordan Rising Stars Challenge championship.