When the Mtn Dew Ice Rising Stars tipped off the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend, Atlanta Hawks rookie point guard Trae Young began the game on the bench. The former Oklahoma Sooners star didn’t take long to make a splash and steal the show upon entering the game, on his way to finishing with 25 points, 10 assists and 7 boards in the Team USA win.
Trae Young nearly dropped a triple-double in the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge pic.twitter.com/F8onQJqeg2— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 16, 2019
The Norman, Okla., native showed off a whole lot of flair on the national stage all night long. Here’s Trae putting the bounce, rock and skates on DeAndre Ayton.
Even though Trae was unable to cash in on this next one, the ridiculous nutmeg deserves another (few) look(s).
If Trae Young would’ve finished the crossover sequence on Josh Okogie in the Rising Stars game.. pic.twitter.com/vlQ0TzcnQ7— kingtisemedia (@kingtisemedia) February 16, 2019
Trae also delivered the dopest dish of the night, which hyped up All-Star Kyrie Irving on the sideline.
Kyrie Irving coaching & watching Trae Young cook in the Rising Stars game pic.twitter.com/5S7gOxY4Co— kingtisemedia (@kingtisemedia) February 16, 2019
The USA team defeated the World team in the contest, 161-144, to avenge last season’s defeat. Although Trae was in the conversation for the game’s MVP, the honors ultimately went to Lakers second-year forward Kyle Kuzma, who finished with 35 points.
Hawks’ John Collins and Trae Young were part of Team USA’s 161-144 win over Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend Friday night in Charlotte. https://t.co/a3z9TjylWx— AJC (@ajc) February 16, 2019
Hawks rookie Trae Young has known players like De'Aaron Fox, Jayson Tatum and Donovan Mitchell since high school.— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) February 16, 2019
Prior to dropping 25 pts, 10 assists and 7 rebounds in the Rising Stars game, he discussed how excited he was to put on a show at all-star weekend with his friends. pic.twitter.com/EsBTOQd9O8
Trae Young 2019 Rising Stars Game Highlights:
The electrifying Hawks rookie wasn’t done on the weekend yet and gave the fans a show in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday night. Coming in considered one of the top three favorites to win the contest, Trae didn’t disappoint.
Odds to win the NBA Skills Challenge:— OddsShark (@OddsShark) February 17, 2019
De'Aaron Fox +275
Luka Doncic +275
Trae Young +325
Mike Conley +550
Jayson Tatum +650
Nikola Jokic +650
Kyle Kuzma +700
Nikola Vucevic +1000
Taking out Sacramento sophomore speedster D’Aaron Fox in the first round, Trae again stole the crowd on this evening as he did the last. The next round would be Mavs rookie Luka Doncic’s turn against Trae, and the former Sooner bested his contemporary. Another win and a final against Celtics second-year forward Jayson Tatum awaited the former OU standout to cap the event, setting the stage for an exciting evening of All-Star fun.
It took nearly a half-court heave from Tatum to take out Trae Young — a move right out of the sharpshooting phenom’s playbook — in the final round to win the contest. Finishing in second place in the Skills Challenge and delivering an impressive performance in the Rising Stars game, it was one hell of a first All-Star weekend in what should be many to come for the 20-year-old Young.
My favorite Sooner hoopster of all time and current leading scorer for the Sacramento Kings, Buddy Hield, repped the Crimson & Cream on All-Star Saturday’s next event, the Mtn Dew 3-Point Contest. Buddy Buckets finished with 26 points, behind only Stephen Curry, in a blistering first round showing to advance to the final round along with the former two-time MVP and Nets forward Joe Harris.
It felt good for Sooners fans to see Buddy’s smooth, effortless stroke lighting up the Charlotte crowd like he did Norman and the college basketball world in 2016. Unfortunately, his momentum ran out in the finals after a slow start resulted in a final score of 19, short of Curry’s 25 and Harris’ contest-winning 26.
But Buddy was his humble, lovable self as always in the post-contest presser.
I can just feel Buddy’s got a win coming in this thing in the future. Keep ballin’ out, Mr. Buckets.
Finally, the third and final Sooner to take the court during the weekend was Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin, who made his sixth All-Star appearance as a reserve for Team Giannis on Sunday night.
Entering the game late in the first quarter, Blake made his presence felt with a couple of dunks right off the bat.
The 2011 Slam Dunk champ also connected on a couple of shots from deep, the most remarkable and difference-making evolution in his game as his career rolls on.
Team Giannis got out to a 20-point lead only to see it evaporate quickly in the second half, as Team LeBron mounted a furious rally to pull out the win, 178-164, in Charlotte.
Congrats to the dynamic Sooner trio of Blake, Buddy and Trae for representing Oklahoma basketball impressively amongst the NBA’s brightest and most talented stars.
As the regular season resumes later this week, Blake Griffin and the Pistons (26-30), in a tie for the eighth seed and firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt in the East, head to Atlanta to face Trae Young and the Hawks (19-39). Playing at an all-time level, Blake’s resurgence has the Motor City in hope of making a return to the post-season for the first time since 2016.
Out west, Buddy Hield and the Kings (30-27) head to Golden State this Thursday as they also continue their pursuit of ending the NBA’s longest active playoff drought.
Upcoming regular season game schedule:
Blake Griffin - 2/22 @ Hawks, 2/23 @ Heat
Trae Young - 2/22 vs Pistons, 2/23 vs Suns