CHARLOTTE – Los Angeles Lakers power forward Kyle Kuzma scored 35 points on Friday as the US team beat the World team 161-144 in the NBA’s annual All-Star Rising Stars game.
This was the US team’s second win in the five editions of the Rising Star exhibition match played under the new format.
“Last year, the World team kicked our butts. They came in here and beat us by 30. A lot of us kind of remembered that,” Kuzma said after the match.
“There’s a $25,000 bonus for winning the game. So that’s good,” he added.
Kuzma was supported by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, who scored 30 points and stood second in a list of eight US players who scored in double digits.
Team US dominated throughout the match and led the scoring in all four quarters, notching up an 84-71 lead by half time.
Rookie playmaker Trae Young, who plays for the Atlanta Hawks, shined as a reserve for the US team and had a double-double of 25 points and 10 assists as well as seven rebounds.
Sacramento Kings point guard Aaron Fox was also significant with 15 assists while another sophomore, Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, scored 20 points as well as making nine assists and catching seven rebounds.
Rookie power forward Marvin Bagley III, who was picked by the Kings in the last university draft, scored 14 points and had five rebounds.
The US team, coached by Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, converted 55 percent of their field goals and 31 percent of their three-pointers.
Defensively, they caught 47 rebounds, four less than the World.
Australian point guard Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers was the highest scorer for the World team with 28 points and eight assists, with nine World players reaching double digits.
Finnish power forward Lauri Markkanen, who plays for the Chicago Bulls, was the second-highest scorer with 21 points and six rebounds.
Rookie Slovenian forward Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks had 13 points and nine assists.
Doncic, who played for 24 minutes, converted five of 12 field throws including three of nine three-pointers.
Bahamian center Deandre Ayton, who plays for the Phoenix Suns, scored 15 points and had eight rebounds and five assists.
The World team was coached by legendary German power forward Dirk Nowitzki, 40, who is also set to play in the All Stars game, being invited to his 14th All Stars since he arrived in the NBA in 1998 to play for the Mavericks, a team he has stayed with ever since.