NEW YORK: Canadian Andrew Wiggins scored 22 points and earned Most Valuable Player honors on Friday in leading Team World to a 121-112 win over Team USA in the NBA Rising Stars Challenge.
Utah’s French center Rudy Gobert totaled 18 points and 12 rebounds for the international team of NBA rookies and sophomores, who took on a team of their US counterparts on the opening night of All-Star weekend.
The USA v The World was a new format for the game, which was originally a contest between teams of rookies and later featured rookies against second-year players.
As in prior editions of the exhibition, defense was at a minimum, although Gobert came up with a solid stop of Nets center Mason Plumlee late in the contest as the World was nursing a slim lead.
Chicago’s Montenegrin forward Nikola Mirotic and Bojan Bogdanovic, a Croatian who plays for the Brooklyn Nets, each scored 16 points, Bogdanovic making his mark on his home court at the Barclays Center.
Brooklyn will host All-Star Saturday events including the Slam Dunk Contest before Sunday’s All-Star game is held across town in Manhattan at Madison Square Garden.
Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks chipped in 12 points, 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals for the World.
Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng of Senegal chipped in 14 points.
Dieng’s dunk midway through the final period widened the World lead to 105-96.
Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and the Timberwolves’ Zach LaVine scored 22 points apiece for Team USA.
A layup by Trey Burke pulled Team USA within 112-109 before Wiggins, the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft, responded with a reverse layup with 1:33 remaining to rebuild the lead.