The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge featured four members of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night, and all four players from the Wine and Gold did very well.
Cavaliers Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller all played for Team Shaq, while Tristan Thompson played for Team Chuck. Team Chuck won the game by a score of 163 to 135.
Irving, the MVP of last year’s BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, had another outstanding night as he scored 32 points, which made him his team’s leading scorer and the second-leading scorer for the game. Irving shot 14 of 20 from the field, and 4 of 8 from behind the three-point line. He also passed out six assists, pulled down six rebounds and recorded one steal. He had several spectacular plays, and was one of the biggest stars of the game.
Waiters scored fewer points than Irving, but actually may have played better on offense. The rookie guard scored 23 points, while shooting an outstanding 11 of 12 from the field. His points included a few uncontested dunks at the very end of the game when the teams stopped playing defense and allowed open dunks, but it was still a great night of offense for Waiters. He also passed out three assists and recorded one steal, and ended up as the second-highest scorer for Team Shaq.
Thompson tied as the second-highest scorer for Team Chuck, as he poured in 20 points. Team Chuck was led by Kenneth Faried, who had 40 points. Kawhi Leonard, meanwhile, scored 20 points to tie Thompson as the second-highest scorer.
Thompson shot an outstanding 9 of 10 from the field, and tied for game-high honors with ten rebounds. It was a big night for Thompson, and it was great to see him do so well.
Zeller had a quieter game than his teammates, as he scored four points on 1 of 2 shooting. He also recorded four rebounds, one assist and one steal. It wasn’t a spectacular game, but it was a solid and steady night, which is how the rookie has played so far this year for the Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers, as a whole, scored 79 points and shot 35 for 44, which is pretty amazing. The lack of defense at times definitely helped the shooting, but the Cavaliers players made several contested baskets, including some deep shots, and looked very good.
The first half of the season has been tough for the Cavaliers, but it was great to see four members of the team do so well in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge. Fans should expect to the four players build on the experience of playing in this game, and they should also expect to see the team continue to improve in the second half of the season and become a playoff team in the next few years.