Kenneth Faried may have been the MVP of the Rising Stars challenge on Friday night, but it was the Cavaliers youngsters who stole the show. With four Cavaliers (Irving, Thompson, Waiters, and Zeller) in the game there was rarely a minute of action that went by where a Cavalier was not involved.
During a stretch in the middle of the first half, with all four Cavs on the floor, the game went Waiters dunk, Tristan alley-oop, Kyrie open 3, and then a Tristan jump hook. The Cavaliers showed themselves well in a game that is less of a game and more of a skills exhibition. Kyrie very well could have been the MVP over Faried, scoring 32 points, handing out 6 assists, and grabbing 6 rebounds. And in a game full of highlights, Kyrie had the highlight of all highlights. Late in the second half Irving and Brandon Knight were isolated on the wing, Kyrie lulled Knight to sleep with some yo-yo like handles, stepped back, causing Knight to fall to the ground, and drained an 18 footer. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s a beauty.
A few minutes later, Dion added the dunk of the night. For some reason or another all nine other guys on the floor cleared out for Waiters to throw down a between the legs jam. It’s unclear what prompted the entire game to stop and allow Waiters to do his dunk, but I have a hunch there were a few shekels on the line if in fact Dion could pull it off.
Waiters chipped in with 23 points, making him the game’s third leading scorer behind Faried and Irving, including this flush off the backboard from Kemba Walker.
Tristan Thompson also got into the action, adding 20 points to team Chuck’s 163-135 win.
While Irving, Waiters, and Thompson all shined bright, Tyler Zeller looked a little out of place with high flying athletes running all around him, taking only 2 shots and scoring just 4 points.
The frantic pace and absence of defense led to highlights all around, but very little can be taken away from this game that will carry over into the real season. It was a night for Cavalier fans to watch their youngsters on the national stage, and any night where Dion goes 11-12 from the floor is a fun night.
Follow Ryan Jones on Twitter @CzarJonesey7