The Best of Friday Night’s NBA All-Star action

Watch as Drake and Kevin Hart comment after a heated celebrity game.

The NBA’s first All-Star Weekend outside of the U.S. kicked off Friday night with the Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Challenge. It was a fun night that featured pre-planned gimmicks, plenty of highlights, and absolutely no defence. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.


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Here are the best moments from Friday night’s action:

Another win for Milos!!!!!: Canadian tennis star Eugenie Bouchard looked, well, out of place on the basketball court, but Milos Raonic—signature sleeve and all—came to play.

Is this technically a dunk? Maybe. But in a celebrity game it’s the equivalent of a reverse 360 windmill. Kudos to Raonic, whose team got the win.

Kristaps Porzingis continues to strike fear into future NBA opponents: Porzingis was on fire in the second half of the Rising Stars Challenge as Team World nearly came back to beat Team USA. With 30 points on the night, the New York Knicks rookie put his game on display, finishing with authority at the rim, running the floor, and being 7-foot-3. But it was his stroke from beyond the arc that should leave the rest of the NBA frightened at the notion of what the 20-year-old may develop into as a player. He hit 5-of-8 from deep, including a number of trailing threes that, as the years goes on, will continue to force opposing bigs out to cover him at the line. Or try, anyways.

Andrew Wiggins leaves the hometown crowd happy: He may not have repeated as Rising Stars MVP (Minnesota Timberwolves teammate Zach LaVine, who dropped 30, took home the award this year, likely the first of two trophies he’ll return to Minny with after this weekend), but Wiggins put on a show in front of the Air Canada Centre crowd. Maple Jordan finished with 29 points on 13-of-15 shooting and put his athleticism on display time-and-time again. Wiggins is such a fluid athlete that sometimes it seems effortless, and in a game like Friday’s, it probably was.

Emmanuel Mudiay shows out: After a rocky start to his rookie campaign, the Denver Nuggets point guard has quietly been starting to put it together as of late. So for those following the Nuggets closely (and really, any Raptors fan should be—the team can own their first round pick this year) his monster outing should come as little surprise. Mudiay dropped 10 points in the first five minutes, setting the tone for the night. The seventh pick of the 2015 draft was in his element in what was a wide-open game. He had a game-high 21 points and seven dimes in 12 first-half minutes. And he was getting the homegrown talent involved, like this fancy pass to Wiggins for the crowd-pleasing slam:

Win Butler: MVP of post-game spee—: The Arcade Fire lead singer put his big man skills on display, earning MVP honours in leading Canada to the win. His post play, rebounding, and knack for scoring around the hoop were all very nice, but it was his post-game speech that stood out. As Butler brought up the U.S. election and began preaching the virtues of Canada to the American television audience, citing health care and compassion for others, before being cut off by ESPN’s Sage Steele. As Steele put it, “We’re here to talk celebrity stuff.”

Awkward.

Jabari Parker puts Porzingis on a poster: Sure, he only had 12 points, but Parker, the second-overall pick in 2014 who missed nearly all of his rookie season after tearing his ACL and has been inconsistent throughout his sophomore campaign, sent out a pair of reminders as to why many scouts thought he had the ability to be a franchise-type player coming out of Duke. First, there was a nasty windmill dunk. But he followed it up with the most clutch play of the night.

With Team World trailing by just three points with 16 seconds left in what was a surprisingly close game (it should be noted that this is likely the only Rising Stars game on record in which coaches had to diagram out-of-timeout plays and referees conducted replay reviews in the waning moments), Parker caught an inbounds pass from LaVine and sealed the USA win with this viscous slam over the tallest player on the floor.

Canada forever settles the Canada vs. USA rivalry: We will always have the 2016 Celebrity Game. Always.


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