Canada upsets USA at eventful NBA All-Star Celebrity Game

Drake and Win Butler led the Canadians to a 74-64 victory over Kevin Hart’s American team at the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game.

TORONTO — Air balls, comedic bits and the odd quality play — the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game had a little bit of everything Friday night at the Ricoh Coliseum.

Serving as the on-court kickoff to a weekend of festivities building up to Sunday’s all-star game, fans were treated to an entertaining mix of characters who delivered a brand of basketball that was high on energy and short on flow.

Actor Jason Sudeikis showed off his shooting touch by burying a long jump shot right from the opening tip. That kicked off a 7-0 run for the American side that ended when tennis player Milos Raonic put Canada on the board with a layup.

Former Raptors star Tracy McGrady received one of the biggest ovations in the pre-game introductions. He got the crowd into it again early in the first quarter by passing the ball to himself off the backboard before laying in a finger-roll.

Many of the actors, musicians and television personalities in the lineup were showing their competitive side despite the dialled-down intensity. Arcade Fire singer Win Butler was taking no prisoners, driving hard to the basket with regularity.

Butler, who was rewarded after Canada’s 74-64 victory with the most valuable player award, keyed an 8-0 run that put Canada ahead 20-15 in the early going. Butler finished with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Raonic wowed the crowd by squeezing in a dunk in the dying seconds of the second quarter to give Canada a 37-28 halftime lead.

There were some funny moments too. The sight of the six-foot-eight McGrady posting up all five foot three of former Raptor Muggsy Bogues drew guffaws.

American coach Kevin Hart tried to give his team a boost by suiting up for the second half. He came trotting out from the locker-room to the theme of "Rocky" and hammed it up with his teammates before taking the court.

Meanwhile, Canadian coach Drake — looking dapper in a resplendent suit — remained on the sideline. The Toronto rapper was presented with a key to the city by Mayor John Tory before the game.

Drake had his share of fans in the 7,800-seat venue, but actor Kris Wu was just as popular on this night. A few hundred fans, many armed with colourful Kris Wu posters, took in the pre-game shootaround and hollered with delight at his every move.

Wu showed he had game on the court, slicing his way through the American defence for a driving layup early in the fourth quarter and giving Canada a 60-53 lead with another bucket moments later.

Actor Stephan James iced the victory with a three-pointer in the final minute. The Canadian team also included former NBA star Rick Fox, television personalities Drew and Jonathan Scott, former WNBA star Tammy Sutton-Brown and actor Tom Cavanagh.

The American team was rounded out by former Raptor Chauncey Billups, WNBA player Elena Delle Donne, Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry and actors Nick Cannon, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Anthony Anderson and Bryshere Gray.

Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista, Raptors all-star guard DeMar DeRozan and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash helped Drake out with coaching duties.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.