This game wasn’t super entertaining to start with. Yes, there were a lot of three pointers attempted. And there were a few nice dunks. But defense was really an after though as both teams really just got the ball up and down the court and rarely made any major efforts to stop the other team. The northwest division was represented quite a bit in this game as Utah Jazz players Dante Exum and Trey Lyles joined Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns and a trio of Denver Nuggets players (Emmanuel Mudiay, Jamal Murray, and Nikola Jokic). Exum got the start because Mudiay is injured and it seemed like he would have an opportunity to shine. He started off well making a number of two handed dunks, slashing into the lane and getting good passes from Jokic; however, he didn’t close out this game. Murray did. And Murray finished this game and ended up with the MVP for this game.
And I have to say he came into it with the attitude that he was going to lead his team to victory (something he has done a lot off internationally for Team Canada) -- and finished with 36 points (9 threes) 11 assists, 4 rebounds, and 1 steal. His performance stole the MVP away from early front-runner, and New Orleans Pelicans hometown player, Buddy Hield (who would finish with 28 points for the victorious World Team).
As for the Jazz guys, Dante had 11 points and 4 assists, and a number of dunks.
Trey had 12 points, 2 assists, 1 rebound, and two threes.
Dante, at 19 minutes, played the least out of any starter on his side.
The North West is going to be super tough if these guys ever reach their potential. Jokic (12 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals) flirted with a triple double and looks to be an All-Star caliber player at such a young age. And the World team seemed like they had a bigger chip on their shoulder tonight (even without Mudiay or the ever popular Joel Embiid who was also injured).
For Team USA Id’ have to say that Frank Kaminsky came to play (7/11 from downtown) off the bench, but outside of him and Jonathon Simmons not many guys were making the extra effort plays for the Stars and Stripes. The two guards for the Los Angeles Lakers, D’Angelo Russell and Brandon Ingram, really couldn’t have cared less in this exhibition.
So the World won. The Jazz did okay. The Northwest is going to be a problem going forward. And thus ends Friday Night! Tomorrow, at lunchtime, we get the NBA D League All-Star game (with Joel Bolomboy) which will be on NBA TV! See you there!