ORLANDO, Fla.Evan Turner said his goal for All-Star weekend was to have fun. Winning and playing well usually equate to a fun time, which is why Turner accomplished his goal on Friday night.
Turner and Team Chuck beat Team Shaq, 146-133, in the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge.
Turner, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, got the starting nod in the game ahead of John Wall, who was the top pick in that draft. That was a satisfying gesture, considering Turner was not named to this event a year ago, though Turner downplayed the significance.
I just wanted to get off to a good start and help the team win, Turner said. Thats what it is about.
He can thank fellow Chicago native Maurice Cheeks for putting him in the starting lineup. By virtue of having the best record in the west, the Oklahoma City staff will coach the Western All-Stars on Sunday and Chicagos staff will be in charge of the Eastern squad. The top assistant coaches from those respective staffs were assigned a Rising Stars team to coach.
Cheeks, who coached the Sixers for three-plus seasons before being fired in December of 2008, never coached Turner in Philadelphia but played him a team-high 14 minutes in the first half. Turner made 6 of 6 from the floor in the first, led Team Chuck in rebounding with seven and he also had a team-high six assists.
By games end, Turner had a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds while playing a game-high29 minutes. His assist total was seven.
You could see in Turner's eyes that he was chasing that triple-double.
It would have been cool, Turner said. It would have been a great thing, but we got the win. I dont know if you know results from past Rising Star games, but you get to enjoy yourself in the off-season is what you get. It was cool and I am glad I got to play.
Six guys who played on the nine-man rookie squad a year ago returned as sophomores this year. However, the NBA switched up the Friday night format, integrating the rookies and sophomores as opposed to the classes going head to head.
Charles Barkley and Shaquille ONeal drafted the rosters from the pool of players.
That did little to change the fact that there was no defense being played. Team Chuck started out by making 22 of its first 28 shot attempts. Barkleys squad ended up shooting 65 percent from the floor and 55 percent from three-point land.
Team Shaq shot 57 percent, but just 29 percent from behind the arc.
Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall pick last spring as well as Barkleys first pick, statistically stole the show, shooting 11 for 12 from the field and a perfect 8 of 8 from three for a game-high 34 points to earn MVP honors.
I played with John Diebler at Ohio State, Turner said of seeing the kind of lights-out shooting Irving displayed. Other than Diebler I have not seen somebody shoot like that before. He was ringing it up. He was hot tonight and I think it showed the type of level he is at.
Blake Griffins acrobatic dunks made for crowd pleasers. He had 10 points in 11 minutes.
Blake definitely flew a little bit, Turner said. That was pretty crazy, but Paul George also showed his athleticism.
Greg Monroe led Team Shaq with 19 points.
E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org.