Rosters set for 2013 Rising Stars game on All-Star Friday featuring rookies and sophomores

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The rosters have been set for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, the game featuring the league’s top rookies and sophomores that will kick off the All-Star weekend festivities on Friday, Feb. 15.

Teams were drafted from the pool of available players by TNT analysts Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley, with Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio and Sacramento’s Isaiah Thomas being added as potential draftees by Kenny Smith.

TEAM SHAQ took Damian Lillard with his first pick, and ended up with Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors), Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Bobcats), Tyler Zeller (Cleveland), and Kemba Walker (Charlotte).

TEAM CHUCK is comprised of Rubio, Thomas, Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic), Brandon Knight (Detroit), Isaiah Thomas (Sacramento Kings), and Alexey Shved (Minnesota Timberwolves).

These games are always ridiculously high-scoring, and can be a lot of fun if the players take it at least a little bit seriously. On paper, Team Shaq would appear to have a huge advantage, as speed and guard play tends to rule these types of exhibitions.

Irving won the MVP of the 2012 game in Orlando by finishing with 34 points and nine assists, while going 8-8 from three-point distance.

Lonzo Ball finishes one-handed alley-oop on Willie Cauley-Stein (video)

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So much attention is paid to Lonzo Ball‘s father, jumper and passes. Those are the major storylines for the Lakers rookie.

But he has such a diverse skill set, and this is absolutely part of it. Ball is a savvy off-ball cutter in the halfcourt with the athleticism to get above the rim and finish alley-oops.

But finish them over 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein, who was tracking the play (though slightly late)? That’s an eye-opener, even in the Kings’ 113-102 win.

Marc Gasol makes 3/4-court shot just after buzzer (video)

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When Marc Gasol‘s 3/4-court attempt went through the net, it seemed to barely matter the ball left his hands just after the first-quarter buzzer. After all, the Grizzlies led the Mavericks by 15, anyway.

Turns out, Memphis really needed that basket.

Watch Knicks string together 28-0 run against Raptors

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Toronto has been the second best team in the East this young season. Not that anyone is really convinced they will be called that by the time we get to the playoffs (or even the All-Star break, or even Christmas), but for the first 16-18 games of the season their new move-the-ball offense had them at 11-5 and looking solid.

Wednesday night the Knicks dismantled the Raptors.

Especially in the third quarter when the Knicks went on a 28-0 run to blow the doors off the Raptors (video above). The Knicks dominated the third 41-10, when Toronto shot just 1-of-16 from the floor.

New York is gaining confidence with each win this season, they are a fun team to watch that is starting to find an identity (now that a certain three-sided shaped one is not being forced upon them). Kristaps Porzingis is a monster, and while the Knicks overpaid the market for Tim Hardaway Jr. he has lived up to his contract this season. With rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina showing some nice defense and playmaking skills as a rookie (although he is undoubtedly still a work in progress), you can see a path to a strong future unfolding. There are real reasons for hope in New York. Someone just keep James Dolan distracted and away from the basketball operations side of the building.

Devin Booker forces OT with deep turnaround buzzer-beating 3-pointer, but Bucks beat Suns (video)

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I’m not sure who benefited from Devin Booker‘s buzzer-beating, overtime-forcing 3-pointer. The Suns still lost to the Bucks, 113-107. The extra five minutes featured more of the same relatively bad basketball we’d seen between Phoenix (bad) and Milwaukee (shorthanded) through 48 minutes.

But darn if this shot wasn’t really cool and clutch.