Two of the players least talked about heading into Friday night's BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge ended up being two of the more talked about players at the NBA's All-Star weekend.
Dion Waiters, who is the sixth man for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. – averaging just over 20 minutes per game for the New York Knicks – put on a show in a three minute stretch during the second half of the game formerly known as the Rookie Sophomore Game.
After each scoring on some drives in the first half, the two went one-on-one in the second half, consistently matching up against each other and attempting to outshine the other.
Both players hit deep threes, demonstrated ankle-breaking moves, and demonstrated their offensive ability. Their teammates got out of the way and let the two shooting guards go to work, much to the delight of those in attendance, specifically Kevin Durant and James Harden who were constantly on their feet waiting to see what Waiters or Hardaway would do next.
Waiters made 15 consecutive points for Team Hill and Hardaway scored 10 in a row and 16 of 18 points. Waiters ended the game with 31 points on 10 of 14 shooting and 4-6 from three point range. He also added seven assists. Hardaway had 36 points by the end of the night, making seven of 16 from long range.
Despite their fantastic nights, neither Waiters nor Hardaway won the Rising Stars MVP. That honor went to the Detroit Pistons Andre Drummond, who scored 30 points and had 25 rebounds.
The final score was 142-136 in favor of Team Hilll. Second-year player Bradley Beal scored 21 points, had five rebounds, and four assists for Team Hill. Mason Plumlee had 20 points and seven rebounds in just under 19 minutes of play.
The All-Star festivities continue throughout this weekend, concluding with the All-Star game Sunday evening. Players will return to their teams on Monday and the regular season picks up Tuesday.
The Cavaliers play Tuesday night as they travel to take on the Philadelphia 76ers.
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