Minnesota Timberwolves wing Josh Okogie came off the bench and scored only five points in Team World's loss to Team USA in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Team World had a 10-point halftime lead but was outscored by a 44-24 margin in the third quarter and could never quite catch up in the final frame. Ultimately, they were outpaced by 30 points in the second half alone, leading to a 151-131 loss.
Last year, Okogie scored 13 points for Team World and had a memorable dunk. This year, Okogie had just five points off the bench in 16 minutes. All of his scoring was in the first half as he shot 2-of-5 from the field and 1-of-4 from 3-point range. He also pitched in five assists and three rebounds but committed five turnovers as well.
Okogie did have an impressive block as Team World attempted a comeback early in the fourth quarter. The block led to a fastbreak, and Okogie sprinted down the floor and was fed for an open 3-point attempt. The shot rimmed out, but Team World got the rebound and a putback dunk to help them inch closer.
Ultimately, however, the World reserves struggled. Okogie had a plus-minus mark of -28 on the night, along with four other bench players. Four of the five starters for Team World finished with a plus-minus of +8.
This went along with the thinking that while Team World had arguably the two best players on the floor coming into the game in Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Team USA had a much deeper 10-man roster.
Let's take a look at a few of our nominees for unofficial award-winners.
Rising Star Challenge Awards
Most Valuable Player
Miles Bridges, Charlotte Hornets (Team USA)
Okay, so this is the one actual award-winner form the exhibition.
While Bridges wasn't the high-scorer on the winning team, he did have the most impressive all-around line. he finished with 20 points (8-12 FG, 3-7 3P, 1-2 FT), five rebounds, five assists, and three steals with only one turnover.
Bridges was a +33 on the night along with the rest of the five-man bench unit that dominated Team World. He had a solid game on both sides of the floor and edged out teammates Eric Paschall (game-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting) and Collin Sexton (21 points on 9-of-14 shooting) for MVP honors.
Nobody, (Both Teams)
There were far too many missed dunks in this one, espeically in the final minutes when both teams were taking turns *trying* to throw down a variety of dunks, including 360-degree and between-the-legs attempts.
Zion Williamson may have gotten this award except for his multiple misses at the end of the fourth quarter. He did have a couple of literal rim-rockers late in the second quarter, including one that appeared to cause the basket to become less-than-level.
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks (Team USA)
In the opening minutes of the game, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young, who will also start the main event on Sunday evening, dribbled between his defenders legs en route to the rim.
Unfortunately, that was the best play we saw from Young on the night. He finished with 18 points and seven assists and shot 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, but that was easily the most electric play that he was a part of.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (Team World)
Doncic, who will also start Sunday's All-Star Game, had the best shot of the night, and it wasn't close.
Doncic began to dribble the ball up the court with about seven second left in the second quarter. He deliberately slowed down as he neared the timeline, launching a shot from just beyond half-court with about just under two seconds left. He timed it perfectly, banking in a 3-pointer as time expired.
It was a fantastic display of the perfect blend of the confidence, cockiness, and raw, natural ability for which fans have already come to adore Doncic.
There aren't any other Wolves players participating this weekend, but that doesn't mean we won't be busy here at Dunking With Wolves. Enjoy All-Star Weekend, everybody.