PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 9 -- Because they'll cost points against your score, "J" and "Q" are two letters you don't want at the end of a game of Scrabble.

But in the 'got milk?' Rookie Challenge on Saturday, "J" and "Q", two young men from the Midwest who have taken their considerable skills to the West Coast, served up the points and pleased the fans quite well.

For Golden State's dynamic rookie Jason Richardson, Saturday was his chance to showcase his silky touch from the outside and his thunderous ability throw it down at the rim on a national stage. His 26 points for the Rookie team, which included 3-for-5 shooting from three-point range and numerous rim-rocking slams, earned him the game's MVP trophy.


"Q" had 22 points and nine rebounds.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images/NBAE
Jason was thrilled to have performed well in the spotlight's glare.

"It was very important for me today," said Jason, who also participated in the dunk contest. "The Warriors aren't on TV a lot, so it felt good to get a chance to play here in the East and on national TV."

Being on national TV isn't something new for the Clippers' second-year guard, Quentin Richardson. He and the Clippers have a perfect 3-0 record when appearing on cable systems across the country.

"We like to play well all the time," Quentin said. "But we know when we're on national TV. We don't get there too much, so maybe we do play a little harder."

Mr. Stern, the Richardsons are ready for their close-ups. Sometimes you can get too close, as Cleveland's Chris Mihm did late in the second half. Jason brought the crowd to its feet when he met Mihm on the low right block and tomahawked over him. Moments later, he sealed the Rookies' 103-97 win over the Sophomore team with a reverse follow-up dunk.

"We took this game seriously," Jason said. "When I take the floor, I want to win whether itís the All-Star Game or the regular season.

"Hopefully, winning this MVP award will help my confidence in the second half of the season. I want to be a little more aggressive and I want help the Warriors get to 30 wins. Maybe next year, we can make the playoffs."

That's the hope for the Clippers this year, who are a game behind Utah for the final playoff spot in the West. In the first half, Quentin Richardson and Clippers teammate Darius Miles dominated the first half as prime-time players would in a playoff game. Quentin had 21 points.

"He was phenomenal in the first half," said Chuck Daly, coach of the Sophomores.

Jason, who is no relation to Quentin, said he had a lot of respect for Q's game.

"He's physical and he's a great shooter," Jason said of Quentin. "I watched him a lot when he was in college [at DePaul].

"Hopefully, he'll be here next year as an All-Star."

Quentin said he too is looking forward to more matchups with Jason.

"He's fun to play with and against," Quentin said of Jason. "I tell people he's my cousin and he learned from me.

"I saw him during AAU games when he was younger and knew he could play. I'm excited, we should have some good battles during the season and at more All-Star games."