Rookies 103, Sophomores 97
Richardson, Rookies Stuff the Sophs
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 9 (Ticker) -- This wasn't the trophy Jason Richardson scored 26 points and made Mike Miller eat his words as the Rookies defeated the Sophomores, 103-97, in the 'got milk?' Rookie Challenge at NBA All-Star Weekend on Saturday.
Richardson made 11-of-18 shots and was named Most Valuable Player. The athletic guard of the Golden State Warriors played 22 minutes and was very active but said he had plenty left for the NBA.com Slam Dunk Presented by RealOne ... which he won a few hours later.
Richardson showed he is much more than a leaper. He had a handful of rim-rattling dunks but also showed a nice touch from the perimeter.
Early in the second half, Richardson had back-to-back 3-pointers and a long jumper. He capped his spectacular game with a reverse follow dunk that gave the Rookies a 98-92 lead with 1:20 remaining.
Richardson posted the third-highest point total in the eight-year history of the game, which now pits first-year players against second-year players. Only Kobe Bryant, with 31 in 1997, and Wally Szczerbiak, with 27 last year, have scored more.
At practice on Friday, Miller said the Sophomores would win 130-100. The swingman of the Orlando Magic made just 1-of-7 shots and became a two-time loser in this event, having lost as a rookie last year.
"We just kept quiet and knew what we were going to do today," said Richardson. "I wanted to beat those guys so bad."
"You knew they were going to come with it and we were going to come with it," Miller said. "We just waited too long to turn it on. You have to give credit to them, they played."
Shane Battier of the Memphis Grizzlies scored 15 points and Zeljko Rebraca of the Detroit Pistons added 14 and nine rebounds for the Rookies, who shot 55 percent (45-of-82), picking up the pace in the second half.
"I was impressed with -- I can't pronounce his name, from Detroit," Richardson said. "I haven't watched him play that much, but he's a pretty good ballplayer."
With 12:24 left, Jason Richardson came off a screen and threw down a one-hand hammer dunk over Cleveland 7-footer Chris Mihm that brought oohs from the laid-back First Union Center crowd and gave the Rookies the lead for good at 72-71. He added a 360 dunk off a fast break just over a minute later.
"That's a preview of later," Jason Richardson said.
Battier took over from there, making four mid-range jumpers over the next five minutes to help extend the lead to 92-81 with 5:22 left.
Jason Richardson scored 11 points in the first half but was outdone by Quentin Richardson, who scored 21 points -- many off offensive rebounds.
When Quentin Richardson took a seat, Miles took over. The 6-10 forward played point guard and did rather well, throwing a lob that defending Slam Dunk champion Desmond Mason could not put home, flipping in a dipsy-doo finger roll and going behind the back with a dribble before whipping a behind-the-back pass to Sacramento's Hedo Turkoglu for a layup and a 37-36 lead.
Of course, Quentin Richardson and Miles flashed their trademark "noggin knock" after nearly every basket.
The Rookies went to halftime trailing 58-51, but not before Jason Richardson threw down a vicious rock-the-baby dunk in the last minute.
New Jersey's Kenyon Martin scored 17 points and Chicago's Marcus Fizer grabbed 14 rebounds for the Sophomores, who held a 54-39 edge on the glass.
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