McMillan Coaches Team Hill to Victory in Rising Stars Challenge

by Wheat Hotchkiss Writer/Editor

NEW ORLEANS – The Pacers are undefeated so far at All-Star Weekend 2014.

On Friday night, Pacers associate head coach Nate McMillan coached Team Hill to a 142-136 victory over Team Webber in the Rising Stars Challenge at Smoothie King Center.

The two teams, composed of the best NBA players in the their first or second year in the league, were drafted by former All-Stars and current Turner Sports television analysts Grant Hill and Chris Webber in a live draft on TNT last week. Hill and Webber then handed over the reins to the top assistants from the two coaching staffs that are coaching the East and West squads in Sunday night’s All-Star Game.

McMillan, in his first year working under Pacers head coach Frank Vogel, headed up Team Hill, while Rex Kalamian, the top assistant for Scott Brooks’ Oklahoma City Thunder staff, coached Team Webber.

Friday’s contest was an up-and-down affair, with the league’s best young players putting on an offensive clinic for the fans. Though it was a relaxed atmosphere for most of the night, both teams ratcheted up the intensity level with the score tight in the final minutes.

McMillan’s Team Hill squad trailed 124-120 with just over three minutes remaining, but a pair of 3-pointers from Dion Waiters gave Team Hill a lead it would not relinquish.

"One of the things that I talked to the guys about was going out and playing the game the right way and forcing that team to have to come out and play," McMillan said after the game.

McMillan especially praised the effort and intensity from Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond, who took home MVP honors for his efforts for the victorious squad, scoring 30 points and grabbing 25 rebounds (14 on the offensive end).

"I think Drummond had in his mind that he wanted to put up a double-double," McMillan said. "...Every rebound that came off the board, he wanted."

Waiters led Team Hill with 31 points. Team Webber’s Tim Hardaway, Jr. led all scorers with 36 points.

Of local interest, former Pacers center Miles Plumlee hit both of his shots, scored four points and grabbed three rebounds in 15 minutes of action for Team Hill. The Warsaw, Ind. native’s younger brother, Mason Plumlee, had 20 points and seven rebounds for Team Webber. Team Webber also featured Indiana University graduate Victor Oladipo, who scored 13 points and dished out four assists.