Team USA Rallies to Beat Team World, Bridges Claims MVP Honors
Charlotte Trio Spurs Huge 3rd-Quarter Swing at NBA Rising Stars Challenge
A historic All-Star Weekend for the Charlotte Hornets got a lot more momentous with Miles Bridges winning Rising Stars Challenge MVP honors in Team USA’s 151-131 victory over Team World on Friday, Feb. 14 at the United Center in Chicago.
The second-year forward finished with 20 points on 8-of-12 shooting, five rebounds, five assists and three steals in 20 minutes off the bench in the win. Bridges is now the first player in franchise history to ever garner MVP honors at this particular event and joins Glen Rice as the only Hornet to bring home All-Star Weekend hardware of any kind (1997 All-Star Game MVP).
“I really just wanted to come out and have fun, enjoy the guys, and put on a show for the fans,” said Bridges afterwards. “I mean, I'm happy I got the MVP. I really thought Eric Paschall or Collin Sexton was going to get it because they had more points than me, but I'm happy I got it too.
Team World led by nine after the opening 10 minutes, eventually inching the advantage to double figures with an 81-71 halftime lead. Out of the break, Bridges (13), Devonte’ Graham (6) and PJ Washington (2) combined to score 21 of Team USA’s 44 third-quarter points, swinging the lead to 115-105 in favor of the Americans. Team World never led again after that, dropping its second straight Rising Stars outing.
Graham finished with nine points on 3-of-7 shooting from three, six rebounds and five assists, while PJ Washington had eight points on 4-of-5 shooting, five rebounds and two assists. Eric Paschall (23), Collin Sexton (21), Trae Young (18), Kendrick Nunn (16), Zion Williamson (14), Jaren Jackson Jr. (12) and Ja Morant (10) made it eight Team USA scorers in double figures.
“Real fun,” added Washington. “We picked it up out there and didn’t give up. It just shows how much we want to win and how much effort we can put into this game. Miles played his butt off. Made shots, had some crazy dunks and played defense as well. I’m excited for him and just really happy we got the win.”
On the international side, Canadian RJ Barrett tallied a game-high 27 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals in the loss. Brandon Clarke (22), Luka Dončić (16), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (16), Moritz Wagner (16) and Rui Hachimura (14) all cracked the 10-point barrier as well.
Team USA finished the night shooting 62.7% from the field (17-of-39 from three; 43.6%), outscoring Team World, 80-50, over the final two quarters. Team World went just 12-of-49 from distance (24.5%) and edged the Americans on the boards, 44-43 (14-7 advantage in offensive boards).
Washington and Bridges have now wrapped up their All-Star Weekend responsibilities, while Graham is back in action tomorrow for the Three-Point Contest as part of NBA All-Star Saturday night beginning at 8 PM EST at the United Center.